Clocks tick and buzzers sound as the Goochland Scholastic Bowl team prepares for the coming competition. Ms. Holloway-Costa, Mr. Derrico, and head coach Mr. Smith watch the students work, speaking questions and awaiting the flurry of rapid tapping as students fight to have their buzzer sound first. The long running team was previously ran by Mr. Brooke, who has passed the team to Smith. This is Mr. Smith’s fifth year coaching the team, and it is no easy task.
Match practices are some of the biggest parts of the whole club, as knowledge of rules and experience on the buzzer are important to see which team will take the victory. “We practice three days a week for one hour after school,” states Smith. Usually practices fall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but sometimes the schedule takes over when sports practices are held.
Currently, the team consists of 16 members, split into 8 each. “You have four starters and four sitting out until the next round each match,” Mr. Smith explains. “We don’t see more members in the future because too many players do not allow for students to be able to get playing time.” On Monday practices, the team as a whole works together. However on Wednesday and Fridays the team splits into their respective Varsity and JV groups. Alternating, one group works with Ms. Holloway-Costa while the other goes with Mr. Derrico and Mr. Smith.
The Scholastic Bowl competitive season began on October 15th. Competitions are held at many different schools, so the team will be traveling. A true match runs for about 45 minutes, with 15 toss up questions (questions both teams fight to answer first,) and 10 direct questions (questions asked solely to one team.) Whoever hits their buzzer first will answer the question provided. If right, points will be awarded. If wrong, the slower buzzing team will have a chance to answer and steal the points. Penalties are also sent to teams for rule infractions and violations, such as answering a question without being called on.
With practice comes experience, and Mr. Smith is happy to say that he is constantly seeing improvement in his team. “More exposure increases breadth of knowledge in a player. We try to focus on areas of subjects we are not as strong in, and learn to become better. You all have different interests. That’s where the chemistry of the team comes together.” As it is the players on the team are already well rounded and intelligent members. Students are constantly tested to become stronger competitors. Because of the smaller team number, participants are invited to the team based off their showing of abilities that would be useful. “We try to advertise, and will extend invites to academically inclined students. You just need to have a passion for learning,” Smith remarks.
On Thursday, October 4th, the Scholastic Bowl Team competed for the first time at a televised event called “Battle of the Brains.” It will be filmed, and aired on television at a later date. Stay tuned, Bulldogs.