BRAIN BOWL TAKES QUICK WITS, FINGERS

By Jordan Keyes
University of Central Florida

Quick fingers and extensive knowledge of topics ranging from Astronomy to Zoology can make you a star in only one Valencia sport that I know of: Brain Bowl. For those more interested in anthropology than athletics, Brain Bowl provides a great outlet where nerds and geeks of all kinds can compete to see who can retrieve their knowledge the fastest.

Brain Bowl is very similar to TV quiz shows like Jeopardy, in that teams of 4 attempt to buzz in once a question is asked to answer for a possible ten points. If they answer incorrectly, they will be penalized 10 points. If they answer correctly, they will gain 10 points and be given a bonus question which can result in a maximum of 30 bonus points. The questions can cover any number of topics and vary in difficulty depending on the tournament. A team of four is usually constructed to accommodate people with specialties that cover the main question categories: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics.

The challenge comes in not only knowing the answer to a question, but knowing it before the other team. If the other team buzzes in with the correct answer you lose the chance for bonus points. But, if the other team buzzes in and gets the answer wrong,time answering the question. Tournaments are usually conducted in a round-robin style where each team plays every other team and then the top teams with the best record go to a playoff.

Valencia just so happens to have one of the best community college Brain Bowl teams, coming off of winning 3 consecutive national championships, they will be at the end of this semester for their 4th.

Professor Chris Borglum, longtime coach of Valencia’s Brain Bowl team, runs his team much like coaches in any sport. He has regular practices that can result in up to 8 hours of practice per week. Assisted by Professor Lois Mc-Namara and Boris Nguyen, Borglum normally runs rigorous practice sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays. These sessions usually involve mock rounds and extensive instruction on various subjects.

These practices have obviously paid off when you look at Valencia’s successes. Team members also usually take on a subject to study on their own that will help them have a better knowledge of a topic.

All this hard work does have a pay-off. Brain Bowl is a great way to take those facts that you never thought you’d use or that list of dates you thought you memorized for no reason and use them for an enjoyable and rewarding activity.

Sure there’s the confidence that comes with knowing that you can recite the entire family lineage of the Hapsburgs, but there are also stipends provided to those involved. Those interested in participating should contact Professor Chris Borglum at [email protected]

Jordan Keyes is a former Valencia Voice editor-in-chief and Brain Bowl competitor attending
UCF