Brain Bowl Bash

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Justin Ford writes, On January 24, 2009 I had the honor of representing West Jefferson Middle School at the Optimist Brain Bowl.

On January 24, 2009 I had the honor of representing West Jefferson Middle School at the Optimist Brain Bowl. But what is the Brain Bowl? Well, it is a general knowledge competition covering many subjects such as Math, Science, Geography, Social Studies, Grammar, Literature and more. There are actually two Brain Bowl tournaments. The Northern Region Tournament, which consists of Northern Colorado and Wyoming, and the Central Region Tournament to be held on February 7, which consists of Central and Southern Colorado. Now that I’ve told you a little bit about the Brain Bowl, let me tell you about the fun experience.My school goes to the Northern Region Tournament at Fairview High School in Boulder (the Central Tournament is held at Overland High School in Aurora). It was a great experience being there, and the 9 hour day seemed to go amazingly fast. When we arrived, we first met with all the members of our team at the main entrance. Once your team was together, your school coach (usually a teacher) will designate a team coach (a parent of someone on your team). When we initially met during this time, we decided on who would sit out each round since we had six team members, and only five could compete at one time. Then we listened to a brief Orientation about the day before heading off to Round 1 of the competition. In the morning rounds, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but it does matter how many points you have from the 30 questions that are asked. Both teams have a buzzer. If your team hits the buzzer before the other team, you have 15 seconds to discuss your answer with your teammates, and the spokesperson will give the team’s final answer. If the team is right, they get one point and move on to the next question. If the team is wrong, then the other team gets 5 seconds to answer. If they are right they get two points. In the morning, there were 4 oral rounds where others such as parents and teachers could observe. There also was one written round where no outside observers were allowed. After all of this…lunch!For lunch there were a lot of options such as concession stand foods, and my favorite, pizza. Lunch was probably one of my favorite parts because we got to socialize not only with members of our own team, but with other teams, too. It was nice to give your brain a break! After lunch I started thinking about the elimination rounds. Altogether, there were sixteen 6 th grade teams competing and only half would make it to the quarterfinals which were elimination rounds, meaning if you lost, you were now completely out of the tournament. At the end of lunch there was a huge crowd of people waiting for the results of the top 8 teams who had the highest accumulative scores. I was so excited to see that our team made it, but wait; we had to compete against the other 6 th grade team from West Jefferson Middle School which had our friends on it. After a very close round, our team was able to move on to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals we faced a team that we had played before in Round 1. After a very close game, going back and forth, we edged out a win and advanced to the finals. The final was held in the school auditorium that seemed as big as the Coliseum. We felt a little nervous, and we gave it our all, and were excited to have received 2 nd place for the 6 th grade competition. Our 8 th grade team from West Jefferson Middle School also made the final rounds and won 1 st place. Our coaches from our school, Mary Pond, and Phyllis Manning, who are the Gifted and Talented Teachers, were very proud of us. Our school had never made it this far in the competition before and it was an experience I will never forget. But don’t just take it from me, I asked one of my friends, Grant Martin from our team what he thought, and he said, “Just about everything was fun. It was a great experience.”The Optimist club of Colorado and Wyoming was the sponsor of the Brain Bowl. They are a group of wonderful volunteers who dedicated their time to organize a very successful event. I hope they will continue to do this in the future, so it will spread more across the country.

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