Academic Epidemic…

The Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy has a nice little piece about a College-Bowl-styled game show called It’s Academic! that is about to conclude its 50th season, making it TV’s longest running quiz show. As it happens, El Jefe Maximo and your humble prof have the show in common.

My team finished second in the Cincinnati area in what proved to be the show’s final Cincinnati season (1981-82), losing on a last-second answer. I got a certain measure of vindication the following year, when I captained my school’s team to the Kentucky state championship in the first season of Kentucky Educational TV’s equivalent, Scholastic Challenge. (The Major was also a team member that year, although I won’t ID him in the picture I’ve included.)

The shows meant a lot to me. As I’ve mentioned, I spent a lot of my adolescence feeling even more like a freak than most adolescents probably do. But when the team practiced, I was in my element, and I used the thought of embarrassing popular kids as motivation in practice and at games. Geek’s revenge.

I wish I had video of those seasons, but they are, alas, lost in the ether. I do still have my state champs jacket (no, it doesn’t even come close to fitting), and I still play trivia when I can — in fact, I’m doing my second tour of duty on the contestant waiting list for a well known TV quiz show. Until I get that call, though, I can look back on this and remember feeling like an all star.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Academic Epidemic…

  1. Thanks for the kind link my TV quiz show compadre! I captained my school’s team in the 1986-1987 school year. I remember how excited some of the long-time teachers were to have me (and two close buddies) on the team. We were smart geek non-stoners. Our school had fielded teams since the show’s premier, but by the time I came around hadn’t made it out of the first round in over a decade. The two teams immediately preceeding mine had high hopes pinned on them. But the teams had a weakness (weed and partying) that proved enough to keep them from moving on.

    We won the first round handily. We showed up to the second round taping and were ready to move on again. Sadly, hubris and the aforementioned Catholic school girls were our stumbling blocks. I am convinced that the cute girl sitting next to one of my partners would rub his leg with hers during every “buzzer” round. My partner was so overwhelmed by hormones he couldn’t concentrate. We fell to those Catholic girls. I recall that the score was close, but I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that memory.

    I had both performances on an old Betamax tape that I retained until very recently. I found an old Beta machine at a friend’s house and went to watch the show. Sadly, time and heat had stretched the tape and rendered it unplayable…

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