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.