February 11, 2010 at 9:11 a.m.
Of course, no one in their right mind would ever have to know the answer to those questions. Some might say it is debatable if members of the Chisago Lakes Knowledge Bowl team are in their right minds. If you are participating in the High School Knowledge Bowl, you need to know the above and more.
Chisago Lakes High School Knowledge Bowl has been a lively but somewhat quiet activity for several years now. Up until this season, the team has remained small. This year, though, the group grew to 25 members. This is a far throw from the days, only two years ago, when the troupe made the trip to meets in a mini van.
The "bowlers" have been fighting an uphill battle ever since their inception in Chisago Lakes fine arts programs. After all, when you are in the same conference as heavy-hitting schools like St. Michael-Albertville and Buffalo, chances are you are going to need a bit more than a few morsels of random information. This year, the team is overcoming the adversity of lackluster funding to actually rack up some points in meets.
Knowledge Bowl Meets run on a simple and universal format. Players are divided into four or five member teams, who often stick together throughout the entire season. First, the teams have to complete a 60 question multiple-choice exam, which will determine their placement in the first oral round. There are four oral rounds of 45 questions each, where not only knowledge, but speed, comes into play. Usually, those stating the question only make it through half of a question before someone rings in.
Needless to say, Knowledge Bowl practices can grow a bit hectic. After all, there really isn't an efficient way to gain the kind of information they'll be asked, unless you have a penchant for reading the encyclopedia. The team owes everything to the coach, high school librarian Allison Eikenberry (affectionately known as Eik), who keeps practices under control and productive, while still enjoyable. Even though the 'nerd herd' makes Eik pull at her hair occasionally, the team all knows it couldn't survive without her. Without a task master, the team would only be a collection of geeks who know the capitals of Western Europe.
So, as a knowledge bowl team member, I am allowed to ask, are the knowledge bowlers in their right mind? Certainly not. If I can speak for the rest of us, I know that we are the craziest bunch of nerds in town. We may not be the smartest people in the world, but at least we can list the novels of Charles Dickens, the chronological order of the U.S. Presidents. And you can bet that we have a whole lot of fun doing it.
Oh, and by the way, if you are wondering about the questions posed at the beginning of the article, the answers are: Gregori Rasputin, Helen Keller, and river dolphins.
Commenting has been disabled for this item.