Scholastic Bowl adapting


Jackson Lejune

The Scholastic Bowl team pre-pandemic

Jackson Lejune, Staff Writer

It’s September at LWC again, and you know what that means? Scholastic Bowl! I guess you guys probably don’t know what that may be, so I’ll give you a quick rundown. 

 Scholastic Bowl is a team-based trivia sport similar to Jeopardy, where two teams of five compete to answer academic-based trivia questions for points. Whichever team earns the most points by the end of the game wins. The teams earn points in two ways: Toss-Up Questions, where anyone can buzz in to try and answer, and Bonus Questions, where whichever team won the Toss-Up convenes together to answer a three-part question. The questions can be asked from six main categories, which are as follows: Math, English, Social Studies, Science, Miscellaneous, and Fine Arts. Each Toss-Up is worth 10 points, and each part of a three-part Bonus is worth 10, for a total of 40 points possible per round. There are 24 rounds in a match, and a half-time after the 12th to allow substitutions to a team.  

The Lincoln-Way Central scholastic bowl is coached by Dr. Raatjes and Mr. Mulford, with a Varsity and JV team. The JV team consists of freshmen and sophomores, and the Varsity team takes the juniors and seniors, and generally asks harder questions than the JV team gets. Each season consists of roughly 20 matches against the ~10 other teams in the region, including East, West, and Sandburg. At the end of the regular season, there is a regional competition between all schools in the region, where record during the regular season determines the competition: a team with a good record will face one with a bad one, and two mediocre teams will play each other. The bracket is single elimination, and the winner of the regionals will move on to sectionals, and eventually State, if they win in a similar fashion at Sectionals. 

This season is bringing some changes in order to protect the safety of competitors and coaches alike. The games will be entirely virtual, and there will be no buzzer systems. There are sure to be more changes to come, but it can’t be said right now what will happen. 

I (J) was lucky enough to be able to interview both coaches of the LWC Schol-Bowl Team, Dr. Arron Raatjes (R) and Mr. Brian Mulford (M): 


J: How’re you guys doing today? 

M: Good! 

R: Me too. 


J: When did Scholastic Bowl start at Lincoln-Way Central? 

M: Awhile ago, before my time, at least! I’d say at least twenty years ago. 


J: Did you do Scholastic Bowl when you were in school? 

M: Yes! I played at the Varsity level for Lockport when I was there. 

R: Unfortunately, no, I never graced my Scholastic Bowl team. I really regret it now. 


J: When did you start coaching Scholastic Bowl? 

M:  I started coaching and teaching back and forth at East and North starting in 2005, and at Central since 2017. 

R: I coached along with Mr. Mulford since 2008 at East and North, but I’ve always taught at Central. I started coaching here in 2013. 


J: Have there been any major official changes while you’ve been coaching? 

R: Well, the bonuses used to be worth only 20 points apiece, but there would still be 3 questions, so they’de be worth 6, 6, and 7 points for parts one, two, and three. 

M: Also, math has been almost completely removed as a category, and it’s gotten a lot more competitive-it used to just be fun, now Sandburg is consistently our biggest rival. 


J: Have you made any major changes to the formula/way we do Scholastic Bowl while you’ve been coaching? 

R: We have more practices, twice per week instead of once, and we’ve been encouraging students to specialize-one person is a Literature specialist, and another is Science, and so on. 


J: What has been the best season of Scholastic Bowl when you’ve been the coach? 

M: Well, since I coach JV, that would be when we won the JV tournament in the 2018/2019 season. 

R: We’ve had our best season twice, in both 2017/2018 and 2019/2020, when we made it to the regional finals. 


J: Last question: if you could add one category to scholastic bowl (major or minor), what would it be? 

M: Sports or movies, I can’t really decide. 

R: Pop culture is really underrepresented in the Misc. category, and I think it would involve competitors better because many students know about pop culture more than anything else. 


J: Well, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for your time! 

M: No problem! 

R: Yeah, my pleasure! 


Well, after all that information, I hope I’ve given you all a better look into the world of scholastic bowl. And hey-maybe I’ve convinced you guys to try it out! It meets every Tuesday and Wednesday for practice, and new members are always welcome!