Brain Bowl 2014

Written by Shubhankar Peshin and Alec McGuire. Photography by Yuuki Komano2014_10_16_00263 (1)

42 Tournaments. 33 wins. Needless to say, Brain Bowl has definitely been one of St. Mary’s’ strongest competitive activities. In fact, it has even become easier to count the times we have lost rather than the times we have won! As expected, 2014 was no different. Seniors Shubhankar Peshin and Stephan Nitu became the eight straight pair of captains to hoist the coveted Brain Bowl trophy. Shubhankar Peshin and Ben Beardsley led the team in points, with both winning individual All-Stars, which propelled the team to a win over 2nd place St. Maur. A good characteristic of this year’s Brain Bowl team is that it was evenly balanced, with three juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman along with six seniors, meaning that the future of the team is secure.

“[Brain Bowl] requires having faith in the students and also [them] having faith in themselves. It is also important for the students that they find out or know their strengths and weaknesses.”

As the Brain Bowl team brings back numerous wins, it becomes important to discover their true recipe for success. Thus, the Diplomat went and interviewed Ms. Copping, a High School history teacher who is the current St. Mary’s Brain Bowl coach. Ms. Copping has been coaching Brain Bowl for an astonishing 13 years. She really loves and enjoys coaching the team and because of the amazingly intelligent students she works with. She described the students as being of “high-caliber”. Every year, Ms. Copping devotes her all to this activity and ensures that she creates the most successful team possible. When asked, “Do you think Brain Bowl is harder to coach compared to other activities?” She replied “I think it requires having faith in the students and also having faith in themselves. It is also important for the students that they find out or know their strengths and weaknesses.” Ms. Copping gives the students a lot of responsibilities and tries not to interfere. Her special moments with the Brain Bowl team include the times when students win All-Stars, which shows that they have answered a very high number of questions. Not only did she mention winning, but she also discussed the bonding of the team and how the members help each other. This year, she said, everything went well with organizing the competition except for the fact that Mr. Sirkka got mistakenly detained at Yokota for 3 hours. When asked how she felt about finally not hosting the Brain Bowl competition after the last three years of doing so, she said, “I felt wonderful”. She mentioned it was a lot of work to host it and it carried with it a lot of responsibilities including pressure. In fact she was so busy that she was sometimes focused too much on running the competition smoothly rather than the performance of her team members. She prefers not to host it and she likes it more when she spends time with her team and supports them. Mrs. Copping has her own picking method. She chooses the students by strength in knowledge, category, and experience. She divides the certain students that are good in math, literature, science, history, etc. Commitment is also important for her team and she also likes to keep the team balanced so that all the grades can earn their role in the team. Mrs. Copping also said that it’s always not the best thing when the seniors leave but she is positive that their will be a consistent amount of contenders in each grade. She think the future that the Brain Bowl team holds is bright because of the great practices, the developing knowledge, and the older class men teaching the underclassmen.

To conclude, October 16, 2014 marked the day when the St. Mary’s Brain Bowl team continued its domination by notching its 33rd win. There was not a whiff of anything special in the air, nor was there a total stoppage of school; all that remained were 13 relatively smart students bearing the massive pressure of continuing their school’s legacy that has remained for the past 42 years.