When you think of masters of their fields you may imagine Leonardo DaVinci conquering the art medium, Ludwig Von Beethoven dominating the music microcosm, and Frank Lloyd Wright championing palatial architectural work. When you think of Academic Decathlon you may imagine a cabal of kids who couldn’t be cool in the Klondike. Be that as it may, these gladiators in the garrison of geekdom give masterful performances every year.

          Academic Decathlon is a class offered at most schools that gets a team of nine of people prepared for an all-out, no holds barred brain bash against rival, although inferior, teams across the nation. The nine team members are divided into three categories: Honors (the team anchors, regardless of what others claim), Scholastic (who always give a showing), and Varsity (filler space). Each category is tiered to the students’ GPAs, with Honors being the highest. The Academic Decathlon team studies essay, speech, interview skills, math, social science, economics, art, music, language & literature, and a super quiz topic to prepare for a contest merely months away. The super quiz theme this year (1999) was the sustainable earth. The assembled authorities of academics then toil without pause, grueling over innumerable amounts of books and packets, colossal in size, feasting on the cerebral pabulum necessary to reach the top of the twisting tower of torpor, to claim their priceless prize among prizes – machine-made medals and prefabricated plaques.

          The Academic Decathlon teacher at my school (R.L. Turner) this year was none other that RLT’s foremost physics fanboy, Mr. Hurst. And what better person to lead a geek to gewgaws than a man whose impression of “puttin’ on the moves” is an Evans’ Gambit. Nonetheless, Hurst hosted a stellar team this year with participants obtaining medals in nigh every category. Hursticle was even nice enough to steal participatory medals for the members of Academic Decathlon who did not make the team due to insinuating circumstances and raging alcoholism.

          Academic Decathlon is a great experience that amalgams fun and learning in a competitive environment. If you think you have what it takes – pretty much, a free class period – seek information about joining from a school administrator.

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