Bow Tie Bowl Challenges Competitors


David Li ’21

Felix Bao ’21, Sachin Umashankar ’21, and Andrew Yang ’21 compete in a Bow Tie Bowl match last Thursday.

Kurt Vonnegut, Las Meninas, the Beatles, and surface tension are all topics that teams competing in 2019’s Bow Tie Bowl may face.
The Bow Tie Bowl is an annual trivia tournament created 20 years ago by Mr. Lou Pressman, retired instructor in philosophy & religion. The event raises money for a different charity every year. This year’s first match was held Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. in the Student Center. There are 19 teams signed up to compete, but only eight will compete in the first round.
Each match features two teams, paired by ability, availability, and whether or not the teams have a faculty member. Mr. Roger Wistar, instructor in computer science and organizer of the Bow Tie Bowl, said, “I often try to follow Mr. Pressman’s lead by pairing student teams with student teams and underclass student teams with other underclass student teams.”
Because there are prizes for best underclass team and best all-student team, pitting underclass teams and all-student teams against one another assists in figuring out which teams are strongest.

The goal of the Bow Tie Bowl is for the whole campus to have fun…to embrace our shared love of trivia, and raise money for a worthy charity.

— Mr. Roger Wistar

This year, the questions will be drawn from last year’s National Academic Quizbowl Tournament question sets. Questions address a wide range of topics, including geography, art, science, and even popular culture.
The teams all have different methods of preparation. The school has its own forum on Protobowl, an online database of trivia questions where you can compete against people online, and many competitors have been using it to practice. Other teams practice by quizzing each other with archived question packets or researching online. Many report that winning also depends on team chemistry. Cooper Roh ’22 said, “You win or lose depending on how good you are [individually] and how good you are with your teammates.”
Many competitors enjoy the process of preparing for the matches. Nick Romero ’21 said, “I like learning really useless information that turns out to be useful later.”
Each team paid $15 to enter the tournament. This year, the proceeds will be given to Feed the Need, a soup kitchen in Torrington, CT. Wistar said, “The goal of the Bow Tie Bowl is for the whole campus to have fun…to embrace our shared love of trivia, and raise money for a worthy charity.”
The next match takes place tonight, May 2, at 7:00 p.m. in the Student Center.