Championship Day…round by round.
(Quick side note: usually my wife edits these for me…I know I’m leaving out words, commas, etc. Please forgive me for being sloppy.)
Round 4 was the previous day but it was a game that I was truly concerned about. We played Southeast 1. Danielle is an excellent player and seems to always get geared up to play Christian – she is also extremely accurate, if she buzzes she’ll get it right. Well sure enough, she came out firing going 4/4 in the first 7 questions and taking the two rebounds we gave her. Christian was 1/3 in the first 7 and we were down 235-45 going into question 8. At that point, Christian kicked it in gear and went 9/11 on the last 13 questions and we pulled away for a 455-330 win. I was very thankful to get out of that game with a win. Christian went 10/14.
Round 6 we played Beavercreek. Again, a dangerous player – she really took it to Christian at KCU winning by over 200 pts. The game was never really in doubt – we won on question 15 – Christian went 9/11.
Round 8 we played Valley View 1. I didn’t think we had a shot – and we didn’t. They went 7/9 and Christian went 4/11. The game was over at question 16. They played like defending National Champs winning 510-250.
Round 9 it was Beavercreek again. Christian played extremely well going 9/12 and we won on question 17.
Round 10 we played Washington. This would be our toughest game until game 2 of the championship. Christian didn’t play his best, we were taking what they would give and we were down by two questions at one point. After question 15, they were up by 25. Christian got 16, 17, 18 – reached 400, game over. Christian always enjoyed playing Bethany and Kelsey and Delisa said after the game that if Bethany had to lose to somebody she would want it to be Christian. That comment is a good marker of the folks at Washington – folks full of grace and encouragement. They embody the spirit of what Bible Bowl should be about being fiercely competitive but genuine and encouraging win or lose.
Round 11 we played Valley View 3. I was worried about this one. Grace is an outstanding player and one of the many up and coming freshman. VV 3 beat the boys at least twice over the summer. But, this is when Christian started to hit his stride and play the best I have ever seen him play. He went 12/14 – the game was never really in question, we were up 265-70 at question 10.
Round 12 we played Mt. View. This kid scared me to death because he was unpredictable. In the middle of the RR game on Friday, he gets a nose bleed on the last question, calls time and shoves a piece of paper (not a kleenex, a piece of paper!) up his nostril before he sits back down to play. Anyway, Christian gives him the first two questions of the game, and then Mt. View gets the next three. After question five, they are up 190-0 and only need 5 of the last 15 questions to win. I honestly thought it was over. But then Christian gets the next 10 questions!!!!!! He went 8/8, got two rebounds – game over. It was the best game I have ever seen him play.
Round 13 we played Worthington. I didn’t know what to expect because I don’t know enough about them. They pulled within 35 at question 13 (245-210) but then Christian got the next three…game over on question 16. Christian went 7/11.
Round 14 we made it back to the Championship game and low and behold, guess who was waiting for us?!? Only the best team from the best program in the whole world. Again, I was thinking about what a good run the boys had made, too bad it was going to end – in my mind VV 1 was too tough – I was sure, they had the mental edge on Christian. But as Providence would have it, Christian still had another good round left – he played well, taking their five ‘earlies’ and playing a steady game – it was over at question 14. He went 7/11. This game was strangely familiar to last year’s game 1 of the championship.
Round 15 – last game. It didn’t start well. Christian buzzed in and MISQUOTED a keyword question – are you kidding me?!?!?!?!? But, in one of my proudest moments as a dad, when asked by David Strange if he misspoke, he put up no fight, he simply agreed with Evan. That took guts and, I was sure we would lose by that simple mistake. VV would get the first three, then we traded questions for awhile, we pulled within 15 pts on question 10. But then VV got the next four, 11-14. They were up 340-175 at question 15. All they needed was one of the last six to win. I was thinking to myself what a good run the boys made, how proud I was that Christian was honest – that there was no shame in losing to one of the best teams to ever play, etc. But again, Providence was very kind to us. Christian got an early buzz on a three-part specialty (back-to-backs)…this was a miracle considering he was 46% in the double elim on specialty toss ups. Question 16 was bounced to us…now it’s 340-255. Christian gets 17, a keyword toss up. 340-290. He has a great buzz on 18, a two-part general cross reference on Eve from next year’s text…this was a really great buzz…we miss all of the bonus asking for the keyword BEFORE the one given (of course, I’m trying to tell my boys this through telepathy but nothing is getting through!) 340-300. Question 19 is a keyword buzz that Christian buzzed on when he heard the word required or require (which ever is not the keyword), he realized it was too early, recalled the California was making it optional for students to say the ‘pledge’ and nailed it! It was an unbelievable buzz! We get all of the 40 point bonus to go up by 10, 350-340. Question 20, I don’t remember much about it at all, I heard Evan buzz and miss…Christian got the rebound and he quoted as slow as he ever has, even though we had won. I asked him later why he did that and he said that he wanted to savor his last question ever in Bible Bowl.
We won. It was the best that Christian had ever played in those final few questions. I will have more thoughts on that later but looking at the stats it’s very easy to see why we did so well…Christian was 78% (53/69) on keyword questions in the double elim (Round 4 and beyond), 75% on generals (18/24)…specialties his biggest weakness throughout his career, not from a lack of knowledge but an inability to stay off and be patient, he was 46% (10/22)…that’s 70.4% on early buzzes. That is tough to beat. All for now…I hope you’re enjoying reading these as much I am enjoying reliving last week.