(That sums up what follows, doesn’t it?)
Last night I had the pleasure of chatting with 19-time (yes, 19!) Jeopardy! champ, David Madden.
Madden has founded the National History Bee and Bowl and is currently traveling the country promoting its growth. In fact, when we chatted, David was in Tennessee, had just come from a tournament in Kentucky, and was headed to South Carolina. After that, he’ll be heading to Louisiana, then Georgia, then New Jersey, all this week. Next week he intends to be in Massachusetts and maybe Indiana. Phew! David says he puts in “110 hour weeks and loves every minute.”
The National History Bee and Bowl began with a tournament in May 2010. Thirty-four teams and 135 high school students from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut participated. David says, “The idea was originally more just to do the pilot tournament for fun and maybe it would give me a leg up in finding a job as a history teacher, but then I realized the potential.”
David’s hard work is paying off: he says the number of participants he is expecting in Washington, D.C. (for the National Championships on April 16th and 17th) is “wildly exceeding” his predictions. He says, “I’ve been so gratified by the willingness of teams to come to D.C.”
David is turning the event into an unofficial Jeopardy! reunion that he has posted about twice on the Jeopardy! message boards. (That’s how I first found out about it.) David says so far he is expecting Bob Harris to be there (he is on the Bowl’s board of advisors), as well as Bill MacDonald, who beat David in the 2006 Tournament of Champions. Other possibilities include Dave Belote, who is also on the Bowl’s board of advisors, Aaron Thompson, and Roger Craig.
Come back tomorrow for David’s thoughts on Watson, and to find out how David succeeded on Jeopardy!