My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

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jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26076
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:40 pm

I'm going to skip over everything else that made it a difficult session and get to the main point, which is that a parent in a game for which I was not reading resisted in the most insulting fashion the answer to a math question. (Yeah, like I'm likely to make a mistake in that category.) He was revoltingly obnoxious. I was called in from the game I was reading for, and I discovered that he was a superintended of schools, and again I will skip the details. I've never had a quasi-Little-League parent situation to deal with before. It has always been a friendly activity. Nevertheless, things got so bad that your mild-mannered fellow poster told the man that I didn't care if he was head of the Board of Regents of New York State, I would have him expelled if he did not stop his behavior. (I don't know how I would have enforced that, but trust me, I would have figured out a way.) The offended coach/teacher, who is a math teacher herself, reported this to her own superintendent, who agreed to take up the case with the offending parent. School superintendents in New York outside of NYC are not answerable to any superior, but they are answerable to the elected board of education. Excuse me while I still shiver recovering from this.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

Post by John F » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:46 pm

Did you find out what answer this person was objecting to, and why? Of course there's no excuse for disrupting an event like this, but if the guy was actually right...
John Francis

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
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Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
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Re: My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:06 am

John F wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:46 pm
Did you find out what answer this person was objecting to, and why? Of course there's no excuse for disrupting an event like this, but if the guy was actually right...
Oh of course I know, but since you are self-admittedly not strong in math, I wonder if you would understand the question. A square is defined in two different ways. One is a rectangle with four congruent sides, and the other is what figure with right angles. The answer is rhombus, and in fact it is sufficient for a rhombus to have a single right angle to be a square, but sufficient conditions would have complicated the question so I did not word it that way. There is no alternative answer that would be correct. How could you doubt me like that?

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

Post by Belle » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:34 am

The problem is that we live in an era of zero core truths anymore, so it's to be expected that mathematic paradigms are also up for grabs. Cast your mind back to what was quoted by Professor Dawkins in that link I provided in "postmodernism exposed" and you'll see the genesis (unfortunate metaphor, I know) of much of this thinking. The inmates are controlling the asylums (or so they think). You and I know that you don't have to defend your position, so I'd be content with that. Having demonstrated discipline and rigour in your acquisition of knowledge and skills you shouldn't have to defend yourself against philistines. None of us should. :D I always think of dissent and counter argument as the 'cross and garlic' when dealing with these types.

John F
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Location: New York, NY

Re: My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

Post by John F » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:53 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:06 am
John F wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:46 pm
Did you find out what answer this person was objecting to, and why? Of course there's no excuse for disrupting an event like this, but if the guy was actually right...
Oh of course I know, but since you are self-admittedly not strong in math, I wonder if you would understand the question. A square is defined in two different ways. One is a rectangle with four congruent sides, and the other is what figure with right angles. The answer is rhombus, and in fact it is sufficient for a rhombus to have a single right angle to be a square, but sufficient conditions would have complicated the question so I did not word it that way. There is no alternative answer that would be correct. How could you doubt me like that?
No need to get defensive. Why would you suppose I was doubting you? That thought never entered my mind, though I believe it is permitted here.

Your post left open the possibility I asked about, and you still haven't said why he objected, what he claimed was wrong with your answer and the correct answer should be. For me, that's the most interesting aspect of the situation. If the incident was only about bad manners, that would be one thing; if it's also about an obviously incorrect objection by someone who professionally should have known better, quite another.

As it happens, I do understand the question. I was pretty good at plane geometry as a high school junior, perhaps because (to me) it's more about shapes and logic than numbers, and I'm a dab hand at nonmathematical logic. That's not to say I would have given the correct answer - my geometry is rusty nearly 60 years on, and "rhombus" is not in my everyday vocabulary - but I understand the answer. Where I ran into trouble in high school math was calculus; I didn't understand any of it then and I still don't. I leave that to my brother. :)
John Francis

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26076
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:38 am

He thought that a correct answer, the one his son gave, was rectangle. You obviously know that this is completely wrong. Stop being defensive yourself, and support me. This is my last year of doing this activity. What was once a joy has become a burden, I will be 64 before the start of the next season, the stipend is negligible, and I simply cannot deal with it anymore. It is so important an activity that schools from as far north as Westport and as far south as Troy come to Queensbury to compete. That is hours away in both directions. They don't get home until midnight in the middle of a school week. No one is indispensable. Somehow, they will find someone to replace me.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: My most difficult Academic Bowl session to date

Post by barney » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:42 pm

Like the Cheshire cat, I maintain that a square is whatever I say it is. Military band specialists from Stony Creek are definitely square!

(A joke, John - I don't mean it; just liked the pun on square.)

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