By Graeme Edwards
“History is written by the victors.” If this Walter Benjamin quote is true, then a select group of Georgians has already made their mark on the history books and are preparing their pens yet again.
In late February, this year’s edition of RSGC’s International History Bowl and Bee team will look to become National Champions, just as they did last year.
Almost one year ago, the first ever Canadian round of the IHBB took place. At the National Championships in Ottawa, RSGC’s team emerged victorious, becoming the first ever Canadian IHBB Champions. While the prospect of defending a national title may make some nervous, this team is anything but.
“I feel pretty confident,” said Nicholas Geist, a grade 10 who became a National Champion last year. “We won last year, and we can do it again.”
It’s that simple for the reigning National Champions, who won the Inaugural Canadian round of the IHBB. The confidence of the players is shared by Dr. John Lambersky, the Head of RSGC’s Canadian and World Studies Department and Coach of the IHBB team.
“I feel great,” Lambersky said playfully. “There’s nothing like being the best at something.”
Lambersky knows that being the reigning Canadian National Champions comes at a price. “I have heard that certain other schools have made it their mission to defeat us, which we take as a compliment. I know our gents will give their best. That’s all we can ask.”
Lambersky also understands the importance of training for his team’s hopes of repeating last year’s success.
“The team meets every Friday to practice on old question packs,” said Lambersky. In his mind, though, his team’s true training is up to them. “I think the best preparation is to follow your own historical passions.”
That’s why students like Geist and Ryan Hamilton, grade 10, are so important to the team. Both have a love of history that keeps them studying at home.
“Last year I learned…the most important time periods,” said Geist, “and it helps to decide what to focus on when studying.”
For Hamilton, his personal training doesn’t feel like studying at all.
“I’ve been exposed to history from a very young age and it’s something I’ve grown up in,” said Hamilton. “I do [study], but I’m not sure I’d describe it as studying; it’s more just reading. History is stories, the world’s longest, most complicated story, and I like stories, so that’s why I enjoy reading about it.”
That reading certainly helped last year as Hamilton’s historical prowess won RSGC a crucial match in the round robin stage of last year’s competition.
“We were down two or three points and the [category] was Popes. I swept the category in about 30 seconds.”
These Georgians certainly have a great knowledge of history, and, in late February, will look to make it repeat itself.