The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America
|News & Notes||Profile: Cecil Phibbs||Down Memory Lane||Past AGazines|
News and Notes
At last count, 994 players and coaches were registered for the 50th Anniversary Academic Games National Tournament in Orlando.
An additional 232 non-coaches are registered for a total of 1,226 people. 1,072 people will be served at each meal. AGLOA will occupy over 500 rooms in the DoubleTree Hotel. The number of players is up somewhat from last year in each division except Senior, where the drop off is slight.
Profile: Cecil Phibbs
Cecil Phibbs’s life changed when a 6th grade student came to him one day at Congress Middle School in Palm Beach County, FL. The student, Uttam Thakore, said, “I played Academic Games in elementary school, and I’d like to play in middle school. Would you coach our team?” Cecil had never heard of Academic Games but expressed an interest in learning more.
“The next day, he brought an Equations game, a LinguiSHTIK game, and a book with Presidents facts. For the first two years, he taught me instead of me teaching him. He got some of his friends involved, and I got some of my students involved. Within a few years, the school team began placing in the top ten locally. First, we qualified players for the state tournament, then for Nationals.”
In his second year of coaching, Cecil was asked to accompany the Palm Beach group to Nationals because a male chaperone was needed. The event in Orlando cemented his dedication to this new extracurricular activity.
“I decided I liked this, and the kids liked this. So I wanted to continue doing this.”
A few years later, Cecil transferred to Wellington Landings Middle School, which had an active program led by two social studies teachers. So now, they coach those game while Cecil handles the cube games.
When asked which game he learned the quickest, he replied, “Equations. That’s the one we started with. Uttam was a math wizard. When he moved up to high school, he recruited another coach there so he could keep playing. Some things he would rattle off, I didn’t know what he was talking about. He was national champion several times.”
After a few years of coaching a team, Cecil took the Equations Judges Test and qualified to judge Elementary Division.
What was the hardest game to learn? “LinguiSHTIK. Even through college, my worst subject was English. I liked the grammar end of it, but I had never imagined there were 15 types of verb tenses and all the other stuff that goes along with the game. I’m still learning new things about Ling.”
Three years after becoming an Equations judge, Cecil became a certified LinguiSHTIK judge for Elementary and Middle divisions.
Cecil has numerous responsibilities for both the Palm Beach League and AGLOA. He’s the head judge at the local Middle Division Equations tournaments. Palm Beach plays six rounds of Equations in the early fall, two rounds each Tuesday after school for three weeks. Variations are phased in until all are played the last week. PBAGL followed a similar schedule for LinguiSHTIK and the two Social Studies games. Propaganda is played over a two-week period, two sections per week. For the national tournament, Cecil was responsible for several years for designing the t-shirt. He also coordinates the special gifts for VIPs. He takes care of the video presentations for the opening presentation and the slides for the closing awards ceremonies listing the winners’ names as they’re called up. He also sets up the projectors in the competition rooms for Presidents and Jr/Sr Propaganda.
When asked about success stories (in addition to Uttam Thakore), Cecil chose two.
“Mitchell Schepps played Academic Games from 4th grade through high school. I coached him in middle school, and I had the privilege of nominating him for an Outstanding Senior Award, which he won. He took my guidance and ran with it and did fantastic. He makes me really proud.”
Did he teach you some things in Equations? “He did because I had always focused with the Nationals team on the Elementary/Middle players. When he would come to me with questions about high school topics, I had no clue. I wasn’t a math major. Cycling, goals with logs, i, weren’t things I’d learned. I learned a lot from him. When he went to high school, they didn’t have a team. But he got a coach through the math club. He spearheaded his team. If they decided they wanted to win, they’d stay up all night to come up with the latest, greatest Goal. In effect, he was the coach of his team.”
C. J. Fisher, a current high school player, started playing Academic Games in elementary school. Cecil could tell from judging at the league rounds that C. J. had potential. “I contacted his dad, who was an elementary school teacher. ‘I’d like to help C. J. for Nationals.’ “ Cecil’s tutelage gave the 5th-grader 100% confidence. “The first round of Equations, he got a 4. He was in tears because he thought he’d let me down. But he’s been at Nationals every year since. He hasn’t won Equations but finished 2nd or 3rd several times. At last year’s Nationals, I was coming down the hall to see how things were going in the playoff. C. J. comes running and jumps in my arms to tell me he made the finals in Equations. That made me proud as a coach.”
Down Memory Lane
The game of Propaganda is based on the book Thinking Straighter by George Henry Moulds, published in 1966 by W. C. Brown Company, Dubuque IA.
Dr. Moulds was a professor of Philosophy at Kent State University in Ohio, which was the site of the Academic Games national tournaments in 1973 and 1974. One of his students in the 1950s was Robert W. Allen, who invented the Propaganda game shortly after the book was published.
Here is an excerpt from Professor Moulds’ Prologue in the book:
“Truth Always Prevails” is still far from true. Truth, ungarnished and unguarded, may convince many by its own natural light. But in many areas and on many questions, Truth without the Appearance of Truth comes in a poor second. And, as we shall see, there are hundreds of devices for giving falsity the appearance of truth. This book might better be titled “How Not to Be Deceived.” It is logic applied to everyday problems and made immediately practical – even protective.