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An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:01 pm
by bsmith
Some players may know that I investigated the history of Reach for the Top, the ubiquitous high school quiz competition in Canada, from a period of roughly 2007-2010. While it is true that the search originated out of spite in an attempt to dig up dirt, I also discovered interesting anecdotes, records, and events. A lot of the information I could pin to sources ended up on the QB Wiki.

In this thread, I will post little snapshots in the history of Reach, likely in a chronological order. Some information will be speculative and unverified, so don’t depend on this for QBWiki/Wikipedia editing. Also please note: regardless of what praise or criticism appears, I hold the opinion that Reach for the Top is not an acceptable method of determining the best quiz team in Canada, but I understand that it is the most established method.

Edit: removed temporary note

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:05 pm
by bsmith
1961-65: A new quiz show

Reach for the Top began in 1961. While there were radio quiz shows for schools in the US and the UK, I couldn’t find any evidence of organized competition in Canada before then. The period of 1959-63, (coincidentally?) after the rulings in the US that shut down the scandalous quiz shows for adults, saw a blossoming of radio and TV quiz shows for schools (with minimal prizes): University Challenge, It’s Academic, the radio-to-TV transition of College Bowl and Top of the Form, etc. Two Canadian quizzes arose during that time: the nationally-broadcast radio show IQ, and the televised Reach for the Top done locally in Vancouver.

An interlude for IQ. This show caught my attention during my investigations, and I listened to a 1961 clip from CBC’s archives. What was interesting to me was that, though primitive, it used the tossup/bonus format, including negs. IQ was dropped in 1964, possibly because CBC wanted to focus on TV quizzes. A nice bit of speculation would be to see how things would be different if IQ was the televised show and Reach was on radio…

Reach for the Top originated in CBC’s Vancouver studios in the spring of 1961. The format was based on BBC Radio’s Top of the Form, a radio show for high schools that began in 1948 and transitioned to television in 1962 (competing against ITV’s university-centric University Challenge). Dick St. John was the producer that started Reach in Vancouver, and the quizmaster, Terry Garner, would hold that role until 1982. Terry Garner trained a young Alex Trebek before the Jeopardy! host took on Reach duties. Wikipedia says a chimera team of Vancouver students won the first season (my Google searching suggests this is may be true), and the show was such a hit, it expanded to Edmonton the next year, followed later by cities like Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa.

Reach for the Top had a foothold in several cities by 1965, but they were just local competitions. An up-and-coming children’s programming director would step in to take Reach to the next level…

Notable participants of this period: Kim Campbell (former Prime Minister), Barry Turner (former Mulroney-era MP)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:10 pm
by bsmith
1965-1970: Taking the national stage

By 1965, Reach for the Top was established local programming in many large Canadian cities. It was a big deal for a school’s team to be on the show, and there were cash prizes of up to $1000 just for being the best in the city. Reach was a hot product, and having a scattering of “champions” across the country just wasn’t enough, so CBC decided to go national.

Enter Sandy Stewart. Stewart held various radio and TV jobs across Canada in the 1950s, but he settled in Toronto’s CBC studios by the end of that decade. As a children’s programming director, he brought in three noteworthy shows: The Friendly Giant (though Bob Homme ran it in Wisconsin earlier), Razzle Dazzle (with host Alan Hamel, now known today as the man Suzanne Somers apparently has sex with many times a day), and the Toronto version of Reach for the Top. Stewart pitched a national version of Reach, and hired Alex Trebek as the first national moderator. Local champions gathered in Montreal in the spring of 1966, and the Reach for the Top national championship was born.

I don’t have much information about the first few champions. Vincent Massey CI (now closed) of Toronto won the first national title. Oak Bay HS (1968 champion) was apparently pretty good for most of the early years, while Kelvin HS (1970 champion) was also a finalist in 1969.

There was a brief foray into international championships from 1968 to 1970. Canadian Reach teams squared off against British teams from the predecessor format Top of the Form in 1968 for the CBC/BBC co-production Trans-World Top Team. It featured five episodes in Canada (hosted by Alex Trebek) and five in the UK (hosted by Geoffrey Wheeler). I don’t know who won or the format, but presumably the games followed the style shared between the two shows separated by the Atlantic. Trans-World Top Team continued in 1969 and 1970 with Canadian teams facing off against Americans in Honolulu. Sandy Stewart was the producer for all those competitions.

By the time the 1970s rolled around, Reach for the Top was a staple on national television, taking a 7:30 PM Mondays slot in most regions from January to August (Halifax had it on Saturdays just before Hockey Night in Canada). It was popular, and more teams were starting to treat it as a serious, full-time competition…

Notable participants of this period: Jim Flaherty (former Harper-era finance minister), David Tsubouchi (former Ontario cabinet minister), Bruce Flexman (former CRA director)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:18 pm
by bsmith
1971-1978: The competitive TV years

In the early 1970s, televised Reach for the Top was probably at its peak. Ratings were good, schools were begging to get on the air, and there was decent sponsorship and prizes (trips to Europe, for example). Bigger prizes and publicity meant fiercer competition between the schools.

One man essentially changed the attitude teams had toward Reach for the Top. In the early years, Reach was treated essentially as a fancy field trip: you play games on TV two or three times a year and see how well you do. Ken Kowalski, a fan of the show and a new teacher at Lorne Jenkins HS in Alberta, decided to instead dedicate the whole year to Reach for the Top.

Kowalski turned Reach from a gimmick show to a serious competition. Not only did Kowalski set up a year-round club for Reach (rare at the time), he arranged a credit course for dozens of students. The tech shop designed a replica of the studio for the players to practice in- which meant they needed practice questions. That was resolved by making the credit course essentially a question-writing workshop: the students spent the days drafting thousand of questions a year. Word got around in Alberta, and O’Leary HS (with older students) caught on and still beat Lorne Jenkins in their first few years- O’Leary remained the provincial champion and won nationals in 1972. But the “arms race” was on.

For the 1973 season, Lorne Jenkins was the team to beat. Alberta teams smartened up during the year thanks to knowing about the school’s program, but Lorne Jenkins managed to beat O’Leary to represent Alberta for nationals. Nationals was a wash-out, with Lorne Jenkins able to double the score of their opponents regularly. They won the title easily, but their national exposure inspired teams across Canada to start studying.

I feel the 1973 season was a turning point for Reach for the Top on television, and not for the better. 1973 was the final year of Alex Trebek’s involvement; Bill Guest was promoted from local duties to take over as national moderator for the remainder of the television run. Lorne Jenkins’ blowouts were also not a great spectator experience- their prowess may have inspired other schools to work harder, but the tea-sipping viewers at home probably didn’t appreciate the transition from suit-and-tie promotions for schools to the dressed-down super-competitive teenagers of this new era. I think Reach, as a television product, started its decline here.

1974 was another year of competitive teams. Lorne Jenkins, O’Leary, and probably some other teams continued in Alberta, while Dryden was starting a run of national appearances as the Northern Ontario representative (two second places in the end). Gonzaga, from Newfoundland, seemed like a surprise to me: the school was around for most of the TV era, but they just seemed to have the right mix of players for one good year. Nationals was held in St. John’s (no home court advantage, I’m sure), and the final saw Gonzaga against O’Leary. You can watch the match on YouTube, and Canadian hockey fans might recognize a younger Bob Cole introducing the teams and giving out prizes.

The remainder of the 1970s saw more Nationals appearances by Lorne Jenkins, Dryden, and Gonzaga, though the titles ended up going to other schools. Reach for the Top was a club in many schools now, and teams had access to questions, so the rest of the country caught up. Interestingly, the 1978 champions Vincent Massey (the same school that won the first Nationals) defeated Richview in their first local match: that Richview team featured a teenaged Stephen Harper.

Reach was still a part of Canadian culture - Ken Kowalski apparently got elected to the legislature thanks to his coaching success, and the Canadian Encyclopedia included a mention of Lorne Jenkins being the best team ever - but it was declining. National ratings were falling, CBC was facing cuts, and a televised era was coming to a close…

Notable participants of this period: Stephen Harper (current Prime Minister), Ken Kowalski (former speaker of the Alberta legislature), Tom Harrington (1974 Gonzaga; host of CBC’s Marketplace), Shelagh Rogers (CBC Radio host)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:24 pm
by bsmith
1979-1985: Losing support

Reach for the Top had a great run in the 1970s. Teams were competitive, practice clubs were formed, and being on television was the highlight of school yearbooks and newspapers. However, as I suggested in the last section, competitive play is not very viewer-friendly, and by the 1980s, Reach for the Top was losing the young demographic and was more likely to be watched by a player’s grandmother than his friends.

Trudeau needed to start making cuts in his later years, and CBC was one of the targets. $75 million dollars per year worth of cuts saw the cancellation of shows like The Friendly Giant, SCTV, and King of Kensington over this period, and Reach for the Top was frequently in the crosshairs for the first half of the decade.

Nevertheless, people kept coming out of the woodwork to save Reach. Newspapers had hundreds of letters to the editor, local CBC stations claimed the local games had good ratings, and even the CBC executives didn’t really want to cancel an inexpensive “educational” show. In 1983, MP Bud Cullen defended Reach for the Top in Parliament (Hansard: 32nd Parliament, page 24204, 28 March 1983):
The Honourable Bud Cullen, Member for Sarnia-Lambton wrote:Madam Speaker, I should like to call attention to the fact that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation may cancel one of its better programs, “Reach for the Top”. The Canadian content of this program is 100 per cent. It features outstanding Canadian students - intellectual stars at the teenage level.

Everyone agrees that our most precious Canadian resource is our young people. I am certain that all Canadians want “Reach for the Top” to continue. Let us hope they will write to the CBC and let it know. As Members of Parliament, let us see that the CBC gets the message when we are studying the estimates.

We suggest that this program be continued. We are advised, however, that both regional and network program directors made a recommendation that the series be cancelled. They gave the reason as “not reaching the intended target audience”. I would suggest that all that is required is a little imagination - a change of format and possibly more play-offs, more short-term competition. Surely the minds at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation can find a way to save this all Canadian, young peoples’ show.
I don’t know how much of an impact the speech had: Reach for the Top survived for two more seasons, but was canceled in 1985.

There were still some good teams. Hillcrest of Ottawa made the National final twice in the 1980s (coach Roger Taguchi played in some Ottawa Hybrid Tournaments), Roland Michener of Timmins attended Nationals a few times, and Kate Andrews of Alberta won the last CBC championship in 1985.

CBC was done with Reach for the Top. They would later try quiz shows again in 2001 with SmartAsk. Producer Sandy Stewart and editor Paul Russell were allowed to retain the rights, the questions, and even the sets, but they were let go. Schools and their clubs still wanted to play Reach, though…

Notable participants of this period: Mark Carney (former Bank of Canada governor, current Bank of England governor), Bernard Lord (former premier of New Brunswick), Andrew Weaver (first Green Party MLA in BC)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:44 pm
by bsmith
1985-1989: Off the air

Because of poor ratings, CBC canceled Reach for the Top in 1985. Clubs still existed, and local TV stations felt it had some value, so the producers tried to find a way to continue it. Producer Sandy Stewart managed to retain various rights and trademarks, and created Reach for the Top Inc, a company that takes care of any televised productions. Stewart partnered with his editor from the CBC days, Paul Russell, to create “SchoolReach”, a subscription system that provides questions for running tournaments at the intramural and local levels. This arrangement exists today, though the two distinct companies’ identities are often interchanged, sometimes incorrectly (ie: only a handful of schools actually play “Reach for the Top” each year, which are any televised playoffs; “SchoolReach” is the games most students play).

The “SchoolReach” subscription service was immediately snapped up by some schools the year after the CBC cancellation (an article said 180 schools). Stewart lent the name “Reach for the Top” to various local stations around Canada (including several CBC outlets!) so that schools could still get some on-air competition. Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal were definitely active on TV after the cancellation, and I imagine most other cities either had a TV show, or ran an elaborate off-air tournament.

“SchoolReach” and/or “Reach for the Top” remained a local affair, however. Some regional champions in this time included Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate (Winnipeg), St. George’s (Vancouver), Martingrove (Toronto, under the coaching of future head judge Pat Beecham), and Hillcrest (Ottawa). Lisgar was also active in the national-less period. Earl Haig won the 1988 Texaco Star North American Challenge against Eleanor Roosevelt in a Chip Beall-style tournament, but I can’t find any evidence or explanation why Earl Haig earned the designation as Canada’s team when they didn’t play “SchoolReach”.

Local competition went on for three seasons, but people were itching to get a national championship back. “SchoolReach” recruited key educators in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia to get ready to organize provincial and national championships. Most of those early adopters (Eric Stewart, Chris Zarski, Pat Beecham, Hans Budgey, etc.) are still the provincial coordinators today- or were so until retirement.

By 1988-89, “SchoolReach” had enough resources to run a national championship. Tagwi, a small school from rural eastern Ontario, won the first nationals in the new era. A cute nugget I found in the past was that apparently Tagwi won an earlier elimination round because the judges denied an opponent’s answer of “cabbage” for “What is the main ingredient of borscht?” (cabbage borscht is a variety in Canada and elsewhere). Tagwi had a nice stroke of luck there, but it didn’t last.

Tagwi was probably the second-most screwed-over national champion (I’ll get to the most screwed-over champion later). Firstly, there was no trophy available to present, despite promises of one. Sandy Stewart, who received the rights to all the physical materials of the old Reach for the Top, believed he could obtain the 20-year-old uniquely-designed trophy from the CBC days. Kate Andrews in Alberta was the last holder of that trophy, and, in a possible slip of the tongue by a technician, was told the trophy was “[yours] to keep”. The administrators at Kate Andrews treated that message as serious, and vowed to keep the trophy when Stewart requested it just before the 1989 nationals. Rather than design a replica trophy, Stewart went to court. Tagwi won in the meantime, and had no trophy. In addition, Tagwi was promised they could participate in the 1989 version of Chip Beall’s North American Challenge, but someone on the US end backed out at the last minute. After promises of a trophy, a trip to the US, and cash prizes, the students at Tagwi just ended up with Walkmans.

The trophy dispute between Stewart and Kate Andrews continued. It made front-page news in February 1990, eight months after Tagwi’s championship, and I think Stewart enjoyed the “no publicity is bad publicity” attention. Stewart said the controversy was the “most fun I’ve had since the cow kicked the lamp”, though I’m sure Tagwi would think otherwise. The dispute ended up being resolved with a new replica trophy ready for 1990, and Kate Andrews keeping the old trophy, which they continue to do to this day, even though Kate Andrews doesn’t play “SchoolReach”. This mean Kate Andrews has held the trophy for 29 years- more than half of the trophy’s life. Tagwi never got the new trophy, but their name is engraved on it.

A tangent here, since it occurred in 1989. “Reach for the Top” talks about how their game is a cherished part of Canadiana, thanks to the TV show “Pray for Me, Paul Henderson”. I doubt its impact: it was a single episode of CBC’s Magic Hour, which aired hour-long stories for families, and it is essentially unmentioned anywhere except its token IMDB page. It may have inspired some schools to join “SchoolReach” (it aired in November, 1989), but no one seems to care about it today. For anyone curious, it features a young Yannick Bisson (the star of Murdoch Mysteries) trying to run a quiz team during the 1972 Canada/USSR Summit Series. That’s somewhat implausible, considering the Series was in September and Reach tapings didn’t start until January, but who cares? Good luck finding recordings of this “significant part of Canadian culture”.

Anyway, the national championships were back after a brief hiatus, and a new “SchoolReach” era began. The regionals/provincials/nationals system continues to this day (Quebec joined in 2000). The remaining history is now about the schools playing in this newly-organized system…

Notable participants of this period: Uh, no “celebrities”, and I don’t think there were any dominant players that would be memorable today.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Fri May 02, 2014 12:59 pm
by bsmith
Re: 1974. Tom Harrington conveniently and coincidentally tweeted about his Reach for the Top run today. Here's a link to the Twitter conversation. He claims Gonzaga was at Nationals 6 times, which is certainly on par with Lorne Jenkins and Dryden.

More history coming soon.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:54 pm
by bsmith
1990-1994: School-based play

As I mentioned before, Canadian schools converted to the new “SchoolReach” subscription format. Schools pay a fee up-front, which gives access to 12 new packets for practice and/or intramurals and a regional championship with 15-20 packets. Regional winners (and some runners-up) then attend a provincial championship: these provincial tournaments are usually the “big thing”, because they usually feature schools that are relatively near each other and have the biggest fields of the year. Universities like Western, Alberta, or Dalhousie would often host the provincial championship and offer scholarships to the winners. Nationals, by comparison, was somewhat lower-key, with not as much built-in rivalry and a smaller field. “SchoolReach” was in roughly 600 schools in the 1990s.

Despite good subscription numbers, “SchoolReach” and “Reach for the Top” had somewhat faded from Canada’s cultural identity. Manitoba, BC, and maybe some other provinces televised their provincial championships, but local games and Nationals were off the air. The phrase “Reach for the Top” was (and still is) quite recognizable for the CBC show, but the general public wasn’t as interested in “SchoolReach”.

“SchoolReach” was still, of course, a serious competition for several clubs in the early 1990s. Many coaches were still around from the TV days, and the subscription method got some new schools on board. St. George’s (BC), Fredericton (NB), Saunders (ON), Woodlands (ON), and Martingrove (ON) all did well in the early years, while St. Joseph’s of Renfrew picked up the last championship for a “small school”.

Starting in 1992, Ontario had a streak of national championships (with one interruption) that lasted until 2004. St. George’s coach (and the BC coordinator) complained about this injustice: Ontario had a 13-grade system at the time, with 19- and 20-year-olds stomping over the 18-year-olds in the other provinces. This age circumstance was accommodated in the rules for “SchoolReach”, allowing anyone 19 or under on September 1 to play in the upcoming year. There is no doubt that the age gap probably led to Ontario’s dominance in this time, but provinces in other schools would occasionally have victory-lap players (including the team that eventually ended the streak…). Ontario’s 13-grade system ended in 2003, but the rule remains and caused some problems in the future.

Saunders was one of the best teams at the time, thanks to David Thorsley’s 5-year tenure on the team. They made it to provincials each of those years, and nationals three times. Their 1994 Nationals run was cut short by the team from Bell, who would go on to win the championship. Bell’s story, however, was just beginning…

Notable participants of this period: David Thorsley (Saunders; Western and Michigan player), John Colterman (St. Joseph’s; Queen’s player and Assumption coach), Bruce Lin (Woodlands; Queen’s and Princeton player and VETO pioneer)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Sun May 04, 2014 1:09 pm
by bsmith
1994-1999: Controversy and transitions

I ended the last update with Bell’s team. Bell, under coach Richard Mageau, was pretty much the best Ottawa team since the “SchoolReach” revival. They attended Nationals in 1991 (after jumping through some hoops during a labour dispute), and joined Saunders as the Ontario representatives in 1994. They somehow were seeded against Saunders in the first round, but got through and eventually beat Fredericton (NB) in the final. It was Ottawa’s first championship since Hillcrest in 1980.

Bell had trouble defending their title in 1995. They beat Lisgar for the city championship in early March, and were scheduled to play a zone match against Picton to be the eastern Ontario representative at provincials. There was a policy at the time to guarantee the defending national champion a spot at the following year’s provincials, so Bell could have lost the zone match and still gone- essentially all the zone match could do is eliminate Picton.

Bell’s school board began work-to-rule job action in the time between the city championship and zone match. Teachers (including coach Mageau) ceased all extracurricular activity. This was part of turbulent times for teachers in the early 1990s: their union endorsed Bob Rae’s left-wing government when elected, but they felt betrayed when Rae had to introduce severe austerity measures after a credit rating downgrade. Various teacher union branches across the province staged action on a rotating basis, and it culminated in the union endorsing the opposition, right-wing Mike Harris, for the 1995 election (dumb move, in my opinion- it got worse for teachers under him). Anyway, politics aside, Bell couldn’t get teacher supervision for their zone match, and “SchoolReach” banned Bell from any events during the work-to-rule because of problems during 1991 and 1992 actions.

Lisgar was not in Bell’s school board, and attended the zone match in Bell’s place. Lisgar won, and earned a spot at provincials. All the participants in that zone match were “asked very strongly” by “SchoolReach” to not reveal any information to Bell, lest they try to attend in protest.

Bell students and alumni sought a court injunction to overrule their ban. They argued they did nothing wrong in the “contract” associated with paying their registration fee at the beginning of the year. Sandy Stewart, still the “SchoolReach” producer, probably could have arranged a refund at this point, but chose to fight Bell in court. The judge granted an injunction against Reach’s policy of banning striking schools, but the ruling acknowledged that the Lisgar team had earned the provincials spot. Bell would need to keep fighting, and Stewart said “they’ll have to injunction themselves all the way to Toronto [the provincials site]”.

Bell managed to get a favourable ruling in time that would allow them to attend. All the spots were taken at this point, so Stewart had to kick out Lisgar to let Bell in. I have no records about Lisgar’s perspective in all this mess, but getting kicked out of a tournament you were scheduled to attend was probably a massive inconvenience. Who knows what would have happened if the Lisgar team went down the court route…

Bell attending provincials during a school strike did not sit well with the teacher’s union federation. Stewart reported that the other 31 teams may boycott in protest (unlikely: I doubt the private and Catholic schools in attendance would care), leaving a meaningless championship. The union federation did order a boycott and once the first team withdrew, Stewart cancelled the Ontario tournament (I’m sure the other provinces would have loved that: Ontario was in the middle of dominating “SchoolReach” in the country). The cancellation didn’t last long, though, and teams came, though the public schools were warned not to play against Bell. Some teachers refused to read matches to Bell, so spares were brought in. The coach from an Oakville school “screamed at them”. The Bell students were clearly not welcome.

Nevertheless, Bell got through the tournament. They finished third, just missing a Nationals qualification. They lost, but got probably the most media coverage any “Reach for the Top” team will ever receive. Fredericton won the championship, the only non-Ontario team to do so from 1992 to 2003.

The 1995 season was a mess. There was plenty of blame to go around: the union federation for planning boycotts; “SchoolReach” for not compromising; the Bell consortium (which included alumni in law school) being quick to go down the litigation route. There is no doubt that Bell was screwed over that year, but so were Lisgar and all the players at provincials that had to deal with a soap opera amongst the teacher coaches. I had fears that the 2012-13 job action would result in a similar circus, but the dispute got resolved in March, before any serious matches took place.

Sandy Stewart retired from “SchoolReach” in 1995. Robert Jeffrey and Paul Russell resumed management, with Daniel Hill coming in later. The remainder of the 1990s saw some provinces (BC, Alberta) return to televised “Reach for the Top”, through community channels.

I don’t know too much about teams from the rest of the 1990s. Ontario dominated: Thorsley-led Saunders got a second championship and Gloucester made Nationals three times in five years. Ontario teams were the two national finalists from 1997 to 2001. Fredericton (NB) and St. George’s (BC) were regular representatives for their provinces. “SchoolReach” alumni were starting to form quizbowl teams in Canadian universities like McMaster, Western, Waterloo, Ottawa, and Simon Fraser. “SchoolReach” made a brief attempt to start university competition in 1999-2000, but it never materialized.

The mid-to-late 1990s was not a great time for “SchoolReach”, but I think things got better in the new millennium…

Notable participants of this period: David Thorsley was finishing up in high school, but I don’t know of too many other significant players. 1996-99 is kind of a blank area in my knowledge of Reach.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Mon May 05, 2014 9:12 am
by bsmith
2000-2004: In with the new

A lot of things happened with “SchoolReach” around 2000. I’m not saying that because that’s when I started, but that year, and a few that followed, saw new teams, new places, and new formats.

First, new teams. Not to toot my own horn, but “2000” and “new team” has to mention Merivale HS in Ottawa. Richard Mageau (from the earlier Bell years) decided to visit Merivale in the fall of 1999 to see if there was interest for a “SchoolReach” team. The other Ottawa schools offering gifted enrichment (Bell and Gloucester) had great recent success, so why not try Merivale? As a freshman, I remember that he visited all the grade 9 English classes and made a typical “this is like Jeopardy!” pitch. More than 50 grade 9 & 10 students came to the first meeting, and a junior intramural league was set up. There were about a dozen students in grade 11-13 for a parallel senior start-up. Mageau gave the seniors a crash course in “SchoolReach”, and the team put up a respectable city debut at second, behind perennial powerhouse Gloucester. After another cramming session with Mageau’s archive, Merivale went to provincials at Kingston and swept the field to a championship. At that time in Reach history, Ontario provincials was the hardest step, and Merivale comfortably won the national tournament in Edmonton. Winning “Reach for the Top” on a debut (Merivale never even played during the CBC days) is unmatched.

The start of the new millennium also saw the rise of “SchoolReach” dynasties. Though they had frequent appearances in the past, Lisgar (under Ruth Crabtree) and University of Toronto Schools (under Fraser Simpson) began their regular provincials attendance- neither has failed to qualify since 2002. Kennebecasis Valley (under Jason Thorne) came on to the New Brunswick scene after the decline of Fredericton and won every provincial championship since 2004. Those dynasties continue today, with those three teams taking five of the six most recent championships.

Nationals moved to Edmonton in 2000. This was a big change from the frequent eastern Canada nationals sites, and was distant from “SchoolReach” HQ in Toronto. There was a reason, though: television. Access Channel, formerly Alberta’s public broadcaster, televised that province’s championship and was planning to launch a new channel, Canadian Learning Television, in late 1999. The national championship of “Reach for the Top” seemed like a natural fit for this new educational channel. Different moderators cycled through the first few years, but Daniel Richler (son of Canadian author Mordecai) became the regular host. Interestingly, if you want to be technical about it, 2000 was the first “Reach for the Top” championship since the CBC era, though no one would deny the 1989-1999 “SchoolReach” champions from appearing on the trophy…

Quebec joined “SchoolReach” in 2000. To be blunt, Quebec’s mere presence is mired with challenges. Language laws introduced in the province in the late 1970s and 80s meant that there were far fewer English schools in the province than during the CBC days. Subscriptions would be pretty much limited to Montreal, and even then, there would only be a handful of high schools. Needless to say, the “regional” and “provincial” championship are one and the same in Quebec. “SchoolReach” recruited Dawson College professor Ivan Gombos to try to use the school as a host for Quebec, but they needed greater attendance.

“SchoolReach” decided to let CEGEPs play the game. CEGEPs are special colleges in Quebec that bridge students for two years between high school and university. High school ends at grade 11 in Quebec, and graduates of the university stream of CEGEPs are usually allowed to enter the second year of Canadian universities. “SchoolReach” decided to let students from these colleges play, as long as they met the rule of being “19 or under at the beginning of the school year”, which was plausible for players in the two years immediately after high school. In my opinion, this was probably the most unfair eligibility situation- even worse than Ontario’s grade 13. From 2000 until an eligibility clarification in 2011, only one high school won Quebec and attended Nationals. Quebec provincials consisted of the English CEGEPs (Dawson, Marianopolis, Vanier) fielding 20-year-olds to beat the English high schools with 16 and 17-year-olds. If a good high school player graduated, he would just continue on with a CEGEP team that could draw from the best graduates of multiple high schools. This was a mess I noticed in my playing days, and it wasn’t until 2011 that eligibility was modified to limit CEGEP teams to their first year (equivalent of grade 12 in other provinces). No CEGEP won the national title, though Dawson was third in 2002. In my searches, other than fundraising campaigns, I have not found another activity where high schools compete against CEGEPs for a provincial or national title.

CBC returned to high school quizzes in 2001. SmartAsk! pitted 125 schools from across Canada each year in a single-elimination television season. It was categorized as children’s programming, and had the feel of it, though “SchoolReach” teams still signed up for it and did well in it. There was a fair bit of mockery by “SchoolReach” teams toward those that played, though I suppose SmartAsk! participant St. George’s got the last laugh by winning “Reach for the Top” in 2004. Interestingly, SmartAsk! had very little issue with on-air mentions of “Reach for the Top”, but talk of the CBC show was essentially censored during “SchoolReach” events. Nevertheless, SmartAsk! is a separate tangent, and I’ll get back to Reach.

“SchoolReach” itself changed in the early 2000s. Perhaps coincidentally, the introduction of televised “Reach for the Top” provincials in Ontario in 2002 also saw format changes. I have not seen it used elsewhere, but “Reach for the Top” “improved” upon the unfairness of single elimination by introducing the “highest scoring loser” consolation. Essentially, in an elimination round up to semifinals, the highest scoring loser is not eliminated, but allowed to continue against the #1 seed. In theory, it might work for a level playing field, but in practice, the difference in packets between matches (being on television, every game had a different set of questions) meant that some packets were harder than others and some games heard more questions within the time constraints of an episode. Nevertheless, “highest scoring loser” continues to this day in Ontario. 2000-02 also saw the introduction of “shootout”, “relay”, “chain”, and “list” questions; it used to be just open questions, “team scrambles”, “who-am-I?”, and assigned questions. Tough luck if you wanted to be highest-scoring loser and had a shootout in your round. Anyway, the format changes done by 2002 remain today.

The players of this era were not necessarily better than any other. What was notable about this group was the novel use of the Internet to communicate (and complain), and the large cohort entering Canadian universities ready to keep on playing. This led to an active, and sometimes activist, alumni, which will be addressed later…

Notable participants of this period: Adam Goldenberg (St. George’s; former speechwriter for Michael Ignatieff), Marc Lizoain & Jacob Baskin (part of the UTS back-to-back championship), and quizbowl propagators (myself, Andy Saunders, Jon Klein & Andrew Segal, Tamara Vardomskaya, Daniel Pareja, Jordan Palmer, et al)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Mon May 05, 2014 1:46 pm
by Camelopardalis
Ben, this is great and very useful. This is especially true for young players trying to understand the context of Reach, and understanding the difficulties of growing quizbowl under auspices of a large organization that still carries a flame in the hearts of many Canadians.

Thank you on behalf of the Ontario quiz community for taking the time to do this, it must have been significant.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Mon May 05, 2014 4:33 pm
by bsmith
Almost done!

2005-2008: External pressures

“Reach for the Top” had a mini-renaissance at the start of the millennium. Television deals, new formats, and expansion into Quebec (and PEI, to a lesser extent) bolstered the “Reach” image, and more widespread use of the Internet helped teams get involved and get better- quizzing and trivia websites replaced reading encyclopedias.

The Internet also led to more communication and discontent. Enthusiastic players would use forums, message boards, and email to discuss “SchoolReach”. Regional results would be shared, study tips were given, and some people started airing complaints. Most complaints would be dismissed, and they were usually on shallow concepts like a silly answer or the playoff format. At the time, Canadian players didn’t know about “bad” fundamentals, and assumed “Reach for the Top” was the pinnacle of quiz achievements.

When the prior cohort moved on to university, they were very enthusiastic about playing, but discovered that quizbowl was the only option. It was a bit of culture shock, and elements of “SchoolReach” (tricks, sloppy writing, lots of pop culture) seeped into the Canadian tournaments of the day (VETO, Provincial Bowl, Hybrid). The 2003-04 period coincidentally saw a lot of veteran college players graduate as the new cohort came in, so there were few “elder statesmen” to guide quizbowl. But these new players were active, and about a dozen teams popped up in BC, Ontario, and Quebec by 2006.

I wanted to pass on the university quizbowl experience to high school. I knew from this forum that 4 or 5 different formats and championships could co-exist at the high school level in the US, so I thought surely Canada could accommodate a second one. I planned a tournament for fall 2005.

I’ll give some clarification about my “promotion” of the first quizbowl event. I went to the “Reach for the Top” Ontario playoffs in spring 2005 and put up posters in the TV studio, and yes, they were quickly taken down. This was not “censorship”: I was putting stuff up on private property. I was not banned from “SchoolReach”: my “ban” was at the local level starting in 2006 after hearing of my stunt at the studio and because I ran the quizbowl tournament. Anyway, I am not on any blacklist (I ran the league last year) and I am able to raise issues with “SchoolReach”.

“Reach for the Top” itself had some great teams and players. The dynasties I mentioned last time were still going strong, Woburn and London Central made noise in Ontario, while Cobequid put in good representation for Nova Scotia. Former “dynasties” like St. George’s, Gloucester, and Merivale were fading, though.

I chose 2008 as the cut-off year because of two transitions. First, the national finals tapings in Edmonton were ending, and the Ontario playoffs soon after. Some Nationals tapings continued in Toronto, but “Reach for the Top” was essentially off the air (Nationals keeps up the “Reach for the Top” persona by having a camcorder film the games). Secondly, 2008 saw a “quizbowl team” succeed in “SchoolReach” for the first time.

The incidents surrounding the 2008 Lisgar team are probably best left to the actual members, but in short: the team abandoned their HSNCT registration on two weeks’ notice to go to Edmonton, had a contentious final match with UTS that spilled onto forums and Wikipedia, and pretty much made decent Ontario teams aware of quizbowl.

In the grand scheme of things, not much changed in “SchoolReach” between 2002 and 2008. Sure, there were some kids playing another format in Ottawa, but “Reach for the Top” is still the best, right…?

Notable participants of this period: Sinan Ulusoy (Woburn), Will Nediger & Peter Burton (London Central), Jamie Cooper & Nevin Hotson & Chris Greenwood (Lisgar), Morgan Gagnon (KV, finished at least 5th nationally from grade 9 to 12)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 6:49 pm
by bsmith
2009-present: SchoolReach today

After transitioning off of television from 2008 to 2010, “Reach for the Top” entered its current state. The regional/provincial/national qualification system (since 1989) and “SchoolReach” game format (since 2002) have been unchanged for a while; some people gripe, but it remains status quo. While it is clearly a shadow of its glory days on national TV, it is widespread in almost all Canadian provinces and has good subscription.

The teams are starting to stratify, especially in Ontario. While surprise teams pop up (Bellerose and PACE last year, Assumption in 2010), for the most part, the top tier is becoming consistent. KV and Cobequid rule the roost out east (though Dartmouth beat Cobequid this year). Ontario’s playoff teams are a regular group that contains Lisgar, UTS, London Central, Martingrove, Woburn, Centennial, Merivale, and CHAT. These are the teams that could be counted on to win year after year.

I think a new transition is underway. I believe we may be in a period similar to the “arms race” of the 1970s: a few teams found a game-changing tactic, then the keen teams scrambled to get on board while others just moseyed along. In the 1970s, it was the idea of club practices; in the 2010s, I believe the game-changer is out-of-season tournaments. Nearly all of the “strong” teams these days play tournaments (whether quizbowl or “SchoolReach”-style) outside of the regional and provincial schedule. The extra opportunities to play in an intense situation and shape up the year’s competition are undoubtedly paying dividends. The strong teams are getting stronger.

Unfortunately, there’s the rest of Canada. Hundreds of teams are stagnant. Stagnation could still get you upsets in the past, but even within the quirks of the “SchoolReach” format, today’s strong teams aren’t going to lose. Several factors can lead to this: coach and/or student apathy, keen teams being unaware how to get better, or even just a lack of nearby teams. This problem isn’t unique to Canada; there was a similar stratification in the gradual transition from NAC to “good quizbowl” in the US through the 1990s and 2000s.

I’d speculate that there are two possible outcomes in the future for “SchoolReach”. In the first, the stagnant teams become disillusioned by the regular losses, and start unsubscribing. “SchoolReach” would need to find ways to give these teams “hope”, and would alter the game to keep the hundreds of weaker subscribers happy. In the second, the stagnant teams start pursuing ways to get better. Scrimmages with other schools, writing questions, trying quizbowl; anything other than just meeting one lunch a week to play slap-bowl on last year’s regional set. All good players hope for the second option where teams try to make themselves better, but we all know about those teams that stay put and expect “SchoolReach” to accommodate to them.

With regards to quizbowl, I think many Canadian teams (especially in Ontario) are aware of it. It’s easy to find through Google searches, and word spreads at tournaments. Teams are just not attending, whether by choice or other factors (not available in region, teacher can’t go, finances, too different, image problems). Quizbowl is not really the focus of this history, though, and its impact on future “SchoolReach” seasons and teams is pretty much limited to the top tier for now.

In this modern era of “SchoolReach”, the top tier dominates. Since 2006, every national finalist (except Bellerose) came from that short list of teams I mentioned earlier. A particularly impressive run was Kennebecasis not finishing worse than third nationally for five straight years, including two championships. UTS (with two more championships) and London Central have been regular Ontario representatives these last few years.

2014 Nationals is coming. Former champs KV, Cobequid, and Kelvin (MB) have already qualified, and Ontario’s tournament is this weekend. Expect the “usual suspects” to make the playoffs, though Colonel By will probably use their quizbowl experience to make some noise.

Notable participants of this period: Patrick Liao (Lisgar), Mike Forestell (KV; four years of not finishing worse than third), dozens of current Canadian university QB players.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 6:53 pm
by bsmith
So ends my history of Reach for the Top and “SchoolReach”. Some information was speculation, but a lot came from my university access to old newspapers, which I then transferred to the QB Wiki. Lots of old games are on YouTube, and Google searches turn up biographies and school histories. There are lots of other “quiz” events in Canadian history (quizbowl, Génies en herbe, SmartAsk!, IQ, game shows, the pub scene) but the “institution” status of Reach made it the most logical (and easiest) to investigate.

You may differ on them, but I clearly had my biases. I thought the 1970s era was the most interesting, but it was all from the perspective of a few good teams- I don’t know was Reach for the Top was like for a local team getting eliminated in the first round (Stephen Harper, anyone?). The Bell story was still remembered in Ottawa in my playing days, but most people today don’t know about Sandy Stewart’s exploits. My CEGEP gripe arose from Dawson College’s runs in 2002 and 2003- the years I was on a senior team and took notice of the games on television. And of course, remembering whether to use Reach for the Top (the CBC show), “Reach for the Top” (the TV production) or “SchoolReach” (the subscribed games) confused me at times! Each Canadian player probably has their own opinion of what aspects of Reach are important.

I’ll close with a final opinion from me. In only chronological order (trying to cover different eras), and relative to the conditions of the time:

Top 3 programs: Lorne Jenkins, St. George’s, UTS
Top 3 teams: 1973 Lorne Jenkins, 2000 Merivale, 2010 Kennebecasis Valley
Top 3 players: Dino Zincone (“The whiz kid who beat Harper”), David Thorsley, Adam Goldenberg

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 1:41 pm
by Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire
Thanks for compiling this, Ben. I have learned a lot of historical context of what the game is like now.
bsmith wrote:
Top 3 teams: 1973 Lorne Jenkins, 2000 Merivale, 2010 Kennebecasis Valley
Top 3 players: Dino Zincone (“The whiz kid who beat Harper”), David Thorsley, Adam Goldenberg
I think UTS 2012 and Mike Forestell should be acknowledged here too. UTS won provincials and nationals without dropping a single game. They had to fight through a tough field in both Ontario and Canada.

Reach deserves credit for it's storied history, and players and teams deserve credit for their successes. However, the quizzing world nowadays realizes the harm of hoses, funn,50/50 guessing leading to an 80 point swing, antipyramidality, and other unfair practices. This region has to move forward, whether it's with good quizbowl or with an improved version of Reach.

EDIT: pressed submit too early and didn't finish post.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 08, 2014 8:57 pm
by Camelopardalis
bsmith wrote:Top 3 players: Dino Zincone (“The whiz kid who beat Harper”), David Thorsley, Adam Goldenberg
If you did a top 5, do you think it would include Sinan Ulusoy and Peter Burton?

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Thu May 08, 2014 9:07 pm
by Camelopardalis
bsmith wrote:With regards to quizbowl, I think many Canadian teams (especially in Ontario) are aware of it. It’s easy to find through Google searches, and word spreads at tournaments. Teams are just not attending, whether by choice or other factors (not available in region, teacher can’t go, finances, too different, image problems).
Obviously this is a Reach thing, and I understand you didn't delve into this point for that reason, but I believe it's not as simple as not wanting to attend. It takes an active process to change inertia. Competing in Reach is a minimum standard for high school "quiz", "reach", "trivia", etc. clubs, and the reasons for a team to attend need to be positive and beneficial enough to upset this inertia.

Whether it's a desire to get better or keep up (Lisgar, when they first started), a genuine enjoyment of the quizbowl format (UTS players, Woburn, other modern teams), or loving the tournaments themselves, (as they are generally well-organized, easy to sign up, inexpensive, one-day events, in contrast to Reach), the reasons to join must be overwhelming enough to change the status quo.

I'm just saying, I don't think it's a combination of the negative factors you mention ("not available in region, teacher can’t go, finances, too different, image problems"), but more a lack of well-advertised positive factors. But obviously, this a grey area and a fairly nuanced point.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:19 pm
by bsmith
I'm resurrecting this to say that I will be ranking the championship programs from bottom to top in recognition of Reach's 50th anniversary. Because of significant differences, I am splitting the CBC and SchoolReach eras into separate lists.

I will post the ranks here when I am finished around Labour Day. Rankings are being revealed (roughly 2 per day) on Twitter with the tag #reachrank .

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:15 pm
by bsmith
bsmith wrote:I'm resurrecting this to say that I will be ranking the championship programs from bottom to top in recognition of Reach's 50th anniversary. Because of significant differences, I am splitting the CBC and SchoolReach eras into separate lists.

I will post the ranks here when I am finished around Labour Day. Rankings are being revealed (roughly 2 per day) on Twitter with the tag #reachrank .
CBC era
1. Lorne Jenken (AB)
2. Gonzaga (NL)
3. Archbishop O'Leary (AB)
4. Vincent Massey (ON)
5. Oak Bay (BC)
6. Glenlawn (MB)
7. Hillcrest (ON)
8. Cobequid (NS; for their CBC tenure)
9. Roland Michener (ON)
10. Kelvin (MB)
11. Dakota (MB)
12. Banting Memorial (ON)
13. Central Peel (ON)
14. Queen Elizabeth (NS)
15. Deloraine (MB)
16. Neil McNeil (ON)
17. River East (MB)
18. Kate Andrews (AB)
19. Rideau (ON)
Non-champion honourable mention: Dryden (ON)

SchoolReach era
1. University of Toronto Schools (ON)
2. Kennebecasis Valley (NB)
3. St. George's (BC)
4. London Central (ON)
5. Gloucester (ON)
6. Martingrove (ON)
7. Lisgar (ON)
8. Cobequid (NS; for their modern club)
9. Merivale (ON)
10. Fredericton (NB)
11. Woburn (ON)
12. Saunders (ON)
13. Bell (ON)
14. St. Joseph's (ON)
15. Earl Haig (ON)
16. Frontenac (ON)
17. Memorial Composite (NS)
18. Tagwi (ON)
Non-champion honourable mention: Old Scona (AB)

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:12 pm
by bsmith
This coming Saturday, CTV's W5 will air a "14 minute segment" about Reach for the Top. It will include footage from the 2015 Nationals (which Lisgar won) and interviews with famous former participants. Canadians can check local air times, or wait about a week for video on W5's website.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:21 am
by Masked Canadian History Bandit
Here's the CTV piece, featuring appearances by among other people, Jay Misuk, Aaron dos Remedios, Britney Castleman, Kim Campbell, Alex Trebek, and Matt Jackson. ... -1.2667775

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 3:46 pm
by Sigurd
Reach for the Top provincials happened this weekend.

After going 7-0 in the pools Martingrove CI was first seed with 3100 points, Merivale was second seed as the only other undefeated team. Rounding up the playoff seeds were Lisgar with a very impressive 2830 points despite a touch pool, followed by Upper Canada College, Centennial CVI, Waterloo CI, Holy Cross CSS, Hilfield Strathallan, London Central and Marc Garneau.
Full prelim stats can be found here: ... esults.pdf

After some very exciting rounds of playoff play Martingrove defeated London Central 420-380 and UCC defeated Lisgar 410-400 in a gripping comeback.

In the final Martingrove defeated UCC 380-320 while Lisgar defeated London Central 450-250 to claim third place and the final nationals spot.
Full playoff stats can be found here: ... ayoffs.pdf

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 8:39 pm
by bsmith
Sigurd wrote:Reach for the Top provincials happened this weekend.
Without UTS. The team that beat KV in the 3 Reach-style invitationals this year, and only took 1 loss- a semifinal at regionals. UTS, on paper, should be the 2016 national champion.

It's time for Reach to adopt an "R-value" for Ontario. Let the 24 league champions in, then the next 16 best. UTS would have ended up with an R-value averaged with RSG and Garneau, which would still be better than most other 2nd-place regional qualifiers.

An R-value would have also distributed the pools much more fairly. Nobody seriously thinks Merivale or Centennial had the strength for seeds 2 & 5, and the playoffs showed it.

All the R-value needs is a ranked order of finish and total round-robin points each team earned, and I am essentially ready to implement it.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 11:15 pm
by Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire
Seeding: You have stats from Ottawa regionals, Lisgar/UTS invitationals and Hamilton (from Jay). Check how an R-value would have seeded Hillfield, the surprise team of the weekend. No one expected them.

Merivale: Bayview dropped on Friday, and so Hillfield B was slotted in. Merivale, Bayview, and Garneau would have been another interesting pool to watch.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Tue May 17, 2016 10:28 am
by bsmith
raffi_-_c-a-n-a-d-a.mp3 wrote:Seeding: You have stats from Ottawa regionals, Lisgar/UTS invitationals and Hamilton (from Jay). Check how an R-value would have seeded Hillfield, the surprise team of the weekend. No one expected them.
I don't actually have any regional set stats, and I would need a lot for it to be useful. The best I would be able to say is that Hillfield is ahead of team X from Ottawa, or Westmount had a good run (but good enough to be among the 16 best of the rest?).

The "R-value" is pretty much D-value, simplified: team PPG X opponent PPG/province-wide PPG, with the correction that if someone ranked (via wins/playoffs/whatever) lower than you has a better raw score, everyone between you and that "better" team get averaged out. If opponent PPG is not intuitive from a round-robin result table, I would modify it for that field to be "everyone else in region" PPG.

There will always be surprises after seeding. RSG only ran their seniors, even though their talent is in grades 10-11. I.E. Weldon had 5 wins in 6 previous appearances, yet suddenly finished one spot out of playoffs. The wacky nature of Reach means I can't get it perfect, but it would be significantly fairer than whoever designed Pool A (did they seriously consider Centennial one of the top 5 teams in Ontario?).
Merivale: Bayview dropped on Friday, and so Hillfield B was slotted in. Merivale, Bayview, and Garneau would have been another interesting pool to watch.
But are any of those teams better than the pool D mess of UCC, Waterloo, White Oaks, and Woburn? Even St. Robert beat Bayview regionally.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 10:55 pm
by jingweithetraitor
"But are any of those teams better than the pool D mess of UCC, Waterloo, White Oaks, and Woburn? Even St. Robert beat Bayview regionally."

Dare I say no (concerning QB quality at least). A full White Oaks team, imho, is better than Merivale and Bayview in quality (in quizbowl. All those sets varied from good/playable to absolute clusterfucks concerning content quality/distribution, teams like UCC would get 40s in one game and then 20s in another, no bias btw). I talked with Garneau and they were totally unfamiliar with the QB format (they also thought QB was only for university so if Garneau plays QB next year thank me later fam imma be the QB Joseph Smith) and lost to Agincourt (lel). St. Robert probably memed a win against Bayview like they did against us. Waterloo is a lot better at Reach than QB for some weird reason. And you guys are underrating Nepean, they actually have a lot of knowledge, I think it was only first year syndrome that held them back and they probably could've been like Weldon at another group. They were better than Agincourt. And we all know how well a shorthanded Woburn team using a rookie did against Merivale.

I'm not salty btw, I genuinely believe these hot opinions.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 4:16 pm
by Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire
jingweithetraitor wrote: St. Robert probably memed a win against Bayview like they did against us.
St. Robert knew things you didn't and thus scored more points than you.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 9:23 pm
by Auks Ran Ova
raffi_-_c-a-n-a-d-a.mp3 wrote:
jingweithetraitor wrote: St. Robert probably memed a win against Bayview like they did against us.
St. Robert knew things you didn't and thus scored more points than you.
Feel free to continue the discussion again from this point. The rules are still the rules, even in Canada.

Re: An unofficial history of “Reach for the Top”

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:49 am
by jingweithetraitor
raffi_-_c-a-n-a-d-a.mp3 wrote:
jingweithetraitor wrote: St. Robert probably memed a win against Bayview like they did against us.
St. Robert knew things you didn't and thus scored more points than you.
It's reach who cares?