Jonesborough seniors win statewide Brain Games for third year

Becky Campbell • Updated Oct 18, 2018 at 1:47 PM

It was a squeaker at the finish line, but for the third consecutive year, the Jonesborough Senior Center’s Brain Games team took top honors Tuesday in a game show-style competition with questions about subjects from history and geology to foreign languages and places, and just about everything in between.

The Jonesborough Olde Towners, who hosted the finals because they were the reigning champions, took the win by one point over the second-place team.

The game is basically played like the popular TV game show Jeopardy, but there aren’t as many categories and the teams write their answers on paper and scores are added up.

“Brain Games is a statewide program initiated by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, and it’s to promote brain health,” said Mary Sange, director of the Jonesborough Senior Center. “Senior centers compete across the state to be at this level.”

The final competition consists of four teams, each with three people and one alternate, representing their respective area of the state.

The  Jonesborough team, with Mike Willis, Joe Allison, Carol Salinas and alternate Nancy Weaver, breathed a collective sigh of relief when they were announced as the winner. 

Here’s a sample of the questions. Can you answer them?

• Name the aggressive, often hostile music genre played in the mid-1970s in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia. The songs are typically short, fast paced and hard edged.

• Name the only person to date who has served as both Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and president of the United States.

• What word describes the set of rules that guide the structure of statements in a computer language as well as the way words and phrases are arranged to create sentences in human languages.

• What year and what city did Jesse Owens win four Olympic gold medals in track and field.

• It hit store shelves in the mid-1960s, it’s name evolved from King’s Footsie to Pretzel before taking on the name as we know it now. Retailers were reluctant to stock it, considering it too risque until Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor demonstrated it on The Tonight Show on May 3, 1966.

The three other teams that competed Tuesday were the Chester County Challengers, SoKnox Scholars and the Smith County Whippersnappers. Behind Jonesborough, which finished with 131 points, second place went to Chester County with 130 points went to the Knoxville seniors with 120 points, and fourth to Smith County with 66 points. There were a total of 150 possible points in the competition.

The answers to the questions above?

• Punk

• William Howard Taft

• Syntax

• 1936 in Berlin

• Twister

Jim Shulman, executive director for the Commission on Aging and Disability, said he plans to challenge other states to develop a Brain Games program and compete against the Jonesborough team next year. Currently, Tennessee is the only state to have a statewide Brain Games competition.

Editor’s note: This article was corrected to reflect the correct second place and third place finisher.