Imagine a television studio filled with football players, coaches, sportscasters and more than 30 high school cheerleaders, all doing what they do best. Being big, if they're players; gruff, if they're coaches; smiling, if they're cheerleaders.
Turn one way and there's an incredible hulk looming. Turn the other way and there's a smile bright enough to blind. And any way you turn, you're sneezing: Pompons give off a lot of dust.
All that heft and enthusiasm didn't descend on the WRC studio of "It's Academic" last night simply to overwhelm the audience. They were there to raise money for Children's Hospital by participating in a battle that pitted Redskins Mark Murphy, Mark Moseley and Rick Walker against coaches Joe Gibbs, Charley Taylor, Torgy Torgeson, and WRC sportscasters George Michael, Scott Clark and Mike Stone.
The subject, sports trivia, was not exactly academic, but no one was quibbling. And even if some of the more seemingly arcane questions at first drew quizzical looks ("The song is 'Party Town.' The voice of which American tennis player is heard in the background?" Confusion. "He placed first this year in the men's singles at Wimbledon." Oh.), everyone carried the ball for a first down. By the end of the evening, the trivia masters had raised $2,300.
Alvin Miller, vice president for advertising and sales promotion at Giant Food, the show's sponsor, had obviously overestimated the trivia expertise of the participants when he made out the check for $3,000 before the evening began. But he presented the check to Jack Ritchie, director of Children's Hospital, with a flourish in keeping with the general air of slightly bewildered enthusiasm.
"I didn't know what I was getting into until I got here," said Moseley, last season's NFL Player of the Year, before the taping began. "My wife arranged the whole thing."
Is he a trivia buff? "No."
Was the pinpoint field-goal kicker nervous about the upcoming video confrontation? "You better believe it!" shouted Megan Moseley, his 6-year-old daughter.
Whether he was nervous or not, Moseley managed to lead his team to a victory.
The evening began with a little rivalry between the players and the broadcasters. During the pre-game voice check, Walker bypassed the traditional "one, two, three" and said into the microphone on his tie, "George Michael has a new diamond ring."
"A ring which is one-third the size of that owned by Dr. Rick Walker," Michael rejoined.
Last night's taping doesn't air until Sept. 3, two days before the Redskins play dread Dallas, and the cheerleaders seemed a little disappointed they would have to wait so long to see themselves on TV. The players seemed content to wait.