HAFTR wins first round of ‘The Challenge’


Since the last article I wrote about our first appearance on MSG Varsity’s “The Challenge,” (“Getting ready for ‘The Challenge’” Jan. 3-9) several very positive things have happened.

The first was that our team from the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) won our first round of competition against Sanford Calhoun High School in Merrick. I was so surprised — not that my team won — but that I helped my team win by answering so many pop culture questions. I still say that it was pure coincidence that there were so many questions in my areas of expertise. I was so happy that when our team was getting on the bus, I was acting as if I had won the lottery. I was just really excited about our performance. However, we were not allowed to publicly say that we won.

When we got back to school the next morning, the students and faculty members were ecstatic that we were moving on to the next round. It just made me happier about the experience as a whole.

When the episode premiered on MSG Varsity on Channel 14 on Dec. 30, I was home sick with the flu, not wanting to do anything other than sleep. But, my parents told me that I needed to watch my “TV debut.” Although I was happy to be given the opportunity to participate, I wasn’t looking forward to actually watching it, since I felt that I may have embarrassed myself on TV. Even though everyone who was there told me that I did well, I’m the type of person who doesn’t believe something until I see if for myself.

As I was watching the episode, I was remembering all the things that the team was doing in between breaks. During commercial breaks, the judges reviewed the tape to see if there were any mistakes, and the host, Jared Cotter, recorded some commercials for the show. I also was trying to guess some of the answers. The ironic thing was that at home I was getting incorrect answers to the questions that I had guessed correctly on air! I guess it had to have been either adrenaline at the time, or I was so sick that I wasn’t able to remember the answer. Either way, it caused my brother to laugh at me and it made for a funny moment.

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