Marty Asalone sat nervously in his chair on the set of ESPN’s “Stump the Schwab” as he waited for the trivia gameshow to begin.
To his right sat two anxious contestants.
Across the room sat Howie Schwab, an ESPN researcher more commonly known as “the Schwab.”
A half-hour later, Asalone, a junior broadcasting, telecommunications and mass media major, had stumped the Schwab and advanced to the semifinal round.
“I wasn’t intimidated,” Asalone said. “I was just nervous because I would have to come back and tell everyone I didn’t win.”
The gameshow, which aired at 7 p.m. Friday night on ESPN Classic, features three rounds – an opening round entitled “Leading Off,” a second round utilizing one of numerous competitions and a final round known as “The Schwab Showdown.” The contestant owning the lowest score at the conclusion of each round is booted from the game.
Asalone, a Saint Mary’s, Pa., native, finished third of four players in “Leading Off,” a game where the Schwab and each contestant takes turns listing answers to lists such as “Members of the 2005 Chicago White Sox.”
Then, Asalone faced off against the remaining contestant in the second round for $1,000 and the right to face the Schwab in “The Schwab Showdown.” After several questions, the two contestants were deadlocked in a tie. Asalone won a tie-breaker about the 2002 San Diego Padres’ pitching staff. It was on to the Schwab, where Asalone could double his money by stumping the expert.
To do this, Asalone said he needed luck with the four random trivia categories used in the final round.
“If you would give me a question on bowling, the Schwab would beat me,” Asalone said. “But if you gave me college football, I would have a shot. I still didn’t think I would do it.”
“The Schwab Showdown” features a total of 12 questions from four different categories. Each category has a one-, two- and three-point question.
A wrong answer earns a strike. Three strikes and you’re out. If all 12 questions are answered before three strikes are accumulated, the player with the most points wins.
Asalone and the Schwab correctly answered a combined five questions before Asalone gave an intriguing response to the question “Which team did the United States beat in the 2002 World Cup elimination round?”
“This is a guess,” Asalone told show host Stuart Scott. “I’m gonna say Mexico.”
Scott nodded that he was correct.
Sensing a potential weakness, the Schwab again chose the soccer category for Asalone two questions later. If Asalone answered the three-point question correctly, he would take the lead.
“That was a good move on his part,” Asalone said of the Schwab’s strategy.
Three questions later, the Schwab stumbled on a queary about Canadian baseball players, earning a strike. Asalone then missed a question about basketball star Gary Payton, but all the questions had been asked. Asalone thus won, stumping the Schwab 10-8, and advancing to the semifinals for a chance to win $5,000. The show will be aired Sept. 28.
John Kopp can be reached at email@example.com.