The (Most) American Bible Challenge (Ever)
By: Princess America
Come watch the first episode with us!
CRG is hosting a PUBLIC Viewing Party at Raleigh Brewing (3709 Neil St) at 7:30pm on June 5th to watch the first episode. JOIN US FOR games, prizes, and BEER! And Food Truck services by Chai’s Global St. Food.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who have experienced Game Show Network’s hit original game show, The American Bible Challenge? Hosted by the incomparable Jeff Foxworthy? Also starring the legendary gospel musician Kirk Franklin and his spirited choir? On which winning teams make money for a charity of their choice? Not ringing a bell? Sound like something you would NEVER watch? You’re not alone, I had never heard of it either, and honestly it sounded a little suspect. But that didn’t stop me from jumping at the chance to be a part of it when the opportunity arrived. Here is the story of how it all happened.
Back in September 2013. I received an email which contained a very interesting, very decent proposal. Were there any Carolina Rollergirls who might be interested in trying out for a bible trivia game show? My heart skipped a beat. This was the opportunity I had always dreamed of: a chance to flaunt my encyclopedic knowledge of the bible AND hit it big in Hollywood. It was a no-brainer. I had to be a part of this!
Thankfully there were several other biblical scholars on the Carolina Rollergirls. A team of three was assembled, as per the requirements of the show. We had Mischief Managed, former Baptist missionary-in-training, Zella Lugosi, a long-time churchgoer and bible-study attendee, and yours truly, the most American, most Bible-y (and possibly most Challenged) one of all. Our team was also charged with selecting a charity to which we would donate our winnings if we were selected for, and won money on, the show. Mischief suggested Donate Life NC , an organization which was close to her heart because she had donated a kidney to a stranger several years back. Wow. I racked my brain to think of something heroic I had done. I HAD cared for an HIV positive cat for the past fourteen years. But it was useless. There was no way Zella or I could compete with Mischief’s amazing story and charity, and it was easily decided that any potential winnings would go to Donate Life NC. We traveled to Charlotte for try-outs. After a lengthy written quiz and a screen test during which we were constantly reminded that we weren’t quite showing enough spirit, we were told that we’d hear something in the next few weeks and sent on our way.
Well a few weeks came and went. With each passing day I was forced to face the reality that this game-show business might not be part of “the Lord’s plan” for me. I’d have to find another way out of this one-horse town, and it might not be as glitzy as a bible game show. Why couldn’t I have shown more spirit at try-outs? Just as I was about to give up hope, our team was contacted by representatives of the show, informing us that they may be entertaining the possibility of considering the notion of having us as contestants on the American Bible Challenge. Hot dog! Now by that time Zella had summoned the good sense to back out of the whole thing on account of a new job, and Scaristotle joined the crew. Scari (as we like to call her) attended Catholic school K-12 and had a mind like a steel trap, so she seemed to be the perfect addition to our team.
Over the next few weeks we received countless emails reiterating that we just may actually be contestants on the American Bible Challenge. I needed to get serious and start hitting the book…the Good Book. As I studied the children’s bible my coworker lent me (pictures, large print, boiled-down stories…like CliffsNotes™ for the bible!), I began to realize that, despite being a regular churchgoer from an early age, I had retained little of what I had been taught over the years. Sure, I knew all of the parts of the bible about how much God loves me and how special I am, but most of the names, events, and other details eluded me. I had a lot to relearn, and not much time to do it in. Soon a crew came to film our team in Raleigh. For legal reasons I am not at liberty to discuss the details of that day, but I will say that we were once again asked to summon an inhuman amount of spirit in our on-camera interactions. If Jesus himself had been there that day, I believe they may have asked the man to give them “more spirit.”
Though we were consistently reminded that we were not a shoe-in for the show until we saw Jeff Foxworthy’s smiling face before us, it became apparent that our team might actually get “the green light.” As it happens with most of the weighty decisions I make in life, the questions started swirling in my mind only AFTER I had made the commitment to be a part of this thing. Would I be able to reconcile my genuine love of Jesus and the Bible with my mistrust of most modern expressions of religion? Did I really have the biblical knowledge I needed to compete on this show and be a valuable member of my team? Would the viewing audience be able to detect my massive crush on Jeff Foxworthy? And how many costume changes would I be allowed during an hour-long game show?
The day of departure arrived and it was time to pack my bags. Toothbrush? Check. Bible, children’s AND regular? Check. An assortment of fringed vests? Check! On the flight to Los Angeles my team diligently studied our bibles. Being a good Episcopalian I perused my New Revised Standard Version over cocktails, wondering when the pilot might announce that there were future celebrities on today’s flight. When we arrived in Los Angeles we were greeted by an ABC representative holding a sign emblazoned with our team name, The Pearly Skates. I checked “get greeted at the airport by a person holding a sign with my name on it” off my mental bucket list. We headed to our hotel and were given our itinerary for the next day.
Now, once again, for legal reasons I am not at liberty to discuss what occurred on the show. There were contracts. There was a craft services table (another check on the mental bucket list). There was hair and make-up. There was the glowing face of Jeff Foxworthy. There were production assistants, microphones, and a live studio audience. It was a swirl of noise, energy, and lights, and it was weird in the most fun kind of way.
After our time at the studio my teammates and I were able to explore Manhattan Beach, utilizing greater Los Angeles’ famously efficient public transportation system. We witnessed the lighting of the Manhattan Beach Pier christmas tree, took a nice walk on the beach, and ate at In N’ Out Burger. Most importantly I made the discovery that Trader Joe’s in California carries it’s own brand of liquor. As I carefully packed the liquor bottles away in my luggage, I reflected on what a special experience this had been. I had learned so much about myself, my teammates, and the bible. I had faced a new and potentially challenging situation with gusto. I had set the stage for my long overdue rise to stardom.
Mischief with the kidney doll that her donor's daughter made for her, and her "Donate Life" license plate.
For more information, tor register as a donor, or to donate to Donate Life North Carolina, visit DonateLifeNC.org
Story contributed by Princess America
Photos: Joshua Craig, Tyler Shaw