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By Ted Michaels, CFL Editor - Archive - Email
One for the O-Line
Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - Ask any offensive lineman, in any football league, and they'll all say the same thing: They're the smartest players on the team.

There's no doubt about that now.

Last month, Hamilton Tiger-Cat offensive guard Peter Dyakowski, earned the title of Canada's smartest person after dominating a demanding gauntlet of intelligence tests on CBC's two-hour special, 'Canada's Smartest Person.'

Dyakowski's competition on the TV special included high school science teacher, Dr. Marshall Carroll; 23-year-old student and gamer, Laura Suen; and spoken word poet, Greg Frankson.

Each participant completed a series of fun and spectacular challenges aimed at testing six areas of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences: linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical and interpersonal.

Dyakowski, who will suit up for his sixth season with the Tiger-Cats in 2012 after being named the team's Most Outstanding Lineman last year, was the first Canadian-born athlete to sign a scholarship with Louisiana State University.

Highlights of his appearance included a remarkable impromptu valedictorian speech that earned him the top score from one guest judge, the highest scoring performance in the show's mathematical challenge and a dramatic come-from- behind win during the show's final challenge.

The Vancouver native told AM900 CHML News, having the studio audience calling his name and applauding him was something he wasn't used to.

"Playing offensive line, we're rather anonymous on the field, so it was pretty novel," he laughed.

The 6-foot-5, 325-pounder pointed out a member of the Tiger-Cats organization came up with the idea for him to apply.

"I did a game show on the CBC two years ago, called 'Test the Nation' and I did pretty well," said Dyakowski. "Scott McNaughton, (Tiger-Cats director of communications) put the bug in my ear that this program was taking open applications from across the country. He told me I should apply, and I thought this could be a lot of fun. I threw my hat in the ring and quickly found out it was more than I had expected. "

Drawing on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, show producers used interviews and tests to narrow the field to four participants with well- rounded intelligence profiles.

Dyakowski admitted he was a little surprised that the show wasn't your standard run-of-the-mill question and answer type.

"Math and sciences were only one corner of it," he explained. "We had to dress models, we had to stack cups, we had to listen to music. The day before the event, we had an orientation, so we had a brief introduction into how to use the ipad (to answer questions) so I had a glimpse into what the categories were, but that's it."

In the Tiger-Cat locker room, Dyakowski is looked upon by his teammates as a fountain of knowledge, and members of the media look to him as their "go-to guy" after a game, for an intelligent dissection of the game that just took place. Dyakowski, who took the Mensa test in high school, and passed, wasn't sure if his smarts would help him in the show.

"There was no trivia aspect to it at all, so there wasn't a regurgitation of facts," Dyakowski said. "It was all evaluation and identification. I was always strong in math, so that's one thing I was worried about the most. I wasn't sure if I could have held it together and perform under pressure, but I ended up getting on a roll and getting some confidence."

Despite playing for LSU in the pressure-cooker that is SEC football, and participating in numerous regular season and playoff games in the CFL, he acknowledged he was more than a little nervous.

"I definitely had some butterflies. I slept about two hours the night before, and usually, when my head hits the pillow, I'm asleep. My whole line of thinking going into it was, I didn't want to fall flat on my face. I wanted to win at least one category, so I didn't embarrass myself. As it turns out, I won the first category, and that got any nerves out of the way."

He also knows that locker room humor can be merciless. And he knows exactly what will happen this season.

"I would suggest they'll shake my hand, congratulate me and that'll be it. I'm thinking the first film session after the first game, when I make a mistake, I'm going to hear about it non-stop."

One would suggest, he will have a witty answer in response.

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.

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