'Jeopardy!' reign was brief but fun

sshive@herald-leader.comDecember 31, 2008 

  • ON TV


    The show airs at 7:30 p.m. weekdays on WKYT (Channel 27).


    If you're interested in trying out, the online tests for adults are scheduled for Jan. 27 to 29 and one for Kids Week will be Jan. 13, according to Jeopardy! contestant coordinator Maggie Speak. Go to www.jeopardy.com for details and to register. Speak said there are no Brain Bus events scheduled for the Lexington area.

My reign as a Jeopardy! champion was quick. After taking down a six-day champion on Tuesday's game, I lost in my second episode, which aired Wednesday.

I played against two incredibly tough competitors, Brian and Shyra, and frankly, I wasn't on my game. I might have been still on the natural high of winning my first match. Because Jeopardy! tapes five shows a day, my first game had ended just 10 minutes or so before the second game started.

I wasn't quick on the buzzer for the entire game — Brian commanded the board most of the time — and then when Final Jeopardy rolled around, I had a fleeting confidence in the category, "Advertising Icons," but the question completely baffled me. Paraphrased, the clue was, "In Spanish-speaking countries, this character is called Pron-tito."

I wrote down "Quick" as a last-ditch effort because I knew the root of the Spanish word meant fast. After I wrote my answer, I actually hoped that maybe the question was referring to that rabbit who advertises Nestlé Quik and that maybe his name was "Quick." No such luck. The answer was Speedy, the Alka-Seltzer icon. I had no idea Alka-Seltzer even had a mascot.

In third place with $9,000, I had wagered $4,500. To my surprise, Brian, who was in first place, also missed the question. Shyra, who had been in second place, got the correct answer and won the game.

During our chat with host Alex Trebek during the end credits, he told us that we had played well and that our high scores indicated that we were "masters" of the game. Not a bad compliment! (He also told us that he was ending a diet and would be having a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.)

Even so, it was a disappointing ending to such an incredible experience. But then again, with its contemporary rules, every Jeopardy! champion loses at some point. My loss just came sooner than I would have liked.

Still, I have the incredible experience of having been a champ on "America's Favorite Quiz Show," a distinction I'll always carry. And as the pile of e-mails, voicemails and text messages and even a fan club on Facebook attest, I have been showered with an unimaginable amount of support and love from friends and family far and wide. That's worth more than anything I ever could have won on a game show.

Reach assistant features editor Scott Shive at (859) 231-1412 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1412.

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