My mother-in-law had a long-standing dream to be on Jeopardy. Well, that might be a little much, it wasn't her life's goal or anything, lets say she really wanted to be on the show (like the rest of us imagine doing), but she actually did something about it. She tried out and she qualified. The first time ten or so years ago, but she never got the call. She re-qualified last year and early this year she got a call and was invited to L.A. to be on the show. Tonight was the big night. Her Jeopardy appearance aired nationwide. Unfortunately for her, she ran into a buzzsaw named Ken Jennings...
It must be nerve-racking enough to finally make it onto the show, be on television and everything else, but to have to face the Randy Johnson of Trivia in your first at-bat? Yikes.
They taped these shows in March, and all Lucinda would reveal was that she didn't win, but she came in second to a guy who at the time of her taping had won 23 games in a row. She kept it close for a while, actually reaching a respectable total in the $4000 range before Ken started running away with it. Lucinda and the third contestant were forced to guess wildly at times to try and catch up and paid a heavy price. Ken got both Daily Doubles, the other guy guessed himself into a $3800 hole, and Lucinda matched up one on one with Ken for Final Jeopardy down about $19,000. Amazingly Ken did not know the answer, but neither did Lucinda and it was too late anyhow. Ken advanced, adding another twenty grand to his ridiculous $750,000 in winnings to this point.
The National Review Online of all places has an over-the-top story on Jennings (link via Baseball Crank) saying he's better than Jordan, Gretzky and Bobby Fischer. That is absolutely ridiculous. He's merely the first dominant guy to show up after they abolished the 5-game limit. I doubt he'll end up being the greatest guy ever to play a trivia game, but for my mother-in-law, I suppose, there is pride in coming in second to the guy the NRO says put on the most dominant performance since Secretariat.