This Tuesday, March 21, marks five years since my first “Jeopardy!” episode aired.
At the time, I had only lived in the D.C. area for a couple of months, was still getting used to my new job and was excited for my family and friends to see how I did.
Today, I’ve got the same job, many more great friends (thanks in large part to my church) and still like living here, despite all the political and other upheaval.
I don’t usually bring up “Jeopardy!” when I meet someone for the first time. Often, they can figure it out by looking at my Facebook profile picture, which is still the one of me with Alex Trebek (although, as you can see above, I now have shorter hair and different glasses). But I’m still happy to talk about the experience.
One of the biggest upsides from being a contestant was getting to join a cool community of other smart, trivia-minded people — many of whom have been on “Jeopardy!” and other game shows, but some of whom haven’t. Whether I see them in person when we get together for bar trivia in D.C., Virginia or Maryland, or whether I only know them through several Facebook groups, I’m grateful to have people who can relate to this particular aspect of my life. Even when tragic things happen, such as the untimely death of six-time “Jeopardy!” champion Cindy Stowell last year, it’s comforting and inspiring to see the community rally to show support.
Another benefit for me was getting involved with the National History Bee & Bowl and the US Academic Bee & Bowl, started by 19-time “Jeopardy!” champion David Madden. I’ve been a reader and scorekeeper at two tournaments so far, and I love interacting with the middle and high school students who compete and seeing how much they know (and finding out what I should learn about). I hope some of them make it to “Jeopardy!” someday.
People often ask me if I want to be on another TV game show. My answer is no — although I would love to try NPR’s “Ask Me Another,” since I think its questions are pretty similar to the ones on “Jeopardy!” But otherwise, I’m content — thankful for the totally undeserved opportunity I believe God gave me five years ago and what I was able to do with the money and exposure it provided. I look forward to seeing what else comes of my three days of fame in the future.
(P.S.: I am attending the American Copy Editors Society’s annual convention this week in St. Petersburg, Fla. It’s my first time at ACES, and if you’ll be there, I’d love to meet you!)