(Originally published March 22, 2012)

I am now the reigning “Jeopardy!” champion! Feels pretty good, I must say.

I’ve never considered myself a very competitive person, but “Jeopardy!” definitely brought out a streak in me. I remember standing there between Melanie and Greg before the game started, thinking both, “I like these people — what if they lose?” and “I WANT TO WIN!!!”

Watching last night’s game, I was surprised at how fast I was at the beginning. (To the person on Television Without Pity’s “Jeopardy!” board who noticed I was ringing in with my index finger, you have great powers of observation! When I was practicing for the show, I tried clicking with both my thumb and index finger and discovered the finger was faster.)

But, Greg caught up very well and beat me to the buzzer a lot in the “God Did It!” category. (Thanks to a lifetime of church, Sunday school and Bible study, plus four years at a Christian college, I knew anything Bible- or religion-related would be a wheelhouse, but I guess Free Will Baptists like Greg are just a little bit quicker than (recovering) evangelical “Presby-Anglicans” like me.) I was glad to get the Moses clue, as well as Noah on the rebound.

The “Home Ice” category was one of those ones where I thought I knew more than I actually did. I told Alex at the end that since TBF is from Detroit, I was glad I got the Red Wings clue correct. And TBF high-fived me when we saw it at the viewing party.

Greg was also able to find the Daily Doubles, something I should have tried harder to do. My style is more to try to run a whole category, rather than bounce around the board. Anyway, we wound up being tied going into the final, with Melanie trailing behind.

The “Jeopardy!” staff really drill it into your head not to bet to tie in FJ, the reasoning being that you wouldn’t want to play again against someone who’s already had the chance to get comfortable on the buzzer. Me, I just knew that if I bet everything, I’d freak out and wouldn’t be able to think of an answer! So I bet very conservatively, knowing that I’d at least beat Melanie if she doubled her score.

In the end, I was the only one who got FJ right — “death in 2010” and “not wanting to be famous” were all I needed.

Melanie was very gracious and congratulated me right away.

If you want to read the college newspaper articles I mentioned during my interview, this is the first one (with an awesomely bad photo), and this is my senior farewell.

On to tonight!

(Video from YouTube)