(Originally published March 23, 2012)

Thursday’s game was filmed right after lunch on my tape day. In the Sony cafeteria, I was still in shock from winning my first game and barely paid attention to what my salad tasted like.

The other contestants, Robert and I talked about Thomas Horn, the 2010 Kids Week winner who starred in the film adaptation of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer. (Incidentally, Foer is also coming to the Festival at Calvin! Yay!) You never know what might happen if you win on “Jeopardy!” (although I doubt my life will change that much).

Back in the green room, I prepared for the next game, against Nick and Nancy. Nick designs ad inserts for newspapers — I wanted to ask him about that but didn’t get the chance.

He turned out to be a beast on the buzzer in the first round. Maggie must have noticed I looked frustrated because she gave me a pep talk at the commercial break.

Double Jeopardy was pretty much a disaster. Sometimes “Jeopardy!” games just don’t go well, and this was one of those times. It was contagious — each triple stumper, particularly in the “Historians” category, seemed to build on top of the last one, like a snowball that rolls down a hill and gets larger and larger. I almost rang in on “Schlesinger” but hesitated because I wasn’t confident I could say it properly (I had already struggled to say “defibrillator”) and because I wasn’t sure if it was the Schlesingers or the Sulzbergers (who, it turns out, run The New York Times).

Final Jeopardy was almost a relief. State Nicknames — a good, reliable category. Somehow I was in the lead, and I decided to bet huge to try to beat Nick, who was in second place. (I was feeling a little reckless.)

We all got the final right: Missouri, the “Show Me” State (where I did my “copy editor boot camp” training for my Dow Jones News Fund internship, way back in 2003). But, since I made the biggest wager, I won again and broke the streak of one-day champions (something Alex mentioned at the start of the game).


During the post-game chat, Alex noticed Nick’s shoes, which had a fun design on them. Alex and I then somehow started talking about Christian Louboutins (the famous ridiculously expensive shoes with the red soles), and that amused me since I was wearing shoes from Payless to go with my dress, which Maggie complimented me on.

I should mention that even though I lived in New York state during the taping, I went with “originally from Baltimore” for my opening because I wasn’t sure if I would still be in New York when the shows aired — and as it turned out, I’m not. (Plus, I’m very proud of where I’m from.)

This week, it’s been fantastic to hear from so many people I had lost touch with: high school classmates, college friends, people from all the churches I’ve gone to.

And, believe it or not, I even got recognized today by a tour guide at Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home in Virginia).

Let’s hope tonight’s game goes better.