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Saturday, August 17, 2019

What is the Berlin Wall? I went on Sports Jeopardy! and here’s how it went

Sports Jeopardy!

As many of you know, I filmed an episode of “Sports Jeopardy!” back in May. I wrote about the experience here on LBS and said at the time that I wasn’t able to reveal any details from the show.

Well, now that the show has finally aired, it’s time for you to watch and see how I did!

Here is the link to watch the show. All of my commentary is below!

First off, when I tried out for the show, they told us to celebrate if we got called as someone who passed the written test. When they called out my name, I did the whole finger guns celebration, so of course I was going to use that during the introductions.

When the categories first came out, I instantly began thinking of potential answers. For instance, I figured that in the “Throwing the Olympics” category, there would probably be a javelin, hammer throw and/or discus question, as well as a baseball or softball question. I also liked the spelling category because as a writer, I have to spell a lot of sports names, and I pride myself on being really good at it.

Mike got to pick first and went with college fight songs. When I saw “blue” and “cougars,” I instantly thought BYU and buzzed in. It was nice to get that first one out of the way.

Then I went to number of players on the team. Maybe I didn’t want to tip off how good of a speller I was and save it for later? I’m not sure what my logic was.

Anyway, soccer was easy, but Jelani beat me on the buzzer. Then he got the volleyball Daily Double. I knew that answer in two seconds; I was surprised he didn’t since it seemed easy, but maybe that was because I had played some recreational volleyball.

I really did not know the CFL question, but with time might have guessed 12.

Ultimate frisbee! My buddy Peter will never forgive me for missing that! Just another reason why it pays to try playing all sorts of different sports!

Let me assist you category – I figured it was either hockey or basketball assists. It turned out to be strictly hockey questions, and I knew all of them, but I was beat on the buzzer for the first three. Luckily I don’t think the other two knew the 1000 point question so I was able to ring in.

Mario Lemieux — too easy.

I tried to ring in to spell Dikembe but got beat to it. I thought for sure Mike had it, but when he missed the last letter, I swooped in.

Again, I tried to buzz in but was beat by Jelani on Isiah Thomas.

I’m not sure if anyone buzzed in for Jhonny Peralta, but I was happy I got in on that. No hesitation. Ugueth Urbina was slightly more difficult, but I was confident I knew that as well.

I tell you, getting the crowd applause for sweeping the category was pretty dang awesome.

****Note to self: loosen up — why so serious?*****

Back to Let Me Assist You – the Gordie Howe was a dead giveaway for the Red Wings.

Theo Fleury was one of my favorite players growing up. I knew that Flames question all day, every day! As you can see, I was ticked that I got beat on the buzzer! Three times in a row on that category!

Mr. Plumlee and Mr. Green was a really confusing clue that threw us all off because they talked about the names being out of a “Clue” game, but then the answer was just Luis Scola. That was a poor clue and, really, that entire category was difficult.

The next one was the Corey Brewer question and my instinct was to say the Timberwolves, however, I did not buzz in. When the answer turned out to be the T-Wolves, I was upset with myself for letting one go and then vowed to buzz in from then on when I thought I was right and just trust my instinct since my first response was generally correct. That haunted me in Double Jeopardy!

No lie — I forgot about Nerlens Noel since he had been out for a year.

Ivy League – Lions – Columbia — too easy.

How obscure was that question? I even wrote about the Rondo trade here at LBS and still didn’t remember Jameer Nelson was part of it. Want to know why? Because he was so insignificant they traded him shortly thereafter.

I spent a lot of time studying NHL trivia the night before the taping. It was a good thing, because it paid off big time on that Gretzky/Messier Oilers question!

When I was prepping for my episode, I encountered that Texas fight song question. And guess what? I made the same mistake as Mike and thought Oklahoma State was the answer! When the question came up again and I heard “orange” and “Big 12,” my first thought again was Oklahoma State! So when he got it wrong, I didn’t even scroll through other Big 12 schools in my head and try to figure out the other team because I was still in shock that it was wrong. Can you believe I made the same mistake twice?!

I was pretty sure it was Notre Dame, but not 100 percent sure and didn’t ring in fast enough for that one.

So Throwing the Olympics — you can tell we didn’t want a piece of it.

On the first question, clearly the Thor part gave it away. This was another question that I encountered when practicing for the show. Good thing I knew Thor and had already been brainstorming potential answers for the category.

The Olympics baseball question I out-thought myself. I knew Australia had won a silver medal in baseball around those Olympics and thought it was a tough/trick question that few would know, so I said them even though they’re more a continent despite technically being an island. For those of you laughing at me for saying Australia instead of Cuba, take note: the Aussies won the silver in baseball in the 2004 Summer Games, not 2000, so I wasn’t far off.

I thought for sure one of these questions would be softball and that they would probably pick Finch, who is the most prominent softball player. I just didn’t think it would be so simple as showing her picture; I was hoping they would give stats about her career at Arizona or something. Make it harder! Anyway, Jelani once again beat me on the buzzer as he seemed to do every time!

And Al Oerter? Al Oerter? Unless I was born in the ’40s like my pops, how do you expect me to know that question?!?

After the first round, I felt pretty good about leading in points but knew with the point totals doubling, my lead really didn’t mean much. Still, it was cool to go into Double Jeopardy with 4,000 compared to my counterparts, who were in triple digits.

OK, so I was just praying I would get a boxing and/or tennis category on my show. They usually do at least one obscure sports category per show. Please give me tennis or boxing, please give me tennis or boxing!

Of. Course. We get Olympics and Formula 1 Racing. Ughhhh. Whyyyyy? Whyyyy????? Formula Effing One?!?! You couldn’t have picked a worse possible category for me. And Mountains? WTF?!

At least we got movies and NFL QBs, thank god. Then with “Y’s” guys, I started thinking of potential answers too.

Apparently we all had seen “Moneyball” and knew Art Howe. Getting in first on that buzzer was hard. I was beat. Jelani was always beating me on the buzzer! I wonder what his secret was.

The second questions usually were easy and not tricks, so when I saw “South Carolina coach,” the first thing I thought was Spurrier, but as soon as I got it wrong I realized it was Lou Holtz. Man, I really wished I had watched “The Blind Side” recently to have my memory refreshed. That 1000-point loss hurt.

The “Foxcatcher” question. OK, so here’s something about me: I love movies and I particularly love not knowing anything — ANYTHING — about them before going to see them. I try to avoid trailers, teasers and any info possible on them. Two friends had talked about “Foxcatcher” and got me really interested in seeing it. I was intrigued and really wanted to know what it was about, but I resisted looking it up. Boy how I wish I did! My movie watching habits cost me on Sports Jeopardy! Who would have figured that?!

That “Draft Day” question was so easy. I can’t believe it was for 2000 points! Mike beat me on the buzzer there.

OK, I was shocked I was first in on the Mariota question. It was so easy I figured for sure someone else would beat me to it. Maybe the island part of the clue threw people off. I’ll take it.

And Dan Marino as a 1000-point question? Are you kidding? That was so easy. Of course Jelani beat me on the buzzer. Every damn time.

It’s not just a matter of knowing the clues; there were plenty where two or all three of us knew them. Winning the buzzer is the other, tougher half of the battle.

I knew Troy Williamson because I thought the Vikings royally screwed up that pick. That was the giveaway for me on that Aaron Rodgers question.

So I hit the Daily Double. I had 5,000 points and my competitors had 3,000 and 1,750. I felt really good about the category but there were two issues. One, in my training, a lot of the Daily Double questions were difficult, even when they came in categories I knew (e.g. baseball). So I decided prior to the show that if I hit a Daily Double, I would only wager 2,000, that way I wouldn’t be out of it if I missed. Same with this situation — I didn’t want to wager all 5000 and have my whole body of work undone by one wrong answer.

Seriously, that question seemed very easy for a 2,000 point one. Then that big smile you saw? That was when I read the part about the sacks. My friends and I used to joke about how many sacks he took. Even when he went to the New York Giants, he took soooooo many more sacks than Eli Manning. We finally realized it was a David Carr problem, not an offensive line issue, so, yeah, the sacks part really rang true for me.

OK, this Baseball Hall of Fame question was another one I came across during my training for the show. And guess what? I guessed Yaz on it too! Made the same mistake TWICE for the SECOND time in the show! Ughhhh.

And then of course Yaz is the answer to the next question, and you could tell I was furious that I gave away the answer and on top of that, Mike beat me on the buzzer. Guy knew his Red Sox.

I guess I was too young for Yary and seriously, I’ve never heard of George Yardley.

Canadian-born MVP – knew it was Larry Walker. Mike didn’t buzz in for that one. I’m not sure if Jelani knew it.

Tulo was so obvious I’m surprised it wasn’t a trick question. That and Mariota are the only clues where I felt like I beat my competitors on the buzzer, finally.

So the Rockies manager question, I should have just let it go. This is where it started going downhill for me. I also thought the clue was poor — who knows Don Baylor’s nickname? Had they said something about being hit by pitches or breaking his leg catching a ceremonial first pitch, I would have known it for sure. But where did I get Lachemann from? Rene Lachemann was the first ever manager for the MARLINS, who entered the league in the same year as the Rockies in 1993, and that’s the connection my brain made. I wasn’t too far off on that one.

I thought it was Papelbon but didn’t know it off the top of my head. Credit to Mike for nailing that one.

Alpine skiing was another one I encountered in practice. Just like hammer throw, I got this right both times too.

If this question were written instead of oral, I would have gotten the World’s Strongest Man. It took me a second to hear what they were asking for. I guess I process things better reading than hearing.

Half Dome in Yosemite. Why oh why didn’t I just let this and the Rockies manager question go? I took a risk and missed. Half Dome was the first thing that popped into my mind for Yosemite. I knew it was a popular peak there. Dang. Wish I had this one back.

Missing two 1500-point clues in a row really killed me. I pretty much hung up my buzzer for the rest of the show just because I didn’t want to miss any more.

The name of the category was “Mountains” and he didn’t know Kennesaw Mountain Landis? Yeesh. Maybe I knew it from reading “Eight Men Out” back in the day. Turns out I knew the answer to all three Daily Double questions. It’s too bad I didn’t land on the other two.

Yup, I just put my buzzer away for F1. I knew the Monaco question and had encountered that in my training too, but I was gunshy after missing two 1500 point questions. I probably wouldn’t have beaten Jelani on the buzzer anyway since he always seemed to get me.

Unique olympic medalists!?!?! Are you kidding me? First Olympic throwers, then F1 racing and mountains, and now I get Olympic medalists for Final Jeopardy!? Why did they do that to me?!

Based on my knowledge of the subject, I probably would have just wagered 2000 of my 5500 points. But here was my thinking: first place gets $5,000, while second gets $2,000 and third gets $1,000 in prize money. I figured if I risked 2000 and missed, I could still come in second and get the $2,000. BUT … in the chance I knew the question and got it right and then lost because I didn’t wager enough, I knew would have been kicking myself for being too chicken s—! So I decided to play to win and go for that $5,000.

Here was my thought process on the final question.

My first thought was “when was the last time Germany hosted the Olympics?” so I wrote down 1972 for Munich. But then I re-read the question (you can see me look back up again) and then I realize what they’re really asking is “when did the Berlin Wall collapse?” I knew it was the late ’80s. I just wasn’t sure if it was in ’87, ’88, or ’89. I thought it was around ’88 and that maybe this was a trick question. For instance, the Olympics were held in ’88, but let’s say the wall collapsed like in March of ’88 and the wall went down in June of ’88. I wrote 1984 to play safer. I knew it was either ’84 or ’88. And then just as the time was ticking down, I remembered knowing that tennis players Boris Becker and Steffi Graf were from West Germany. So then I realized if I recalled seeing their countries as West Germany when reading tennis draws, I would have had to have been at least five years old, which would place the year at 1989, which would have meant the wall was still up through ’88 and … shoot, by the time I had put that together, the music ran out, and it was too late to change to ’88, and you could see I was so upset.

This was really a history question and not a sports question, which was unfortunate. Seriously, I have a lot of smart people in my family who know their sports and history, and the only person who got that answer correct was my sister. She knows the least about sports of everyone, but she teaches high school history. What does that tell you about the question? I still should have gotten it, but that really did not belong on Sports Jeopardy!

Clearly Mike, a history teacher, knew it right away. Congratulations to him on getting it right.

At least I didn’t put biathlon.

Man, I may never get over missing that question. My two biggest mistakes were getting 1984 instead of 1988, and then not risking more on Double Jeopardy. My goal was to have more than double my opponents’ points entering Final Jeopardy so that it wouldn’t matter whether I got the answer right or wrong. Had I risked all my points on my Daily Double, I probably would have doubled my opponents before Final Jeopardy. But I had my strategy and stuck to it. Oh well.

It was still a lot of fun and I feel like I put in a good showing. Tell me in the comments — how did you do when playing at home? Did you get the final clue?



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