For the last couple of years, I’ve been taking the on-line Jeopardy! Challenge, hoping to get a chance to try out for the show and fulfill this item on my bucket list. Each time, I am reminded of how little I know (or can remember within the 15-second time limit).
The last on-line test was held some three months ago. I had already put the outcome out of my mind when I found an email in my Inbox with the header, “Jeopardy! Contestant Audition in San Francisco on July 11th at 2pm.”
My first reaction was to suspect a hoax – not such an outlandish thought in this era of scams, hacks and phishing. But it was the real thing.
On Tuesday, July 10th, my husband and I loaded our luggage and our Australian Cobberdog into the car for the drive to San Francisco. We booked into The Lodge at the Presidio, a brand, spanking new dog-friendly inn located in what is described as an Urban National Park. Our room looked out on the Golden Gate Bridge.
The next day, I boarded a free PresidiGo shuttle bus, which dropped me a brisk five-minute walk from the audition venue in downtown San Francisco. I had time to kill, and spent most of it strolling up and down Market Street, soaking in the city’s sights, traffic and noise. Quite a change from tranquil Carmel-by-the-Sea! I used the rest of the time to fortify myself with brain food – a Ghirardelli Hot Fudge Sundae – in advance of the audition.
Upon arriving at the audition venue, I found myself to be one of about 40 hopeful candidates. After the Jeopardy! team took attendance and photographed each one of us, they divided us into two groups of 20 and shepherded us into separate conference rooms, where we were greeted (via a video presentation) by Alex Trebek.
The first phase of the audition was the most nerve-wracking, consisting of a 50-item quiz. Each clue was flashed onto a screen at the front of the room, and we had eight – count ’em, EIGHT – seconds to scribble down each answer. At least we didn’t have to phrase them in the form of a question.
The other part of the audition consisted of a series of mock Jeopardy! games. We were invited to the front of the room in groups of three. We each were given a signalling device and told to ‘ring in’ just as if we were on TV. After we survived the answer-and-question experience, we were each given a couple of minutes to talk about ourselves.
The entire audition lasted more than two hours. It has taken me two days to decompress.
You are probably wondering how I did. Whether I made the cut. The short answer is that I can’t tell you, because I don’t know. I won’t find out whether I made it into the final contestant pool until (unless) I get “THE CALL” – the phone call inviting me to appear on the show.
On the plus side, I walked away with some minor swag – a Jeopardy! ballpoint pen and a set of Jeopardy! ear buds – and a fun story to share with family and friends.