Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SorCom Review in Jeopardy?

Over the past several weeks, I had the pleasure of getting to know the DJ of the SorCom Review for our special edition of the magical blogorail.  Not only did I learn more about his radio show and family, but I learned that he is a Jeopardy Champion.  I don't think I've ever met anyone who's been on the show at all, so to meet someone who actually won?  Amazing.   I had to ask for the full story.  Curiosity killed the cat, right?  Meow 

Luckily, Eric was kind enough to share the story with me.  And, it was so awesome, I asked to share it with my readers!  Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

I'd been trying to get on to Jeopardy off and on for almost 20 years.  I'd send in postcards/letters first for the Teen Tournament, then the College Tournament, and then showing up for the testing events when they'd come nearby.
In 1992, I received an invitation to attend the College Tournament tryouts.  That year they were being held at Disney-MGM Studios (am I the only one who has trouble calling it Disney's Hollywood Studios?  I still want to say "Disney-MGM" when I'm not paying attention).  I flew down the day of the tryout, and the only solid food I had eaten until 9:00 p.m. that evening were two of the worst horrendous sausage biscuits I've ever had at the Atlanta airport.  Who knew hockey pucks were edible?  Well, come to think of it, dinner that night was at Denny's so that wasn't a whole lot of improvement.  Anyway, the rest of the day was spent downing various high-caffeine soft drinks approximately every 30 minutes.  I say that because it'll come into play later.
Anyway, I got to Disney-MGM, received my day pass, and proceeded straight to the tryout room -- the theatre that's at the end of The Magic of Disney Animation.  About 15 minutes or so I was yawning, so I went into the restroom and whipped out my travel packet of No-Doz.  Which went into a system already saturated with caffeine and low on solid food to absorb it.  Can you see it coming yet?  Yep, they took effect right as the test started.  I was wired for surround sound!  Imagine the Tigger sequences in all the Pooh movies spliced together and ran at 10-times speed.  That was me.  It was then that I found out that who should be presiding over that day's tryouts but Alex Trebek himself.  I passed the test (although when they called out my name you'd have thought my favorite team scored the winning touchdown) and got Trebek to sign my day pass.  I think I may have freaked him out though, as it seems the rest of the time he always had at least one person between the two of us.  Unfortunately I was so overstimulated by a combination of caffeine and nerves that I didn't do well in the practice rounds.  But I did get my first taste of the park and my first ride on Star Tours that day.
Fast forward to the fall of 2005.  The tryouts came through town, so naturally I tried out and passed the test again (I think I passed that infernal thing 4 out of 5 times).  During the practice rounds and interviews I did much better (having learned my over-stimulated lesson).  I'll never forget when one of the staff asked me what I'd do if I won a lot of money -- my response was three words: "Helloooooooooo Grand Floridian!"
Fast forward again to the spring of 2006.  I received a call from a member of the Jeopardy staff inviting me out to California as a contestant on the show.  I was calm and collected during the phone call, but after I hung up it finally sunk in and all three of us were bouncing like gazelles through the house!  I of course was bouncing because I finally received "the call" and my wife/son were bouncing because they knew we'd HAVE to visit Disneyland while we were out there!
We made our plans and finally the trip arrived.  Unfortunately they didn't allow children under 8 in the studio audience, so I had to fly solo while my wife/son stayed in the hotel.  When my turn came to be on the show, I bowed my head during the first commercial break and said "Lord, you know how long I've tried to get on the show.  I don't want to ask for much, but please give me ONE day.  Just so I can say years from now that I am a former Jeopardy champion.  I don't care what happens after that."  Then at the start of Double Jeopardy, they revealed the categories for the round and first on the list was "Disney Film Voices."  I kid you not -- there was actually a Disney category!  I was SO glad the camera wasn't on me as the grin on my face would probably have put the Cheshire Cat to shame.
Long story short, I got exactly what I asked for by winning the first day and crashing/burning on the second.  The bouncing continued when I got back to the hotel room and my wife noticed that I had changed clothes and therefore lasted more than a single day.  Of course I couldn't blab to the public about how I did until after the episode aired, but we spent the next three days at Disneyland and I don't know that my feet ever touched the ground.  It's hard to make a first-time trip to Disneyland even more magical than it normally would be, but I'm here to tell you that knowing you're walking around as a Jeopardy champion will do it.
Oh, and there was another contestant from that week (though since he won a couple days I should say "fellow champion") who told Trebek during the interview segment that he carries his wife across Italy every year.  Trebek asked "so you take her to Italy?"  He replied with a smile.  "No, I physically carry her on my back.  You know, at Epcot."  If you turn up the audio during that episode you can hear a solitary laugh from the audience.  That would have been me; I think I was the only one who got it.
What an awesome story, don't you think?  I'll make sure to pass any comments along, but you can also tweet at me @disneybabiesblg or Eric @SorComReview


  1. Now y'all know what she meant when she said I was a rambler. :)

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share this with everyone Jenn! Being on the show was a once-in-a-lifetime experience (literally as I can't try out for it anymore) that I'll remember forever and I'm honored that you posted it here. Love this blog -- keep up the great work!

  2. So cool of Eric to share... I love Jeopardy. My kids even hum the theme song when they know I am trying to make a decision. Maybe I watch too much.

  3. How awesome! Can I now say I also (indirectly) know someone who's been on Jeopardy... and won!?! Congrats, Eric! So, do tell, how many of the Disney questions did you answer?