So, my name is Tim Wagner, and I had the illustrious experience of finishing in third place in this episode. I'll share with you a couple of thoughts that were going through my head during that show.
First, my Daily Double wager: I assumed that being a daily double clue about the bible with a nominal value of $1000 that they'd pull out Rehoboam or Nebuchadnezzer or some other Old Testament character that I'd barely heard of, so I went small. Go back and look at your DVRs to see just how disappointed I am when I saw just how simple the clue was.
As for Final Jeopardy: I was one of the people who didn't even register that it was a clue about polar exploration. My thought process was basically, "hmmm... sounds manly and patriotic, and Teddy Roosevelt was president for part of 1909. I'll go with him and hope for the best." And when Alex said in his pre-reveal discussion that it had to do with the north pole, I knew I was sunk. When Brian risked nothing, my tiny, tiny hopes for backing into a win were gone. The thing is, even if I had figured out that it was a clue about the North Pole, I'm 95% sure that I would have put down Byrd and still been wrong. Basically, the only pathway for my victory in that game would have been to make it a runaway, and against that competition there's no way that was going to happen, especially with all three of us getting a Daily Double correct (I'm sure that one of you can tell me what color tie Alex was wearing the last time that happened). I knew four of the five Final Jeopardies that were used this week (yes, even the one about Joe Kennedy) but I didn't know the one that counted. Them's the breaks, I suppose.
Watching the rebroadcast, I had no idea just how close that game was while I was playing it. I only glanced at the score during commercials and Daily Doubles, so I had no idea that during Double Jeopardy the separation between first and third was often in the hundreds of dollars. I also didn't really realize until Friday just how stacked against my own strengths the Double Jeopardy board was. To have an art and a literature and a royalty category together really hurt me and really helped Linda (not to take anything away from her performance otherwise. She was just plain solid.)
Still, it's far, far better to have been a contestant and lost than to not have been one at all. Those of you who have been on the show know that it's just so much fun being a part of it. What disappointed me most was not losing out on the money but instead not getting to come back the next day and play again. I had my shot, I came *this close* to being a champion, and now it's someone else's turn. That's okay. Now I've got a story to tell for the rest of my life, and I've got a fun new nemesis in Robert Peary.
I had two goals when I arrived in LA: first, to not embarass myself; and second, to have fun. I accomplished both of those goals in spades.