Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A chance to take a swing at Alex Trebek

I usually skip the "Keeping in Touch" notes that my alma mater mails out, because, honestly, who wants to keep in touch with anyone from their alma mater (or even anyone who uses the phrase "alma mater", for that matter)? Nevertheless, I opened an e-mail yesterday to find out that my old pal Bruce Lin (who is Chinese and thus no relation, though I did make him an honorary cousin) is going to be on Jeopardy! on July 14 (or, as any trivia buff has already shouted out, Bastille Day).

I met Bruce back in my last year of high school at the Reach for the Top provincial finals at the University of Western Ontario in London. Reach for the Top—or as my old Golden Words colleague Adrienne Hurst, whom I also met at the aforementioned provincial finals, used to call it, Geeks for the Top—is a Canadian quiz show played by teams of high school students. In fact, it used to be hosted by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who's a bit of a dick.

Back when my friend Tim went to Carleton University (aka "Last Chance U", thanks to its low admission standards), he told me he was once watching Jeopardy! in a common room with some other students, and Trebek was interviewing the contestants, one of whom turned out to be a recent university grad from Ottawa. "You didn't go to Carleton, did you?" Trebek (an alumnus of the University of Ottawa, Carleton's crosstown rival) asked in mock dismay.

"Oh, God no!" said the contestant.

"Whew! Good!" said Trebek.

"Hey!" said every Carleton student watching in the common room.

Anyway, getting back to the story, my team bonded immediately with Bruce's, and he might have even been with my teammate Barry when the latter pulled a fire alarm and forced the dormitory where the players were staying to be evacuated that night, just as I was becoming the first player in Reach for the Top history to actually score with a girl.* (I did okay in the actual games as well. Exactly as we'd done when I was in grade 9, my team cleaned up on the opening day, only to get slaughtered in the first game of the televised round the next morning and end up with a fifth-place finish. We weren't morning people.)

It was only a couple of months until I saw Bruce again. He spotted my name in the program during our commencement ceremonies at Queen's University and came over to say hello. Not long afterward, he rounded up me and John Colterman, whom we'd also met back at the provincial finals, to form the Queen's College Bowl club. To be precise, we resurrected the defunct Queen's College Bowl club. To be even more precise, they resurrected the defunct Queen's College Bowl club, while I did sweet fuck all. (Having recently discovered girls, I was pursuing that avenue of interest.)

I fell out of touch with those guys long ago, but I do know that John has actually already done Jeopardy!, becoming half of the first pair of victims to fall to 19-time champion David Madden last July. So now that Bruce is doing it too, I guess it's probably my turn next year. But until then, good luck, Cousin Bruce. Unless the show has already taped, of course, in which case any Jeopardy!-specific good-luck wishes are kind of pointless. In that case, good luck in life and whatever.

* This was, to be clear, not Adrienne, who is very pretty but also very wrathful. I don't want to besmirch her reputation. The last thing you want to do is piss off a Hurst. Her older brother Steve once literally scared the shit out of someone, which is a story in itself.


Blogger Valerie said...

I know John Colterman! And the Queens College Bowl lore... or at least what he was willing to share.

12/20/2006 05:07:00 PM  

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