Game Nine Recap...  Brian Weikle

After escaping my semifinal, I sat down and tried to relax as I watched the
other semifinals. It's very different watching from behind the players.
I hadn't realized it before, but most people ring in with their entire body.
The calm face you see on TV hides a lot of clenching, twisting, jerking muscles. Interesting.

There were some surprises in the semifinals, which I don't need to go over again here. Suffice it to say that my blood pressure would have been much lower if I'd gotten one of those FJ questions instead of the one I actually got.

On to the game. I mentioned the welcome we got on the message board, and honestly, what a great feeling. It definitely helped to get me relaxed. I was a little thrown off by being at the 3rd podium..I'd never played there before. I quickly adjusted and the game was on. First round categories...looking great! World Capitals, a strength for me. Scandinavians...after Norsemen in my semifinal I couldn't believe this Norwegian-American got them again. Olympics should be ok. Literary terms..I feared Eric on this one. No idea what True & False would be, and I knew I was in trouble with the Rum. All in all, looked great for me.

We got off to a fine start. I stormed out to an early lead, $0 to -$200 to
-$200. Early jitters? No, I just don't know anything about figure skating.
I was thinking about ringing in with a guess, but since it would have been wrong (Who is Michelle Hughes?) I'm glad I didn't. Shortly thereafter another triple stumper ... I knew Lennox Lewis but didn't pull the trigger for
some reason. I quickly moved over to World Capitals and opened up a little bit of a lead. I got a little thrill out of saying "What is Bloemfontein?"; like
Travis' analogy of Macau being LaToya to Hong Kong's Janet, I've always had a soft spot for "the other other South African capital".

I didn't do as well in Scandinavians as I thought I would. Bad miss on
Wilander/Edberg. Got beat by Mark on Blix and Nokia. He got the DD. Grr. An easy one, IMO.

First commercial break, it's a close race between me and Mark. Mark leaned over to me and said something like "Man, you are fast!" I think he liked getting beat on the world capitals as much as I liked getting beat on Scandinavians. At that point we had already set an early tone: the lead would go back and forth between me and Mark all day, but Eric kept ringing
in just when you thought he was out of it. I remember a couple of times saying "Good" to him as he came up with a very impressive answer.

Second segment started with another bad miss for me. Yeef. Back in with
mushrooms and back to finish off Scandinavians. There's a story on this's one of those "Alex bet the crew that nobody would get this one"
questions. You can hear the surprise in his voice when I said "Who is Nantsen?" He actually congratulated me on it. I wish I had given the answer with a bit more flourish, but I wasn't 100% sure and I didn't want to majestically pronounce "Who is Frijdhof Nantsen?" (which, you gotta admit, is a fun name to say!) and then have it be wrong.

Another triple stumper on Mamet. Don't know why I didn't ring in there; I know that. Then I blew the Pete Seeger question and tightened up the score with Mark. Then he really pulled ahead on the rum questions. I was trailing significantly going into DJ. Yikes.

DJ categories: As I watched the show today I reacted in disbelief. I hate those categories! I don't know any of that stuff! I don't remember answering any of that! Is this really my game? I thought I was in trouble when the best category for me looked to be Invertebrates; I'm not a biology guy at all.

More back and forth throughout the round. Mark was way ahead, then I started to get into it a bit. Then Eric started coming on and got a DD. Suddenly it's a 3-way race.

Go Invertebrates! I was glad to get cuttlefish...watching that Iron Chef episode really paid off :). Then I got the DD in Occupational Hazards.
I played it safe; I wanted to make sure I stayed within range of Mark.
Turns out it was an easy question and I could have bet much more, but at least it got me into the lead. Then I napped through the whole Shakespeare category; I can't believe someone beat me on Bosworth Field. Then Mark handed me $1600 in Authors; I felt guilty for vulturing it but I needed the score. I looked up and going into FJ I had the lead! How did that happen?

No reason to bet aggressively, especially on Governors which could be anything. I think we all had the same strategy: just bet a nominal amount. Eric and I went with $3000, Mark with $5000. Then the clue came up.

My first thought was: I have no idea. Then something popped into my head: wasn't there some woman from Kentucky who was their first Congresswoman then their first female Governor then something else.
I have no idea where this came from, or if there even was such a woman
(I still don't know), but it was all I had. Then I had to think: what was her name. At this point Phyllis George popped into my head. I think she was married to a Senator from Kentucky by name of Brown, which is where the Brown came from. I knew that wasn't right, but also knew I had no idea, so I figured I'd better write it down. I had no knowledge whatsoever that Mrs. Wallace was ever Governor of Alabama, so I was never going to come up with that. Aargh, two FJ's in a row missed, but I was still alive.