Game Ten Recap... Brian Weikle
Going into the second game, I'm exhausted. It's been a long day already, I've got another game to play, and I need to come from quite a ways back. I'm guardedly confident, but I know I have my work cut out.
Categories come up, and they look very promising for me. I got off to my usual slow start, but then I got into a rhythm. I was extremely focused, so much so that I didn't go immediately to the element spelling category.
I just didn't get around to it. This worked to my advantage as I had built up a decent score before getting the DD. If I was ever going to have a true Daily Double, this was the time. I needed a big score, and I know the periodic table very well. No way could I miss that, and I didn't.
That gave me a nice boost of confidence.
Coming out of Round One I've got a nice lead. Not taking anything for granted however.
DJ starts, and again the categories look favorable for me. I'm a Minnesotan
playing against two Georgians, and I get Wisconsin Places. Someone must want me to win this thing! I go for that category right away and get another DD. I've still got a nice lead, but I wager $4000 on the theory that this game won't be a runaway anyway, so I just want to not give anything away.
Turns out the question was an easy one, but I've still got a healthy lead.
At this point Mark and Eric quite obviously started hunting for the other DD. If I'd gotten it, things would have been much easier, but unfortunately Mark found it first.
I need to go on record and say that I don't think Mark's answer should have been accepted. I know that in theory you get as much time as you need for the DD, but he took a LONG time, and didn't begin to answer even after being prompted by Alex. You can't tell by watching the show, but they stopped tape for an excruciatingly long time to figure out whether to accept it or not. It definitely "quelled the mo" as Maggie would say.
This is not sour grapes; I'm not saying that this affected the outcome of the
game. I'm just saying that I didn't agree with the call then, and after watching it today I still don't. That's just my opinion, and again please don't take it as a complaint.
It took awhile to shake off the cobwebs after that, so both players started to
gain on me. At some point Eric realized he was out of it, so some of the
intensity went out of him, but he still came up with some great answers.
At the end of the round I had $22,000 to Mark's $17something.
Pretty impressive totals for both of us, if I do say so myself.
OK, going into FJ, I'm ahead, but I'm also behind. Weird. OK, how to wager. My only thought was to cover Mark's possible total; I was not considering Eric's score or playing for 2nd vs. 3rd. I was definitely NOT confident with the category; I knew both of them know American History better than I do. But like my Semifinal, I wanted to go down swinging.
So here is the thought process that led me to my final wager. I'm sure the
readers will be interested to know what happened.
Start with Mark's total from yesterday, $22,400. Take his total from today,
$17,200, and double that to $34,400. Add that together to get your number to reach: $56,800. Now figure out my wager ...
Take the goal number, $56,600 (if you're observant you just spotted the fatal flaw) and subtract yesterday's score of $15,000 to get $41,600 that I need to get to today. Subtract the $22,000 I have to get $19,600 that I need to bet to match Mark's number, and add $1. $19,601.
Check and double-check the math. Yes it all looks good. In fact it was.
The math was perfect; I simply mis-copied the number, or made an 8 that looked like a 6. I don't look at it as cracking under pressure, although I will fully admit to cracking under fatigue. The two final shows were so intense, and I was totally spent. I could barely hold the pen. It's unfortunate to lose on such a banal error, but it can and does happen to everyone and it happened to me at a most opportune time.
So I lock in my wager. Mark is taking a long time with his so I have some timeto reflect. I start thinking about all the difficult FJ's in the TOC and whether I shouldn't have bet conservatively in case of a triple stumper.
In particular, if we all were wrong and Mark had bet it all, I should have saved enough so that my total would beat his score from yesterday. Oh well, too late to change now.
I'm still not very confident about this category when we come back to the show. Then I see the question. First thought is ... ack, I'm toast. OK, don't panic... for some reason Gouverneur (or however you spell that) Morris had popped into my head earlier, and I knew there was a Robert Morris, so maybe it was them. Also, I thought that John and Sam Adams were maybe both signers, so I went with Morris and Adams.
OK, Eric's up first, Adams and Lee. I hadn't thought about Lee, but it's good to know Adams was correct. Now Mark: Morris and Lee. Also correct.
My answer is correct! I'm going to win!
Alex reveals my answer and my wager and ... I didn't win.
Something very odd happened at that point. Instead of being crushed, devastated, angry, humiliated, etc., I just felt glad for Mark. He's a great player and deserved to win; he's the only one of us that didn't "back" into the Finals in some way.
Of course I'm disappointed, but that will pass. I can live without the money,
but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. More than anything else, my goal for the ToC was to prove to myself and others that I really belonged there. I needed to know that my first games weren't just a fluke, a run of fortune caused by favorable categories and weak opposition. (I don't think any of them were weak, but what did I have to compare to??) I like to think I achieved that goal.
I am fiercely proud of my performance, even including the little gaffe at the
end. I played four games against the best of the best, and I carried the lead
going into FJ each time. That's gotta count for something.
Of course I will always wonder "Why didn't I notice that error?" just like
Trevor will always wonder "Why didn't I come up with Macao?" and Mark Brown will wonder "Why didn't I bet more strategically?" and Ben will wonder "Why didn't I think of Chunnel in time?". All of those guys could have won the ToC, but they made mistakes that cost them. I'm no different than them; it's just that my mistake came at the end.
Congratulations to Mark and Eric on a well-played finals. I think if we played
it again it would be just as close. Yes, I would have liked to win the quarter
million, but I've won over $200,000 and a car. That's more than all but two
people in the history of the show. How can I be disappointed with that?