Game Ten Recap...  Mark Dawson

Last game of the 2003 ToC.

In another 30 minutes, someone's winning $250,000.

I'm not a superstitious person. Really. Nevertheless, I had in my possession a number of small articles, including a silver dollar (one of those big-ass coins made of gen-u-wine silver) given to me by my friend Jim as a token of good luck and a few things that had happened to be in my suit pockets during my 2001 Jeopardy shows. At first, it was no big deal, but with each clothing change for each round of the tournament, it became more and more important to me to find all of those objects and make sure that they were in place before hitting the stage. I've never been like that. I'm not a superstitious person. Really.

What I recall of the break between shows was that it was congenial, though
business-like, with our individual determination, dreams and desires
tempered by our mutual self-respect and camaraderie. The behind the scenes staff took great care of us; they were attentive and understanding of the pressures of the moment. I did my best to get psyched up for half an hour more of intense competition, just hoping to hang on, but with good
self-confidence. I didn't want to start enjoying the experience so much that
I lost the edge on my concentration.

Much as Brian mentioned, I felt like a rockstar when I hit the stage and I
was ready to go, or so I thought.

I'll not go through too much of the details of the second game, but:
- I was very pleased to get the Winslow Homer clue. I didn't know the
painting or the verbal clue, but I recognized his style!

- The game play was a bit spottier in this match as we were all running out of gas. I think that we all knew "Brave New World," but didn't want to risk a miss, knowing the energy required to recover from a late mistake.

- I started searching for the second DD about five questions before I hit it in the movie icons category. I knew that if Brian found it first, then I was toast. I knew the answer immediately. My mistake was that I briefly thought about the importance of the moment before considering the clue. That created a log jam in my brain and I couldn't say his name. I was counting on my fingers, over and over saying "Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and.... Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and.... Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and.... that guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark who has a scar on his chin from wrecking his car while trying to put on his seat belt while driving, who flies rescue missions with his personal helicopter......" How frustrating!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Brian was absolutely amazing on the chemical elements. I have a Chemistry minor and would have gotten every one of those if he would have just given me a second to figure them out. Eric told me he knew them as well, but could only wrest one away from Brian.

- When I looked up at the scores for FJ and saw Brian's 5,000 lead, I
thought "great, I'm still 2,000 ahead" It wasn't 'til I started my calculations for my wagering that I realized his 5,000 translates to 10,000 when doubled and that I was actually behind by 3,000. My heart sank. I should have bet more on my DD. That's the strategy when you're consistently beaten to the buzzers. With an American History category, I figured there was a good chance that all three would answer correctly. Nevertheless, I began going through betting scenarios for Brian, trying to figure out what he would do (and knowing he'd been burned by FJ's twice already). After filling up 3 or 4 3x5" index cards with calculations, I decided that it might be easier to start with Eric. That made everything simple. Eric could pass Brian, but he couldn't pass me. I had second place secured. If I bet it all and nailed the FJ, then I'd make an extra $6,000 bucks. If I missed it I still had a guaranteed $50 thou. No brainer.

- In the end, I still didn't quite understand what happened, until Brian
explained it to us. All I knew was that there was $250,000 on my scoreboard
and all of my friends were going nuts in the audience. I was stunned, but I
cannot imagine the strength and reservation that Brian showed on stage. He is a class guy and spoke nothing but positive words to me and to Eric.

That's all that I have energy for now. I should have written this one in
advance, but memories would not have served very well. If my quarterfinal
was a blurrrrrr, then this last match was a tornado followed by an