Game Two Recap...  Trevor Norris

Maggie came in and announced the second game of the day. I'd be matched against Mark Dawson and Max Levaren. Ouch. I knew Max from her recently aired episodes, and I knew she was strong and confident, but I had no clue about Dawson. He was one of last year's alternates along with Alan Bailey, and he was one of the very few about whom I had no recollection. I was just happy to get the early slot and not have to sit in the Green Room any longer. Not that I didn't enjoy everyone's company, but the anticipation and tension was mounting with each passing minute.

I'd had real trouble getting in on the buzzer in the practice round, so that was my biggest concern as I picked up the signaling button for the first round. I decided to trash all the advice about trying to anticipate and just focus on the lights (which were in a new location since my original taping), hoping that I might have quicker reflexes than my opponents.

At the end of Double Jeopardy, I had built a small lead, but knew that I was in trouble as soon as the categories "Labor" and "The Russians Are Coming" were theonly choices left on the board. My only hope of holding the lead going into Final Jeopardy was that Max and Mark knew as little about unions and Cossacks as I. Not a chance. They ate those clues up and closed the gap, with Mark taking over the lead on the last question on the board.

What nobody knew was that I was not interested in winning the game. I'm not even sure that my wife knew my strategy for certain. Ending the round with $15,000 put me well within striking distance of the number I'd picked as having a solid chance of advancing as a wild card. I played the whole game bound, bent, and determined to get to $18,000. If I'd done it by the end of regulation play, I'd have bet $0. As it stood, I had to plunk down $3,000 to make it there.

"Legal History" wasn't such a bad draw as Final Jeopardy categories go. My wife is an attorney, and I felt like it would be something that might be familiar enough for me to reason out the answer. And even if I missed it, $12,000 would be enough to make the rest of the day interesting.