Jeopardy! has a long history of contestants missing sports questions that anyone with a basic understanding of sports should probably get. It’s a nice reminder of the relative difficulty of sports trivia for those who are more into sports than, say, British poets or Greek mythology.
At the same time, basic sports knowledge is much more readily available in today’s culture, and hey, I’ve passed the online Jeopardy! test twice, both times failing to get past the in-person audition, so I think if anyone’s going to be critical of Jeopardy! failures, it should be me. (Oh, and I passed the test and tried out for the short-lived Sports Jeopardy reboot, too. It’s a lot of rejection.)
And tonight, my goodness, was there plenty of failure.
There was an NFL Hall of Famer category that no one wanted to pick, always a sign that the three contestants know they’re not going to do well. (Conversely, if a contestant feels good about sports trivia, they tend to jump right to it.) But if that categorical avoidance was the first sign of trouble, there was a surprise second sign, coming in the middle of a compound word category:
Okay, so “backstop” is perhaps not an intuitive response, and a bit of baseball jargon that the layperson might not have been able to call up given the context. (Though I got it, so, who knows.)
And then, with the options down to a horse category and the NFL category, the true carnage began:
Well, okay, but Michael Irvin did play a while ago, and wasn’t the most famous member of the Dallas dynasty. Surely they’d be able to luck into another answer.
Ha, well, no. That’s ridiculous. And it ends with a cringeworthy whiff, although at least she was courageous enough to guess:
Oh, wow. That’s some extreme disappointment even for Alex Trebek.
Dennis, on the far right, ended up pulling out the win after both contestants nailed a British Poets Final Jeopardy question. Hopefully as he defends going forward, Jeopardy! limits the sports categories.
(Also I hope my Jeopardy! jealousy hasn’t shone through too much. Why won’t you let me on the show! I’ve done well in the practice games at the auditions! I’m begging here!)
I’ll make a vow: if I’m ever on the show, and Final Jeopardy is a sports category, I’ll wager everything, even if I have a comfortable lead. Hold me to it.