Bowl over

      As I type this, “Manic Monday” is playing overhead! It won’t be one for me or for the National History Bee/Bowl staff, I don’t think.
     You might recall that at the end of the day Saturday, I did not know whether I was expected to work Sunday, and if so, where. Someone with whom I’d kept score with Saturday had heard we were going to start at 7:40, so I’d decided to arrive by then to try and find out. I got there and saw a hand-written sign in the lobby telling everyone where to meet at 7:30. David, who like Friday was wearing a suit instead of the red polo, said to the crowd that we were going to start at 9 a.m. There were going to be five rounds instead of six. Apparently that second part had already been announced, maybe at the end of the night before. I don’t get involved with the format of the Bee or Bowl anyway, but I took this as an indication that the Bowl had ended late the night before. I ran into a former J! contestant who thought it had ended around 11:30 p.m.
     Anyone who was to help was asked to congregate in the corner of the room, where we gave our names to a staffperson. By the way, Dave Leach was there again, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as always! Later, he was in my packed elevator on our way to our respective sites. As he walked out, someone who knows him said to everyone else that he’s a Jeopardy! champion. A woman near me got excited, and someone else said, “Maybe we’ll see him again!” And the guy who knows him said, “Oh, you probably will, he won six times.” He was referring to the Tournament of Champions, but she just meant maybe she’d see him later that day. 🙂
     I had told the Bee staffperson I’d prefer to keep score where any Jeopardy! person was reading. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised but the staffperson told me he doesn’t know who they are! He was not the only one either, I found out when I asked another one later whether any J! champs would be reading at the late Mount Vernon rounds. (More on that a little later.) There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way!
     I scanned the list of readers/scorekeepers and said, “Well, like Jerome [Vered]…” and the staffperson goes, “Okay. I’ll put you with Jerome.” That’s great for me; I just hoped Jerome wasn’t sick of me yet! So I got a Pepsi and waited. At about 8:30 the same staffperson said as I was minding my own business, “Jeanie, you can go to your room now.” This was said sort of with a sense of urgency, but at 8:56 my moderator had not arrived yet. We were delayed again. By the way, the delays don’t matter to me because there will be J! people around…unless of course they get too disgruntled by them. It is a bummer but I can totally see it happening.
     Gotta throw this in there: On my way to the room, the girlfriend of a J! champ made me feel good when she said, “I’ve been admiring your sundresses all weekend. You’re upholding the mantle of feminity here.” Vamos!
     The morning went well except when a moderator lost his temper and exploded at me. I truly don’t remember the last time anyone was as angry at me as he was then. He was like a thunderstorm on a summer night: quite pleasant both before and after. In fact when I saw his enraged face, for a second I couldn’t believe it was genuine. But it was. I need to say he didn’t have all the facts and still doesn’t, and thus the dressing-down was utterly unjustified. I’d admit it if I was in the wrong. I just took it and resisted the urge to speak in my defense though, because it really doesn’t matter and because I didn’t want to make matters any worse. He hasn’t apologized but we haven’t had any more problems. If I see him again, I will tread even more lightly than I do anyway!
     Enough about that. Like I said everything else went well. Jerome does a very good job both reading and engaging the kids. He took a genuine interest in the students, asking where they were from just because he really wanted to know. Someone asked Jerome what he does. I was glad because as I said in yesterday’s post, I meant to ask him that myself the next day. It was also a chance for me to tout Jerome’s success on Jeopardy! Jerome modestly downplayed that and changed the subject back to the students, and he was pretty vague about what he does. Someone else reports to me he was vague again when she heard someone else ask him what he does.
     By the way, O’Brien’s Pub had just tweeted that morning the picture of that week’s winning pub quiz team. I always look at it out of curiosity, since I’m likely to see one or two Jeopardy! contestants. Well, Jerome was in the picture this week! I showed him on my phone.
     These five rounds at the hotel didn’t end until around the time we should have been arriving at Mount Vernon for the finals. Mount Vernon’s pretty far away from D.C., if you didn’t know. According to the Bee website, the Mount Vernon rounds were to start at 1:40 and end at 3:40, with the awards ceremony ending at 3:50. Well my sister and I had wolfed down lunch, again having nowhere to look for updates to the schedule, then took a Metro to her car and her car to Mount Vernon. I arrived at 3 p.m. There were no red polos in sight, and the auditorium was empty. I was afraid I’d missed something, but what was I thinking? Not to worry – some boys I’d asked outside the auditorium said nothing had started yet. It was perfect timing, in fact. Literally a minute or two later I saw David’s fiancee with an armload of trophies.
     I sat in the back of the auditorium so I could see everyone who walked in, and thus catch sight of Jeopardy! people. I was just beginning to write down that none were there, when I saw Jean Cui, a two-time champion in 2008. She and I read at the same History Bowl site this year and last. She was with a guy, and she said he was a three-time J! champ named “Tom.” I’m between 80 and 90 percent sure I know his last name, but if I’m wrong and I publish it I’d feel awful! Soon Drew Scheeler walked in with a guy I met from the Jeopardy! message boards. Jerome Vered and Steve Kaltenbaugh were with them. Steve played in David’s last game, and they were both defeated by the third contestant.
     David already talked about next year from the stage (encouraging!), and he indicated he might extend the Bowl and Bee to longer than one day each, in the hopes that there will be fewer delays. That’s fine since Friday had absolutely nothing going on for me.
     Once they were going to start, it didn’t sound to me like any Jeopardy! contestants were going to do any more reading, and my sister and I had still not been to Mass. I asked David’s mother and later his fiancee, and neither knew whether Jeopardy! people would be reading. (David’s father was present too, by the way.)  David’s mother also said there were going to be four more rounds yet! My sister and I went to Mass, then. 🙂 She and I then returned to D.C., got dinner, and watched Lisa Lampanelli blow her top once again on Celebrity Apprentice. Today she and I (my sister, that is) will get to spend a little more time together before I go home. First I’m gonna publish this, get a coffee, and hope to watch Friday’s J! I’d call this weekend a success. I’m a lucky girl.
     I do still have lots of unanswered questions: What time did the Bee end? What did families do who had planes to catch? When do all the Catholic school students/families here make it to Mass? What is “Tom”‘s last name? Are we going to see any of these kids in the J! Teen Tournament this week? When will I get the champions panel posted on this blog? Did Jacob make is three wins on Friday’s J!? And what about next year’s J! reunion? Anyone?