Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions: 2022! 😊

The race is on to find Jeopardy! champion for 2022! 👍
The Tournament of Champions started on Monday this week, hosted by Ken Jennings. It’s a multiple-week event featuring some of the biggest winners from the previous season. This year the excitement level is even higher as the tournament features many super-champs. Three of them (Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, Mattea Roach) with 20+ wins in the regular season got a first-round bye in a nod to their impressive run earlier 👌. The first week couldn’t have had a better ending with Friday winner hitting Daily Double! in Double Jeopardy! round back-to-back, betting it all both times and getting it right! 👏 The first time his score doubled from 5,800 to 11,600. When his next clue selection also happened to be a Daily Double and he announced his intent to make it again a “true daily double” the shock was evident in Ken’s face. By the time I collected my jaw that had dropped to the floor on hearing “true daily double” wager 😂 the contestant, Eric Ahasic, got the response right and his score jumped to 23,200! It’s always fun to see contestants bet big, get it right and win big! It’s a tribute to the quality of other two contestants that the game did not turn out to be a runway for the champ before Final Jeopardy! round. 👍
This year’s tournament may very well be historic in that it features a non-binary person, a transgender, a lesbian, a turbaned Sikh. Fun to see diversity when it results from inclusiveness instead of being in-your-face. 👏 Kudos to Ken Jennings for doing good as host. 👏 When he immediately followed as host after the legendary Alex Trebek he appeared stilted and a little awkward and Mayim Bialik appeared more at ease as the host. Some of it may have been due to emotions as he was close to Alex, some of it nerves stepping into the shoes of a legend and rest of it for trying to stick to the Alex way of hosting too much. In contrast Mayim appeared to be more at comfort in front of the camera. At this time Ken is better as host of the show than Mayim IMHO. What has changed? While Mayim appears to be solid professional Ken brings passion to the job. Whether consciously or through feedback from others Ken has been more Ken and less wannabe-Alex! That passion combined with other p’s (product, participants, presentation) combine for a great watch. 👍 When Ken praises a contestant for responding correctly to a difficult clue it appears genuine. Staying true to himself also means he brings in his own sense of humor. Of course, sometimes it may land well, sometimes it may not (I should know that from personal experience 🤣). Also, some attributes that could have been a disadvantage actually turns out to be a blessing. Ken speaks fast which means when he is hosting all clues are covered in a game pretty much always! I am all for no clues left uncovered in a game and maximizing winning for the contestants. Hopefully the rest of the tournament is thrilling too that the participation of super-champs promises, with a memorable ending for the tournament. Can’t wait to see what is in store! 😊🙏

Looking back, looking ahead 🙏

Today is the last day of 2021. Right time to look back, look ahead.
Put simply 2021 has been an extraordinary year!
A year in which
• Good and bad were engaged in a constant battle
• Many lives were saved, many lives were lost
• Prosperity soared and paucity increased
• The bright lights of democracy were threatened by inimical forces
• We witnessed courage and cowardice in plenty
• Truth tried to emerge while misinformation exploded
• Olympian heights were reached along with plumbing of depths
• Welcome jabs were followed by unwelcome jabbing
• Lessons were learned hard and quickly forgotten
• There was a lot gained and a lot lost
• Hope and fear seemed to be juxtaposed

It has been a year to reevaluate priorities and relationships, both personal and professional, for many including yours truly. Will be interesting to see how historians view 2021. When 2021 and 2022 meet I hope the intersection is at love. 🥰 Hey, even the number 2022 has a good feel to it! Like beautiful swans together, one followed by two! Humanity needs to transition from a world of pain, loss and grief to one that abounds in love. My optimism is tempered by reality and reality is tinged with optimism. 🙏

Sayonara 2021! Welcome 2022! 👍