Season 25 2-time champion: $43,202 + $1,000.
Wife of Season 26 player Rajeev Gorowara.
Christine Carrino Gorowara - A Teacher Educator
January 6, 2009
The Jeopardy! taping day started around 7:15 when contestants met for the shuttle ride from the hotel to Sony Pictures Studios. We recognized each other as the well-dressed, eager folks carrying several changes of clothing. We chatted on the way over, discovering that many of us were educators, a lot of us enjoyed travel, and we had collectively read many interesting books.
When we arrived at the studio, we were taken directly to the green room where we were greeted by contestant coordinators Robert and Maggie whom we recognized from the contestant searches. The coordinators and other staff were amazing in their ability to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere. We spent some time signing papers, going over our interview stories, and practicing our “Hometown Howdies” before going to the studio to practice with the buzzers and the writing screens (I had trouble with both).
As many people are aware, Jeopardy! tapes five shows in a day. Game #1 starts taping at around 11:30. We knew that Ben, the returning champion, would be playing, and to determine who his challengers would be, the coordinators chose two overturned name cards at random. Mine was not one of those cards, so I was able to watch Game #1 with the rest of the unchosen contestants, off to the side of the studio audience. We cheered on our new friends, excited when they got a Daily Double, glad to see everybody playing well.
Once the game concluded, the next pair of challengers was chosen. My name was not drawn for Game #2 or Game #3, so I continued watching. After each of the games, the second- and third-place contestants were separated from those of us yet to play. At lunch we joked that the periodic reductions in our group made us feel like we were on a reality show.
After lunch came Game #4, and this time my card was chosen. We drew for position (middle or end), and I got middle. We went out to the stage and started by taping our “Howdies.” I had a little trouble saying my full name—Christine Carrino Gorowara—not a good sign!
And then it was time for the show to start. The music began and Johnny Gilbert introduced us, gliding through my name better than I had a few minutes earlier. As for the game itself, I don’t remember much—a lot of the clues I recall only as “blah, blah, blah, Lake Champlain” (What is Vermont?).
I do remember one clue well—it was my first Daily Double, in the ominously-titled category of “Biggest Losers.” I’m not sure of the exact wording, but it referred to the major party candidate who lost the presidency to Richard Nixon in 1972. Now, not only do I know presidential politics in general, but the 1972 election was personally meaningful to me: at age seven, it was the first election I was aware of, and I recall months of discussion about Nixon and McGovern. How lucky was that! Without hesitation, then, I answered…”Humphrey.”
By the first break, I think I was in third place. I might even have been in the red—I’m pretty sure I was negative at some point in the game. But once the game began again, my luck changed, and I started to answer more questions. By the end of Double Jeopardy, I was ahead. This was exciting, and something of a surprise—during the game I had almost no concept of the score. There were just too many other things to pay attention to.
The Final Jeopardy category was “Musical Theater;” a good category for me. During the last break, the coordinators brought over the privacy panels and scratch paper so we could make our bets. I carefully added the second-place score to itself to get the maximum amount I had to bet against, then subtracted my own score and added a dollar. I wasn’t taking any chances—although the arithmetic was simple, I went over it a second time. Finally, I entered my amount and tapped the screen to accept.
We came back from commercial and the clue was revealed. It referred to a musical that opened in 1878 and was set on a ship (there was a little more detail, but pretty much all I remember is “blah, blah, 1878, blah, blah, ship”). I quickly figured out that “Musical Theater” plus “1878” meant Gilbert and Sullivan, and “ship” got me to HMS Pinafore. When the “think music” stopped, Alex checked the answer of the third-place contestant, who had also written “HMS Pinafore.” It was a correct answer—I had won the game! Or had I? Maybe I made an arithmetic mistake and bet wrong. While Alex checked the next answer, I computed my bet for the third time. By the time it was my turn, I was confident that I had won, but I concentrated on maintaining a poker face as the coordinators had encouraged us to do. Concentrated so hard, in fact, that I think I forgot to change from stoicism to jubilance when I was revealed to be the winner.
As I came off the stage, Maggie whispered, “Congratulations—you are now one of the few people who can say they were Jeopardy! champions!”
Jeopardy! win #2
I hardly had time to process my win in Game #4 when we started getting ready for Game #5. I went back to the green room to get my make-up refreshed, then came back out to the set to tape. This time when we did “Hometown Howdies” I got to introduce myself as “returning champ Christine Carrino Gorowara.”
I don’t remember much in the way of clues—once again, they mostly registered as “spelling, blah, blah, inkblot” (What is R-0-R-S-C-H-A-C-H?). Also as in the previous game, I was largely unaware of the score during the game. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself once again ahead going into Final Jeopardy.
This time the category was “State Capitals,” and the clue referred to the only state capital with an international border. As the “think music” played, I ran through all the northernmost states and concluded it must be Juneau, Alaska. Once again I was relieved to hear that the third-place contestant, who had also answered Juneau, was pronounced correct.
Later, as I described my thought process to fellow contestants, someone pointed out that I had ignored the possibility that a state capital might have bordered Mexico rather than Canada. It was true—I hadn’t even considered the southwestern capitals. Likewise, in the previous game I never considered that a Gilbert and Sullivan show involving a ship could be Pirates of Penzance (which was just as well), or that someone other than Humphrey had lost to Nixon in 1972 (which cost me my Daily Double bet). It struck me how much of this game is played without the luxury of contemplation. Jeopardy! is well-known as a sport of the brain. It turns out to be, to a larger extent than I had imagined, also a sport of the gut.