Bob Black said he had a few weeks to study up and prepare his nerves for the national TV game show.
Canandaigua Academy government and history teacher Bob Black is the newest champion on the popular game show “Jeopardy.”
On Wednesday night’s show, Black was in third place — but with $9,400, not far behind the leaders — entering the “Final Jeopardy” round. He had the correct answer and bet $9,300, nearly doubling his total.
Defending champ Diane Sager, of Raytown, Mo., also got the “Final Jeopardy” category right but didn’t bet enough money to overtake Black.
“It’s very exciting, but you go through a lot of preparation,” Black said.
He found out he qualified for the show in July and had three weeks to prepare before the shows were taped. The production crew shoots five shows in a single day, and there’s three hours of preparation before taping begins.
The Culver City, Calif., crew goes over the legalities and game rules and gives people a chance to practice first. They tell people not to be “surly,” saying it makes them look bad, the show look bad and it spoils the fun.
“It’s very exciting but it’s kind of nerve-racking,” Black said. “You know it’s your only time to do your best. You want to do well and give it your best shot while you’re out there.”
He admits to a “pretty good knowledge base,” having earned a master’s degree in history from SUNY Brockport. But he had to bone up on Shakespeare and mythology and then he pored over almanacs and other reference works.
His parents, Gordon and Sally Black of Jamestown, flew out to California to be a part of it all. They are even bigger fans of “Jeopardy” than their son is.
Black went sightseeing a couple of days before the show taped.
His first impression?
“A lot of traffic,” he said without hesitation, “but it was nice and the ocean and the coast are really beautiful.”
Black said the tricky thing about actually being in the show is hitting the buzzer at the right time to “question the answer,” which is, of course, the hallmark of “Jeopardy.”
“It’s easy to sit on the couch and know one thing,” Black said. “But it’s really hard to get in and beat the buzzer.”
He will appear again on tonight’s “Jeopardy” show, which can be seen at 7:30 p.m. on WROC-TV (channel 8) out of Rochester. However, under rules of the show he cannot talk about an episode until after it is broadcast.
Black also coaches girls swimming and diving, and boys ice hockey, at Canandaigua Academy.
Students throughout the Canandaigua City School District clustered around television sets to watch the show, said Superintendent Donald Raw.
“We’re very excited for him,” Raw said, “I thought he represented the district well and we’re hoping he’s going to keep on winning.”
Contact Billie Owens at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 320 or at email@example.com.