On the Cutting Edge

It’s always unpleasant to hear that your Final Jeopardy answer is incorrect.

I didn’t get to watch last night’s episode due to previously scheduled travel, and there’s nothing I hate more than observing myself anyway, so I’ll just note a few behind-the-scenes/internal monologue items.

• Later we all marveled at how challenging the “Lesser-Known Marsupials” category was, but at the time I was so focused on the game that it didn’t even register.

• Some friends texted me about clues I got right and wrong. Other than final, I forgot almost everything. Like oral argument, you’re in the zone when it happens and it evaporates when it’s done.

• I was incredibly annoyed at myself for confusing Ebony and Essence. First, because I had forgotten what I had learned — you have to read the clue being asked, not what you think it asks.

• When Hester beat me to “public domain” I was also annoyed at myself, though again — that’s the buzzer for you.

• Sometime during Double Jeopardy I developed the yips and psyched myself out of being able to ring in properly. It may have been when Hester cleaned up in African-American Literature — a category that I figured I would have dominated, as an English major, if I hadn’t been standing next to an English professor. Sigh.

• I can’t remember why I wagered $5,399 instead of $5,400 for Final, but I think it was because I wanted to end up on the positive side if I got it wrong. Because I was aiming for a wild card spot at that point, it was important to try to maximize my winnings.

• And finally, I got very thrown off by the Final Jeopardy clue, probably because I specialized in modernism when I majored in American literature. I knew the answer couldn’t have been “modernism” because “modernista” in the clue, and I might have remembered that “kunst” in German is “Art”, but I had to put something down and I figured “avant garde” was a good shot.

I’ll say two things in close. First, I did make my goal of making it to Final Jeopardy, and so despite not winning my match and ending up with $1, I feel content with how it turned out.

Second, I was very excited when Mayim asked me about my manner of teaching. I took very seriously — and nervously — my responsibility of standing in for all the law professors across the country in this tournament. Getting to talk about the magic of clinical education, its value for our students and clients, and how it helps communities while standing on a national TV show is a rare opportuntity, and I hope that I did my clinical family proud.

Now, here’s the question — can you get a wild card spot with just $1? Stay tuned for the rest of this week to find out!

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