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Wes dreams of being not just a contestant on Jeopardy, but a Grand Champion — meaning, winning at least five games — a “streak” — and then coming back for the Tournament of Champions. He studies obsessively for hours every day, passes the audition and makes it to contestantship, but when he participates in the practice rounds that the studio puts the contestants through, he can’t get his timing right in hitting the buzzer — there’s a whole art to making sure you don’t hit it too soon (which locks you out of answering for a quarter of a second), or too late (which lets someone else answer), and Wes just can’t get it right. He starts spiraling down into a deep depression, realizing he may not win, and that he’s allowed his entire identity to hinge on his Jeopardy success, despite knowing rationally that that’s not healthy. As he waits to get scheduled for a taped match, he discovers some Jeopardy winner interviews online that talk about “buzzer theory” — ways to train yourself to buzz in at the exact right moment — and the tips help, particularly using your non-dominant hand. Wes ends up winning three Jeopardy games — not the four he’d dreamed of — and he leaves with mixed feelings, but mostly feels great that he went as far as he did.
African-American storyteller, anxiety, Black storyteller, brain, buzzer, champion, competition, competitive, contestant, depression, filming, game show, Jeopardy, Live, memory, perfectionism, POCI storyteller, pressure, suicidal, timing, trivia, TV, TV studio, winner, winning
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