This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Wheel Salutes Our Military Week|
|Hometown:||San Diego, CA|
It all started on a very average duty day. One of the Navy's requirements is that every six days, you spend the night on your ship in case of a fire, intruder, or other emergency. I was sitting in my stateroom doing some work on my computer and had Wheel of Fortune on my TV for some background noise to drown out the incessant humming of the ship's ventilation system. As I was watching it, I realized that I was doing fairly well at guessing the puzzles, which led me to the idea that maybe, just maybe, I could be a contestant.
Clearly the next step was to visit the website and check out the process, and luckily for me, it was incredibly easy. The best part was when I saw the option existed to participate in Armed Forces Week! This was my IN. Not only did it narrow down the contestant pool from the general public, but as a female officer, it also made me a fairly unique candidate for Armed Forces Week. I filled out the simple online form, hit submit, and completely forgot about it.
Three months later, I was on the ship and received a phone call from the Quarterdeck (the main entry/exit point on the ship) saying that I had an outside line phone call waiting for me. Since we don't have cell phone service inside the ship, we have to get all of our calls through the ship's line and go outside to talk to the caller, which is hugely inconvenient when we're in the middle of a meeting or work. I told the Officer of the Deck to take a message because I didn't recognize the name of the caller; little did I know that it was one of the most important phone calls I've ever received!
On my way home, I called the number back and the contestant representative told me that I had been selected to attend try-outs up in Los Angeles I was completely floored. I had forgotten that I filled out the online form three months ago and the fact that I was going to try-outs was probably one of the coolest things EVER. Immediately, I called my family and best friends and told them about the opportunity and they all laughed and thought I was nuts, but clearly I was bound and determined to make my game show debut.
At try-outs, all I remember is that my hands REALLY hurt from clapping so much. I knew I had to be vivacious and enthusiastic for the entire time, but clapping every time someone guessed a letter was tough! I knew that I had done very well on the written portion of try-outs, but the initial letter-guessing didn't go so well for me, so I was nervous on whether or not I would make the second round. I thought I was going to have a heart attack as I was waiting to hear my name; there was no way I was accepting that my road to national television stopped at the first round of try-outs! Once they assembled us back into the ballroom, I was the LAST name that they called for people who were staying for the second round, so the first hurdle was out of the way. Phew.
I felt more comfortable on the second round because we had a longer period of time to showcase our personalities, which definitely helped my chances. I was still nervous about giving my "shtick", because I thought I would fumble over the words or say something completely uninteresting, but it ended up being easier to talk about myself then I thought go figure! After we had all taken turns solving puzzles, the contestant coordinators told us to expect a letter in four to five weeks if we made it on the show; I immediately marked those weeks on the calendar in anxious anticipation.
Five weeks passed, and no letter. Six weeks, and no contact. I was so distraught that I hadn't heard anything, but at least I got to go to try-outs, right? Then, while I was driving home, I got a call from the contestant coordinator saying that I had been chosen for the show!!! This phone call was even MORE exciting than the first one from Wheel! I told him that I would be at the Los Angeles studios for taping (luckily my ship was going to be in port) and that I was incredibly excited for this opportunity.
In preparation for the show, I DVR-ed every Wheel episode from the day I found out until the taping date and watched religiously. I even played the online game once or twice for practice thanks to my mom's suggestion. I had my uniform ready to go and four of my best friends from college and the Navy sitting in the audience waiting to cheer me on I was ready to win some BIG MONEY!
Tune in on November 18th to see if I was successful!!