This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Wheel Salutes Our Military Week|
|Hometown:||San Diego, CA|
As soon as I stood up behind the red space, I knew everything would be okay when Pat walked out and smiled at me and said hello before the clapping was over. He seemed so nice and calm, I figured that this whole thing would be a piece of cake and I decided not to worry about whether I won or lost (easier said than done).
That idea of not worrying went out the window with the first two toss-up puzzles. I just stared at the letters popping up on the board and had no idea what I was looking at it was infuriating! Watching John win two puzzles right in a row was hard to stomach, but I remembered that I was supposed to keep smiling and clapping, so I did just that.
When it was my turn to introduce myself, Pat and I had a great conversation about my job as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer; I'm sure the Commanding Officer of the USS HOWARD rolled his eyes when he heard that I shoot "fake submarines", but he'll probably laugh a little bit, too. After a nice chit-chat with Pat, it was time to get serious. I had no money and I needed to win at least one puzzle, because I didn't want to take home the $1,000 that you get as a consolation if you don't win a round.
The first thing I noticed was how heavy the wheel was! I consider myself to be in decent shape, but wow, that wheel wasn't easy to spin, that's for sure. I think I might have gotten it to go half way around, and amazingly, it always seemed to land on Bankrupt or Lose a Turn. I was so frustrated as I watched Bruce and John win the next several puzzles, especially when I had a large chunk of money and Pat had to take it all away after I landed on Bankrupt! Every time we stopped taping for a quick break, the contestant coordinators gave us water and told us to be happy, excited, and loud (all three of which are very hard to do when you have a big fat zero on the scoreboard!), but I nodded and pasted a fake smile on my face. Even Pat told me that the show might turn around, you just never know. Granted, he's been doing this for a few years, so he knows how quickly things can change, but I still didn't believe him.
After four rounds with zero success, I was starting to get mad. I had come all of this way to be on a game show and I had friends fly in from Chicago and Florida (thanks, Lizzy and Ashley!) and all they were going to see was me take home a measly $1,000 pity prize. Then, the last pop-up appeared and I knew it was "The Pacific"! I was SO relieved just to be on the scoreboard. I was still down by about $8,000, but I wasn't going home empty-handed. Then, for the final round, Pat landed on the $5,000 section. I about fell on the ground I had a shot at winning the game! I was the first one to go, and I guessed "s" because the category was "Things" and we went around twice before John guessed "L". Once he did that, it was clear to me that the last half of the words was "bells", but I wasn't sure of the first part. On my turn, I chose "B" and through some stroke of dumb luck, I knew that it was "Barbells and Dumbbells"!! FOUR "B"s in the puzzle!! When it hit me that I won $42,000 on one puzzle and won the game, my legs almost gave out. I was doubled-over with shock and disbelief and couldn't stop screaming I'm sure I scared Pat! It was the best feeling EVER; knowing that I had made enough money to pay for a semester of graduate school in two minutes. That doesn't happen every day!
I finally calmed down enough to breathe like a normal human and went back down with the contestant coordinators and my make-up artist (she needed to do a major touch-up because all of my make-up rubbed off on Pat's suit when I hugged him after my win!) and they told me to stay calm and that if I won the car (yeah, right), to run to the car and get in the passenger door. My biggest concern for the final round was not having a clammy hand when I held Pat's hand to walk from the mini-wheel to the spot where I guess the puzzle. When the category appeared, I just blew it off because it was "Thing" and there was no way I was going to guess that. Then, the letters appeared, and I knew I had a chance because there was a hyphen and it was longer than your typical "Thing" puzzle. When R, S, T, L, N, and E appeared, I KNEW THE PUZZLE. It just came to me. I have no idea how or why my brain figured it out, but it did. I gasped and Pat looked over at me and said, "You know it, don't you?" I just nodded fervently and guessed the letters that I knew would virtually complete the puzzle. I don't even know if they started the 10 second timer, because I remember Pat saying, "Just solve it already!", and solve it, I did! I couldn't breathe for the second time of the day. I just freaked out and started screaming. Then, when he opened the card and it said "Mazda", I probably made Pat a tad deaf (sorry, Pat!) and ran towards my friends who were storming the stage. It was so surreal!!! Vanna opened the passenger door for me and I hopped in just as instructed. It was such an incredible rush; I can't do it justice with words. Thanks to all of the Wheel of Fortune crew, cast, and producers who allow a regular girl from Canton, Ohio, the chance of a lifetime!