This Week's Contestant
As a kid, I remember watching Wheel of Fortune at home and always trying to beat my sister (a difficult feat). I remember playing Wheel of Fortune video games when we were younger and always winning the new car or a trip to Hawaii. Even through high school and college, I continued watching Wheel and playing the games, but never thought that all of that practice would get me anywhere.
My girlfriend Tammy and I had a nightly television routine that always included Wheel of Fortune. After endless episodes of me answering puzzles and Tammy getting frustrated, she urged me to apply for the show. So, I figured I would take a shot and I applied on-line. About 8 months later I received an e-mail from WOF stating that I had an audition in New York City. Ten days after receiving the email, I took the train up to NYC and really had no idea what to expect. There were about 100 people in the room for my audition. I played a few imaginary games of Wheel, took a puzzle test, and got to introduce myself. At the end of the audition, there were only about 20 people and the contestant coordinators told us that we would receive a letter within a month if we made it to the show.
Let the waiting begin! I ran to the mailbox every day, but no letter. On the second to last day of the month, my mom asked me if I had gotten a letter, but I didn't. The next day, I received THE letter telling me that I had been chosen as a contestant for Wheel of Fortune! A few months later, in the middle of coaching fall baseball practice, my phone rang. I looked at my phone and saw the 310 area code and immediately got excited. Wheel of Fortune was calling me to let me know that they wanted me to come out and be a part of Teachers Week. I was so thrilled I couldn't contain myself. When the contestant department told me the date that I was going to be filming, my heart sunk. My chance to be on the show had been scheduled on the same day that my newborn son Dean was scheduled to have cataract surgery! There was no way I was going to miss Dean's surgery to be on a game show. I knew I had to be there for my son and for Tammy. Even though I wanted to stay and be there, Tammy pushed me to take advantage of the opportunity. So, we decided it would be good for me to go take a chance. She did not want to leave Dean so it was just going to be my mom and me heading out to Wheel of Fortune. Miraculously, after booking the trip, Dean's surgery was moved up one week, so I no longer had to miss it!
When the time came to fly out, I was really excited. I had never been to California. My mother and I both did crosswords throughout the entire flight just to get some extra practice in before the show. We landed in Los Angeles, got something to eat, and then headed to the hotel. When we go back to the hotel, I went through the informational packet from Wheel of Fortune a few times to make sure I had everything in order for the show.
The next morning, I went to the studio, met the contestant coordinators, ran through all the rules and regulations, and randomly picked my show and position. I was really happy to get the 1st show! We then got to practice spinning the wheel and playing the game for a little bit. I was getting pretty confident because I was winning the Toss-Ups and solving some puzzles. After practice, I went back to the waiting room, got a pep talk from the contestant coordinators and waited impatiently for my show to begin. Tune in on January 31st to find out how it turned out!!!