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‘Who is’ Alex Trebek?

by Casey Masterson

One of the first times that I remember watching “Jeopardy!” was in my grandmother’s house. I would sit in her chair and furrow my brows as I tried to get the answers right. I was only in elementary school, so I knew none of the answers, but I remember growing up watching contestants try to prove how much they knew, while the illustrious Alex Trebek oversaw it all.

Trebek passed away on Nov. 8, 2020, at 80 years old, from his battle with pancreatic cancer. He fought the disease for nearly two years while he continued to host the beloved game show, every weekday night.

Flash forward to middle school and I am watching “Jeopardy!” again. My mother and I are visiting my Aunt Nancy, who was battling against leukemia. “Final jeopardy” is called and I know the answer: “What is the dust bowl.”

My mom and my aunt are skeptical; they think the answer is something different, but I’m right. They are happy and surprised.

This is one of the last memories that I have with my Aunt Nancy before she lost her own cancer battle. “Jeopardy!” is special to me, not just because of Aunt Nancy, but because this game show helped me learn and grow with my family, as it did with so many who watched.

There are so many families who watch “Jeopardy!” every night, together. Trebek has been on people’s televisions and in their homes nearly every weeknight since 1984. In his 36 years on air, Trebek has communicated knowledge through generations of viewers. Now, he is gone.

Katlyn Pruitt | The Montclarion

Katlyn Pruitt | The Montclarion

Years have passed since middle school and I am now in The Montclarion’s office. It is an average Wednesday night during production day. Someone reminds us that it is nearly 7 p.m. and we turn on the television.

I race against Thomas Neira, who was then the entertainment editor, for the answers in the entertainment category. Ben Caplan, the photography editor, jokingly yells out, “Napoleon Bonaparte,” before a clue is even given, and he is correct.

We all laugh.

Back before the days of the pandemic, The Montclarion staff used to gather around the television and compete to get the answers.

Mackenzie Robertson, former managing editor, called me the “Jeopardy Queen.” I know most of the answers now.

Sure, I owe that to a lot of different sources, but I will give it to Trebek for making learning so much fun.

Thanks for the knowledge, the answers and the good times.

Q: This man will be missed sorely by the audience he amassed over 36 years?

A: Who is Alex Trebek?

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