‘I’ll take victory for $105,000’
By Victoria Boggiano
Published on Monday, January 8, 2007
"Jeopardy!" proved to be a cakewalk for Christian Haines '01, who wiped out the competition and won $105,000 on a four-game winning streak this past fall.
Haines, a former president of Bones Gate fraternity and participant in the Dartmouth Alliance for Children of Color, has returned to campus after six years of absence to complete his music major.
He said his experience as a musician came in quite handy on the show.
"[Being on TV] wasn't too intimidating," Haines said. "I'm a music major, so I'm used to performing on stage."
And perform he did. Haines was taped in five shows over two days, and won $22,000, $19,000, and $25,200 in his first three shows, respectively, and ended his streak by winning $38,000 on the fourth show. Though he came in second on the fifth show, he stuck around afterwards to see how his opponent fared in later rounds.
Haines said he prepared mostly by watching old episodes of the show, as the show encourages.
"Instead of watching on the couch I would stand up, not scream the answer the second I knew it, practiced the buzzer with a pen, and answered in the form of a question," Haines said.
During his time away from campus, Haines first worked as a copy editor in his hometown of Newport News, Va. He then spent two years working as a staff assistant for Virginia's Third District Representative Robert Scott.
"I went up to DC and worked there for about nine months and they ended up taking me on as a staff assistant and then came back to the district office in Newport News and worked there for another year," Haines said. "At the end of this they let me know that they really want me back but they also care about me and want me to get a degree."
While on "Jeopardy!" Haines got to spend some personal time with Alex Trebek.
"As I kept winning it was neat because it almost became a running conversation with him," Haines said. "At the end of the second game I only bet $401 and Alex was like, '401 bucks?'"
Haines said Trebek was very professional during the taping of every show.
"I saw him talk to two or three different studio audiences and he always gave the same responses in a good way," Haines said. "He never made it seem as though he was bored to be there."
David Hankins '05, a current assistant director of admissions at the College who competed -- and lost -- on one episode of the show, arrived at a slightly different conclusion about Trebek.
"He's kind of different. He's been doing this for so long that he's an unusual guy," Hankins said. "During commercial breaks he would go out and take questions from the audience, and sometimes his answers were a little strange."