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December 31, 2014

An ode to Sarah McNitt

It’s December 31, so I have license to get a little sappy. But why not? It’s been a great year – from the publicity Arthur Chu brought to The Final Wager, to hanging out at the Tournament of Champions, to ruining Jeopardy!, I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of continuing this project. It might have even played a role in launching my journalism career.

There is one person I’d like to single out, though: Sarah McNitt.

Sarah made her Jeopardy! debut on January 14, 2014. That evening, my brother and I visited one of the fine drinking establishments of northwest D.C. before firing up the DVR to catch the game.

There was nothing particularly notable about the match – until Sarah’s Final Wager was revealed. Our reaction became an instant classic.

Had Sarah won just one or two games, the whole episode would have been an amusing footnote. But then Sarah wagered 4,000 in her second and third victories, as well – and ended up with five wins, qualifying her for the Tournament of Champions.

Of course, 4,000 became an in-joke here – and Sarah had an incredible sense of humor about the whole thing.

Keith Williams Sarah McNitt 4000

There must have been an easier way to spell out “4,000”.

Of all of the things I read this year, one of my favorites was this guest post on Sarah’s blog. It was written by Sarah’s internet friend Jessica; the two had never met in person but had a lot in common.

Jessica followed Sarah’s run with great interest. So did Jessica’s kids. Her sons even created a theme song: The Ballad of Sarah McNitt. It’s super cute.

The moment we saw it for the first time, Cory and I resolved to cover The Ballad of Sarah McNitt. Two months after our original viewing, we were finally in the same place.

So, in honor of Sarah, and in appreciation of her cool demeanor, here it is.

Thank you for a fantastic 2014; I’m looking forward to an even better 2015. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  1. Jessica permalink

    I’m delighted. The boys are delighted. This is awesome. Thank you.

    (I have actually now met Sarah, but it was in the summer, after her first run on Jeopardy! was over, and she was just as delightful in person as I’d thought she might be. That was in the 1000 words of that blog post that ended up getting cut.)

  2. I am touched. Thank you, Keith and Cory, for being part of my year!

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