Charlotte Wood Middle School history teacher Steve Knapp showed off his range of trivia knowledge for the whole country to see, appearing on an episode of "Jeopardy!" that aired late last month.
Knapp, who finished in second place behind juggernaut champion Ryan Long, said his experience competing on the long-running TV game show and being around the famed studio was "amazing ... just a day filled with super-cool people."
"Walking up to the podiums for the first time ... it's difficult to describe," Knapp told DanvilleSanRamon. "Seeing the set from the audience seating, it looks pretty similar to what you see on the show, just with lots of cameras. Behind the podium, it was like, 'Whoa, this is pretty cool.' The game board appears to be much farther away, and, well, I thought the clues would be bigger."
"The game play was pretty much a blur," he added. "After the recording, I only remembered three of the questions I'd responded to, and one that I should have but didn't -- I totally know Janet Evans was a swimmer! When it aired, most of it came back to me."
During the episode, which was prerecorded and broadcast nationally last Monday (May 30), Knapp got off to a bit of a slow start, but a late judging reversal put him in second position after the opening round.
Knapp finished regular game play in second at $8,400, but the margin heading into "Final Jeopardy" was already a runaway for the leader Long at $18,000.
All three players missed the final clue (response was Sidney Poitier in the category of "In Memoriam 2022"), and based on their wagers, Knapp wound up in second place to earn the preset runner-up prize of $2,000. It marked Long's 12th win in a run that continued through the week and stood at 16 in a row ahead of this Monday's episode.
"We knew Ryan was an 11-time champion going in, but I was on the first show that recorded that day, so I hadn't seen him play. He's an incredibly nice person, and -- in a season full of great players -- I'll be pulling for him in the Tournament of Champions," Knapp said.
"Maybe there's some extra Jeopardy credibility in saying, 'I lost to multi-day champion Ryan Long,'" Knapp added.
During contestant introductions, host Mayim Bialik asked Knapp to share about the time he broke multiple bones while at a Celtic punk rock show.
"I need to know everything about that," Bialik said.
Knapp recalled for the host and TV audience, "There was a big and energetic mosh pit, and sometimes people fall over," Knapp said. "Someone fell on my leg and (I) got picked right back up again and knew right away that something wasn't right. And some people helped my hop back to the back of the venue, and unfortunately I missed the rest of the show and spent my time in the emergency room."
In hindsight, Knapp told DanvilleSanRamon, "There were a couple things I left out of the interview, because I felt I was going on for too long. Flogging Molly deserved a shout-out."
Looking back on his "Jeopardy!" experience, the teacher at Danville's Charlotte Wood also kept his students front-of-mind.
"What I'd really love to see -- five or 10 years from now -- is one of my former students appearing on the show," Knapp said.