All great streaks must end, eventually.
Cal Ripken played 2,632 straight baseball games, then sat one out.
The UCLA men’s basketball team won 88 consecutive games, then lost
My 4 1/2 year old son suffered a tiny bump or bruise and didn’t cry… no wait, sorry, that streak of tears is still going.
Anyway, you get my point.
Monday night, millions of viewers across America watched, stunned with mouths agape, as the great “Jeopardy James” Holzhauer was finally defeated on the quiz show.
Mere thousands of dollars shy of breaking Ken Jennings’ all-time record money haul, Holzhauer, the professional sports gambler from Vegas, lost.
He lost to a 27-year-old librarian from Chicago named Emma, who once wrote a dissertation on how to win at “Jeopardy” and the difficulty level of the clues come up. He lost for a bunch of reasons, none of which were that he got any answers wrong (he didn’t buzz in and get a single one wrong, incredibly.)
James’ streak died because he came up against a fantastic player, yes.
But he also ran out of luck with Daily Doubles, the biggest reason he’s been able to win more than two million dollars on the show over the past several weeks.
He found the first Daily Double on the first clue of the game, which meant James could only wager $1,000 at most. Then in the Double Jeopardy round, Emma found both Daily Doubles, and passed, then padded, her lead over James.
So the great Holzhauer, who I found so entertaining with his breadth of knowledge and cool wagers, never got a chance to run up a big score like he always does.
I embedded the last two minutes of the episode from Monday above; check out how the crowd gasps when they realize James lost, then listen to how choked up Alex Trebek gets at the end! He’s legit bummed that James is done.
Bravo, young Jedi Master James. We all bow before you. Now let’s get that head-to-head matchup with Ken Jennings scheduled and on TV, pronto.
**Next up today, there’s no way in the world once I saw this, that I wasn’t putting it here.
Def Leppard is one of my all-time favorite bands, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is one of their classic songs, and Billy Joel, God bless him, tries to spice up his monthly Madison Square Garden shows every once in a while.
So he had Joe Elliott, the band’s lead singer, come out for a duet on “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with him Sunday night.
Very freaking cool. 1989 me would be freaking out if I saw this live. (By the way, how incredible is fan-taken live concert footage quality these days? Remember when it used to be all grainy and out of focus?)
**And finally today, oh man, Tuesday was a glorious day for me and the other tennis nuts out there. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both won their quarterfinals at Roland Garros, and that means on Friday morning, we get Fedal 39, the 39th meeting ever between two of the 5-6 greatest men’s tennis players of all time.
Yes, after eight years of them not playing each other at the French Open, and four years after Federer last played in Paris at this clay-court Slam, we get another installment of one of the best rivalries in the history of the sport.
The enormous Fed fan in me wants to believe Roger can beat the best clay-courter ever, that he’s been turning back time for a few weeks, and accomplish the one feat he never has: Beating Rafa in his backyard, Roland Garros.
But I dunno… it’s going to be incredibly tough. Nadal is playing so damn well right now, and he’s not tired at all from the cakewalk matches he’s been having so far at this tournament.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be special. These two incredible sportsman, both so worthy of emulation for the way they carry themselves on and off the court, might never play again at a Slam.
So I’m sure as hell going to savor this meeting Friday, however it turns out. And if you’re a sports fan, so should you.