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Gordon prof on ‘Jeopardy’ tonight

After years of being a fan, Gordon State College Professor Marc Muneal finally made it to the set as a contestant on the iconic game show, Jeopardy. Of the 100,000 people who take the qualifying test each year, only 400 end-up as actual contestants, Muneal explained. Muneal says he has watched the show since he was ’11 or 12,’ and tried to win an audition three times. His first attempt was in college, then another attempt in graduate school. Last spring he learned that he was scheduled to audition for the show in May ‘“ leaving little time to prepare. ’I did not study for the audition. There wasn’t time. It was the end of the semester and I had just finished giving exams,’ he said. ‘I told myself, ‘˜I’m just going to go in there with what I know and see where it gets me.” The audition was successful and in August he filmed the show that will broadcast Monday. ’I’d just finished teaching my summer class, I was working on getting ready for the fall semester, and I had a little bit of extra time,’ he said. ‘So, I was able to do some studying for the actual performance. I read through some books that gave a brief synopsis on major issues in different fields and I spent a lot of time watching documentaries, specifically around American presidents. By doing this, I learned about everything connected with them, such as wars, policy, and government.’ Muneal assumed he would have the least trouble with any category on the topics of television and television history. ’I really enjoy reading about television history and broadcast history so I was really looking forward to having those as possible categories,’ he said. Two categories that he most dreaded were American sports and 19th century literature. ’I wasn’t born in this country and so many of the sports I grew up knowing about are not really the sports that are played here,’ he explained. ‘I was nervous about being quizzed on 19th century literature because I was worried that a question would come up and I would completely blank or freeze up and then not be able to face my students or live it down, being an English professor.’ Muneal says that he enjoyed sharing the experience with the other contestants as much as he enjoyed playing Jeopardy. ’The best part of the experience is that you get to know the other contestants. We all shared the same fears and were equally nervous,’ Muneal said. ‘The atmosphere was not cut-throat at all. We were in it together and the Jeopardy staff really went the distance in making sure that everyone was enjoying the experience as a game and having fun with one another.’ And the outcome? He’s not allowed to talk about that but tune in Monday. Jeopardy airs at 7:30 p.m. on most local NBC affiliates. -Tamara Boatwright, Gordon State College

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