It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game — in this case, the
Tom Lynn, of Radnor-Winston, played so well that a crowd of 50 family members, friends and former colleagues and classmates gave him a standing ovation Monday evening at the Zen West cantina on York Road, where they gathered at his invitation to watch the taped show on a big-screen TV.
Lynn, who taped his appearance in November, was prohibited contractually from telling his guests how he did until the show aired.
"If it's a clue, I will not be treating them to any food or beverages," he said last week. "I might spring for a few nacho platters."
But he said if nothing else, "They'll get to see me. They'll have fun. Any excuse to party."
On Monday, four months after the taping at Universal Studios in Culver City, Calif., the retired Boys' Latin School teacher, former
Lynn was as curious as anyone to see how he did.
"I recall very little of what happened," he said. "It's almost like you're in a fog. It'll be interesting to see."
Despite Lynn low-balling expectations, the crowd had high hopes.
"I think he'll do all right. He's pretty smart," said retired Boys' Latin history teacher and coach Dorsey Boyle.
Friend Robin Smith gave him a "Jeopardy!" board game that she bought at a flea market in the 1970s.
"We have that 'Jeopardy!' thing in common," she said.
Lynn went to a "Jeopardy!" audition in Washington last spring. Also there was Marion Penning, a
"I was surprised I got picked at all," he said.
He had to pay his own way to the taping, but hinted that he won at least enough money to eventually pay himself back.
"I didn't lose any money," he said.
The taping was "surreal," as show officials, intent on ensuring secrecy of the outcome and avoiding cheating, escorted contestants to the bathroom and told the audience to avoid contact with them as they entered the studio, he said.
As the answer-and-question game began, Lynn, 59, started fast, buzzing in on the first answer despite an
Nonetheless, Lynn more than held his own, and led several times. When the game reached Final Jeopardy, he was in second place, ahead of contestant Tyson Schindler, an airline pilot from Texas, and nipping at the heels of returning champion Rachel Liptak, a substitute teacher from California, who had already won more than $19,000 on a previous episode of "Jeopardy!"
In Final Jeopardy, contestants were told that 1939's
Schindler guessed wrong that the unnamed movie was "West Side Story," a 1960s musical.
Then, it was Lynn's turn. Lynn, whom Trebek identified as a property manager because he owns four row houses in west and east Baltimore, correctly guessed "Singing in the Rain," and now led the game.
But Liptak got it right, too, and bet enough money to win the game. Someone in Zen West threw a balled-up napkin at the TV screen in frustration.
But as the 30-minute show ended, the crowd rose and gave Lynn a standing ovation. He took off his cap and waved it to them.
Although he totaled more than $20,000 at the end of the show, he only won $2,000 as the runner-up. The check hasn't arrived yet, and neither has his official photograph with Trebek, he said.
Lynn said the experience alone was well worth it.