If any of my followers are into Jeopardy! and watch religiously as I do, you are probably aware of 11-day champion Austin Rogers by now. The bartender from New York has taken the game show world by storm with his wild and amusing antics as well as his intelligence – he’s amassed nearly $400,000 in winnings in his 11 games. For those who are not followers, here are some outtakes from his appearances up through October 6th.
A lot of people are describing Austin in different ways, from “quirky” to “weird” to “funny” to “annoying.” However, I think I see something in him that not many other people see – I think he’s probably on the autism spectrum, whether or not he realizes it himself (and for all I know he might have an official diagnosis as such).
The reason I mention this is I see so much of myself in him from the days in which I was on a game show. Yes, I was on a game show many years ago, albeit not a nationally syndicated one; rather just a local one. When I was in high school I was part of my high school’s team in the KTXS Academic Challenge – a tournament-style quiz bowl that was hosted by the KTXS news station in Abilene, TX. I competed for two years in the series before its ultimate demise, but I still have video taped recordings of my appearances on the show (who even knows what a video tape is these days?). Post high-school, every time I’ve watched them I’ve just cringed. I was not the stoic, cool, calm collected contestant everyone else was – I was definitely energetic, into the game and acting like a total idiot. You know, kind of like Austin Rogers?
Again, this is just a theory that should be taken with a grain of salt. I’m not claiming this as gospel truth. Alas, my autistic radar is pretty damn good and more often than not I’m right about my intuitions that someone might be on the autism spectrum. Of course, I have been known to be wrong too – nobody said it works 100% of the time.
So what do you think? Do you think I’m onto something here, or am I just reading something into this brilliant yet quirky J! champion that isn’t there? If you’ve been watching J! I’d like to know what your thinking is. Whatever the case, he’s certainly made the show more lively in his appearances and I’d be willing to bet he sticks around awhile more. Will he beat Ken Jennings’ record of 74 straight wins? That’s yet to be seen, but if anyone since Ken’s appearances have the chance to, I’d give it to him.