Trivial Pursuits

So what are you going to be doing at 7:30 tonight? Could it be that you will be glued to the TV watching Mattea Roach win another round of Jeopardy!?

We Canadians have trivia in our genes. The world-famous game, Trivial Pursuit, was created by 3 local folks. One of them, Ed Werner, was a neighbour of a friend in Niagara On The Lake. He delighted in entertaining people with stories of how the 3 young guys would sit around somebody’s dining room table, (probably drinking beer and) making up trivial questions. Little did they know that they would all become millionaires from this silly pastime.

Then there’s Alex Trebek, the celebrity host of Jeopardy! for 37 years. Alex was born in Sudbury, to a father who had emigrated from Ukraine and a French mother, the perfect multicultural family. His first job was with CBC hosting the news. He moved on to hosting the high school game show, Reach For the Top. It was a kind of general knowledge program, a forerunner of the trivial pursuit era. Next, Alex moved to the US where he became an American citizen and the game show host. After his death, the final episode of Jeopardy!, with Alex as host, aired in January, 2021.

These days Ken Jennings, the highest winning contestant on the show, is now the stand-in host. And that brings us to Mattea Roach. Born in Halifax and educated at U of T, Mattea has won more games than any other Canadian contestant, and most American contestants too! Her parents, interviewed on CBC, said that she knew the letters of the alphabet at 18 months, and could read at age 3. Still, at 23, she has only had 20 years to amass all that knowledge. Last night she answered questions about reptiles, hairstyles, the Boston Tea Party, Shakespeare, congressional bills, the Virgin Islands, and Louis the 13th. Incredible!

Mattea is also a superstar at strategy. She hangs onto that button for dear life and often presses it before the topic is announced; she is that sure of her answers. She knows how to bet too, winning one game last week by $1.00. Her total winnings to date are almost $500,000. She says she will use the money to pay off her student loans, and maybe the loans of friends and family too! She is now the 5th-highest winning contestant on Jeopardy!

So tonight at 7:30, try your hand at trivia and cheer on our current Canadian hero. No need to drive anywhere at night, no chance of picking up Covid from others, a fridge and a bathroom nearby: the perfect entertainment.


Mattea Roach, Jeopardy hero

5 thoughts on “Trivial Pursuits

  1. Actually she has paid off her student loans and is now saving for a house. She is quite remarkable to watch in action and is nice on top of it.


  2. Wonderful. Would she have not qualified for schoiarships throughout her studies? Cheers to all the bright Canadians.


  3. Yay, Sue!
    I loved Alex and Jeop is an evening ritual with my brother.
    One of my favourite characters was James, The High Roller. So cocky, so unabashedly competitive. I wonder how he is in real life.

    Matea is a chatty one LOL. She knows her stuff, yet postures with that rising tone that women have at the end of their phrases. Ken looks annoyed at times. Matea must be an awesome tutor.
    Though nowhere near Matea’s class, I always thought about trying to get on. I’ve done the practice tests. The main reason: Alex loved horses, and you’ll notice that there is always a “horse” themed question, even if peripherally. I don’t think they’ve ever had a horseperson on as a contestant. Alas, I am too old now. My retention for new data is unreliable, and some categories hopeless: pop culture, for one.


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