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By Laura DeLuca

On the morning of November 8th, we lost a legend. An iconographic symbol of American television game shows. Arguably the best game show host in history. A bold statement, but I’d make a case for it. He was the most intelligible and quick-witted eighty-year-old man that I had ever come across. He had all of his marbles, which is more than what most people have. Especially at that age. Yes, it’s true—we lost Alex Trebek. 

The news broke to me via the official “Jeopardy!” Instagram account on Sunday. According to their website, he lost to his battle with pancreatic cancer, which he was diagnosed with in March of 2019. Despite this diagnosis, he continued to host “Jeopardy!” for the next 18 months. And he did it with a positive attitude and an infectious smile.

Alex Trebek was alive during the tail end of World War II. He was alive when 9/11 happened. He lived to see the internet boom in popularity and got to see iPhones take over our lives. He lived to see a terrifying global pandemic. And, he was just able to see who became President-elect in what is arguably the most controversial election in the past two decades. Not to mention, the first Black and South Asian woman was deemed Vice President-elect. Alex Trebek lived through so many important historical moments and prevailed victor of them all.

As a “Jeopardy!” superfan, I am crushed. Alex Trebek was so bright, charming, and funny. I, as well as many other Americans, associate him with family dinners growing up. “Jeopardy!” brought families together for a fun game night for years. I’m not sure I can stomach it and continue watching if a new host is selected and the show continues. I do not think the same dynamic of the show would be preserved. The game just wouldn’t be the same.

The “Jeopardy!” website states that the remaining episodes filmed will air, which takes us through Christmas of this year. I cannot fathom how eerie it is going to feel to watch Alex Trebek do what he did best for the last handful of times. But, it is stated that this is what he would have wanted. He would have wanted us to see the last times he hosted for us. For that reason alone, I am going to watch them. It just feels right.

As of last year, I became obsessed with “Jeopardy!” I binge-watched seasons and fell back in love with the show. A tiny part of me even dreamed of being on it someday. Without any serious training, I began to get fairly good at answering the questions quickly and accurately. I imagined myself making it on the show, and meeting Alex Trebek. I even just wanted to be in the audience. Knowing I will never even get the chance to meet him is awful.

According to the “Jeopardy” website, Alex Trebek holds a Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of one game show; he hosted over 8,200 episodes of “Jeopardy!”. Imagine the dedication that takes? Or how boring many would find it to host a trivia game show over and over again, with little change regarding the format over its 37 seasons? Many would find it monotonous and painful to sit through. But Alex Trebek came to it with a contagious sense of humor and a true kindness in heart. His love for learning and spreading new information about the most minute topics shone through in every episode. 

In 2020, we have seen a global pandemic that has changed our lives drastically. We have seen extreme political unrest which has made the division of the country painfully clear. Wildfires have blazed California, and fear has run prevalent through most of America. I hate to just hop on the bandwagon that 2020 has seemed to be a universally awful year, but I can’t help it. It’s been brutal. 2021, please be good to us. 

Although Alex Trebek lived a relatively long life, it still feels unfair. He was a part of so many Americans’ childhoods and adult lives. He inspired so many, including myself. Rest in peace Alex Trebek, a true legend in the world of television game shows.

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