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andrew Andrew B.

Never in a million years did I expect to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. I have been playing the game since I was 5 or 6 years old, first as a computer game in the 90s, then as a video game, and then as a handheld electronic game. But playing the game, the actual game, in real life, never crossed my mind. I figured millions upon millions of people try to get on the show, why would they ever choose me?

One night my father in law and I were watching the show, shouting out letters and answers, laughing hysterically, and having a great time. And I thought . . . this is just such a fun game, what is the harm in seeing what the application process is like. It's a hail Mary, but at least I can say I tried. So I did.

I sat on my couch and my wife filmed my 30-second application in just one take. I sent it in and felt good about it - "this was the week I applied to be on Wheel of Fortune." I assumed that would be the highlight. Over one year later, I got a pleasant surprise in my inbox - an invitation to audition for a spot on Wheel of Fortune! My first thought was: these types of things do not normally happen to regular people like me and I was in shock and awe. My second thought was: I am going to do my absolute best at this audition to get on the show.

Right around the time I found out about the audition, my wife and I also found out that she was pregnant with our first child. Fast forward to October 2023 and I get the email from Wheel of Fortune inviting me to a taping! And when is the taping? 12 days after my wife's due date!! I called my wife and said "you know how when it rains it pours? Well sometimes when one amazing thing happens, another does too." And I told her, expecting her to tell me to ask to be on another time, that it was too close to when the baby was coming. But no. Full support to fly out to California and live this incredible dream. With my wife's blessing, I could finally breathe, relax, and soak in this reality that I would be on Wheel of Fortune. I had always envisioned bringing Amelia as my plus 1 to Wheel - but with her unable to travel I found two great replacements: Amelia's dad, Tony, and my best friend from third grade, Henry.

So what did I do to prepare? Well, I dusted off the old, hand-held Wheel of Fortune game I hadn't played since I was a kid and started playing a few times a day. I also started doing the daily toss up puzzles on the Wheel of Fortune website everyday, and downloaded the app. As an attorney who often has to work at home too - it was awesome that my "homework" for this was to play Wheel of Fortune. Over the next few weeks, I had extra pep in my step - I was going to do something that so few people get to do. 

After 11 challenging days and nights learning how to be a dad on the fly, Henry, Tony, and I flew out to Los Angeles for my taping. On tape day, I met a group of amazing people from around the country who were experiencing the same joy and amazement that I was.

My brother Matt had told me: if you solve just 1 puzzle, I'll be proud of you. So what did I do? I solved 5! It felt great to solve the toss up of "Tag You're It" to get some anxiety out of the way - I wouldn't be shut out. I was feeling great about things until my first spin - and the first spin of the game - landed on Bankrupt. And to be honest, it all went by so quickly that watching the show triggered a bunch of memories. The final puzzle I solved was "Norway and Sweden." I am a geography/maps expert, and when I saw that category, I was thinking I have to solve this. But I had no idea what it was, until I guessed "L" on my turn and could solve.

On the night of my show, I hosted a viewing party for family and friends. And my job was so excited about it, they hosted a viewing party for the whole firm the next day! While I did not make the Bonus Round (which was my ultimate goal), I achieved all of my other goals: I made it onto the show, I had an amazing time, I met amazing people, and I solved at least one puzzle. This was one of the best experiences in my life.  It is a reminder that sometimes, you have to throw the hail Mary and try something, because you never know what might happen. I am forever grateful to be a Wheel of Fortune alumni and have a connection to this show for the rest of my life.