I’m sure that many of you are “Jeopardy!” fans and have heard the horrible news that Alex Trebek has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I am devastated. So are my kids. So are the many loyal viewers who follow this amazing game show night after night. Alex (and I’m comfortable calling him by his first name since he has come to my living room almost every evening of the week for the past 30 or so years) is, in my mind, a hero.
He has spent most of his professional life encouraging people to ask questions. He knows a lot, but never really seems to flaunt it. He is serious. He is smart. He is committed (After all, has he ever missed a show or shown up late or seemed distracted? No!).
In a recent article in the New York Times, Ken Jennings (Yes, THAT Ken Jennings) describes Alex this way:
“Here’s the belief that lies at the core of Alex’s TV persona: Jeopardy itself, not he, is the star of the show. It’s all about the format, the players, the facts, the dissemination of answers and questions. It’s hard to imagine any modern TV personality deftly avoiding the spotlight like that.”
I love Alex for that. It’s about the show. It’s about the work. It’s about the contestants.
It makes me think about our work in schools. It’s about the kids. It’s about the learners. It’s just not about us.
I’m rooting for Alex. We need heroes like him to stick around.