By Chris Chase | Busted Racquet – Tue, Mar 13, 2012 12:56 PM EDT
It happens every June like a rite of summer. Uppity British journalists and/or American tennis fans scoff when the less sophisticated among us butcher the name of the most hallowed event in the sport.
“Wimbledon,” they say, affecting a slight British accent, even if they’re from Parsippany. Each syllable is quick, but distinct. The first three letters are accentuated. “Whim.” The middle three are softly pushed from your lips. “Bull.” For the final syllable, you move your tongue to the roof of your mouth. “Din.”
A Nebraska man found out the particulars of the pronunciation on Monday’s episode of “Jeopardy.” Reid Rodgers correctly answered a question (or questioned an answer) about the first women’s champion at an 1884 tennis tournament. “WimbleTIN,” he said, with a distinct hint of Midwestern twang.
Even after being exposed to the syllable police for years, I didn’t notice the verbal faux pas. Neither did Alex Trebek. He awarded Rodgers his $400 and moved to the next question.
A moment later, before Rodgers was set to receive a Daily Double answer, Trebek issued a ruling.
“I’m informed that you very clearly said Wimble-TON not Wimble-DIN a few moments ago,” Trebek told him.
Rodgers’ money was taken away and the railroad mechanic had money deducted for the incorrect answer. His total went from $1,000 to $200.
Alright, first off, he didn’t say “Wimble-TON.” He said “Wimble-TIN,” Trebek. Neither is right, but the least you could have done with accurately quote his mistake. (Leave it to Trebek to smarmily add that “very clearly.” If it was so clear, why didn’t you hear it first, bub?)
Second of all, COME ON! We all know what Rodgers was trying to say. He knew the answer. Is it his fault that he was born an American and, thus, a brutish rogue who doesn’t appreciate the King’s English?
“Dialectical bias,” CBS Sports blogger Will Brinson wrote on Twitter.
Like Alex Trebek should talk. Just last week he was sputtering out umlauts like a college kid in Intro to German.
We feel for you, Reid Rodgers. And don’t worry about your lack of tennis pronunciation. Bud Collins has been involved with the sport for 60 years and still can’t say “Navratilova.”