Jeopardy! has changed the lives of a good number of intelligent people, including Ryan Long, who recently got to take home $299,400. Before his success on the quiz show, Long felt like he was not living up to his potential.
Ryan felt underproductive despite doing many things. He said the trait was inherited from his father, who was a “jack of all trades,” doing so many things but never entirely living up to his full potential. However, he developed a hunger to do better and pursued a spot on Jeopardy!, despite being skeptical about it. “I knew it was going to be a long shot,” he said. “I just knew I had to do something before it got too late, I just wanted to go out there and at least try because I never really took a shot.”
Ryan Long struggled with his finance prior to the show
The champ had struggled with his finances for a long time, living on welfare and government benefits. He also worked as a driver for rideshare companies to make ends meet. He admits to recognizing his capabilities but also building resentment, which he tried to avoid. “I tried never to let that resentment get to me, but at a certain point, you get 30, then you get 35. Then you start edging towards 40, and it’s like, I guess this is it for me,” he said.
After he had his son, who is now eight years old, Long recounts how “the focus became more on him and making sure he doesn’t waste his potential. So I was more or less giving up on my own aspirations.”
He’s glad he didn’t let fear hold him back
His decision to take a huge step by getting on Jeopardy! paid off, as he won 16 games and prize money, despite losing to Eric Ahasic from Minneapolis on Monday.
“I don’t care what you do or what people tell you you are, what society tells you you are, if you think you can do it, get up there and do it,” he said, encouraging others to go after what they want. “If it’s possible if you feel like you can really do it, then don’t let that fear hold you back.”
Ryan Long hasn’t figured out how he wants to spend the prize money
When asked how he plans to spend the prize money, Long responded, “I’ve been telling people I just want to take my son fishing. That’s pretty much where I’m at. I’ve got to get a bunch of stuff figured out before I can even go kind of crazy. I just made my first ever appointment with an accountant today. I never had a need for an accountant, or a lawyer. Now, I’m looking into getting both, and it’s really trippy.”
Sharing his thoughts o his final game, where he lost to meteorologist Ahasic, he said he did not feel like he threw the game. “I saw somebody say that I threw the game, I didn’t throw the game. I didn’t lay down for it, but I wasn’t sad that I lost either, I felt like I was maybe ready to go. But I didn’t lay down…” he said.