Archive for Thursday, December 15, 2005

Opinion: “Survivor” winner earns the hype

December 15, 2005

I'm sure by now you've all heard the hype about Tonganoxie native Danni Boatwright bringing home the million-dollar prize on this season's running of the popular reality show, "Survivor."

Like it or not, you're about to hear more.

Like many people out there, I absolutely hate reality TV. Shows like the Real World, Big Brother and the Bachelor drive me bonkers.

But for some reason, I've always been a fan of "Survivor." I just am. I've watched every season, except the first, and I've thoroughly enjoyed darn near every second of every show during that time.

Until recently, I wasn't sure what it was about the show that got me. But shortly after Danni won this season, I started to figure it out.

Believe it or not, "Survivor" is full of all the things that make sports great. Now hear me out. I'm not about to sit here and tell you that "Survivor" actually is a sport. Heck, ping pong, curling and even those boring dog shows they put on ESPN during the Super Bowl are more legitimate sports than the world's most popular television game.

But that doesn't mean Survivor doesn't have elements of athletics involved.

Let's start with perhaps the most important aspect of sports -- competition.

"Survivor" is the ultimate competition. You might not believe that everything you see on the show is real -- after all, it is still Hollywood. But you can bet your baseball card collection that the competition portrayed is very real. Think about it. You've got 16 people battling for 39 days, all believing that they will be strong enough to win the million and be set for life. Wouldn't that make you compete your tail off?

In addition to competition, the game has strategy.

Football coaches constantly look for tendencies when making their gameplans. The Survivor castaways do the same. It might not be written down with X's and O's in some gigantic playbook, but doesn't the fact that they keep all this information in their heads make it all the more impressive?

Without strategy and some wit, you can't win the grand prize in this game.

You could be the strongest person in the world, or even the smartest, but if you can't plan your attack and think quickly on your feet, you're done. Same thing goes for the gridiron or the basketball court.

And then there's communication. Time and again "Survivor" has shown us that if you're a loner or if you don't have good social skills, you'll be viewed as a threat and kicked off quickly. The same can be said for communication in sports. If teams can't -- or simply don't -- communicate and work together, the chances of them winning very many games is slim.

There you have it. Competition, strategy and communication; these three things that make sports so great are also vital components of "Survivor."

And that's to say nothing of the heart it takes to get through the game. These people live in the jungle for a month, they eat as much in three weeks as some of us do in a day, yet they still find the strength to survive. I'm not saying it's the most amazing accomplishment in the world.

But it earns my respect -- mine and that of 60 million others.

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