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Old 05-25-2017, 02:53 AM
DKW is offline
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 2,961
FYI...since itís kinda fun to make up terms for things that happen on reality shows (I was more than a little bummed when American Idol instituted the judgesí save and I couldnít use ďBice scareĒ anymore), hereís another: ďlissitahĒ. I.e. LSYTTA - Letís see you try that again, for when the matchup for the tiebreaker is the same as for the anchor heat. That was a line I remember from some old cartoons, when some schmoe would suffer some kind of beatdown, pick himself up, and say something along the lines of ďAll right, tough guy...letís see you try that again!Ē, which of course invariably resulted in a second drubbing. (Prime example at around the 3:40 mark of this classic.) Athletic contests, of course, arenít governed by the Rule of Funny, but you gotta admit it takes some courage to accept an immediate rematch over someone who beat you, thinking that the second time's the charm.

Right-o! Five down, two to go! Someoneís gotta win this!


Real Life Beasts: James ďThe BeastĒ McGrath, Erica Cook, Drew Dreschel
All these darkhorses are starting to run together for me...

The Ballers: Lorin Ball, Meiling Huang, Paul Kasemir
And of course, the captain is running leadoff. Itís kind of like the ďIf a tree falls in a forestĒ question, except in this case itís ďIf a captain calls himself a captain but plays the role of a leadoff man, does that make me wish I ever gave a crap about the Ďcaptainí label since I now have a reason to stop doing so?Ē

Labreckfast Club: Noel Reyes, Jesse ďFlexĒ LaBreck, Jon Alexis Jr.
Good lord, I didnít think Iíd ever see a name more horrendous than ďElet-trikzĒ. Itís never a good sign when the star is the position with the least impact on the teamís chances (see also: Graff, Jessie; Martin, Meagan; Warnky, Michelle; Catanzaro, Kacy). Alexis Jr. is a physical powerhouse, but one wonders if he has the stamina for this.

Stratis Faction: Mike Bernardo, Grace Sims, Ryan Stratis
One of the stronger teams last time, and thereís no reason to believe they wonít contend again. The big question is Stratis, whose locking up in the clutch doomed them. Has he learned how to be the man?

Fifth obstacle: Spin Cycle - Three suspended rotating baskets at different angles.

= 1st match: Real Life Beasts vs. The Ballers =
__L: McGrath vs. Ball - McGrath takes the early lead, gets caught in the first Ring of Fire gap but gets out and through easily, and is smooth through Swing Jump. Heís not especially fast, but it becomes academic after Ball whiffs on the first swing. McGrath gets a little wild on the third Spin Cycle basket but recovers, and the rest is history. McGrath/finish

Uh oh...looks like that little mishap on Spin Cycle wasnít so little. His right arm twisted badly, and heís lying in pain for a while. Dammit, a reality show is not important enough for people to be getting hurt on!

__W: Cook vs. Huang - The announcers arenít ever going to get to the part where Cook singlehandedly wrecked her team in the final, are they? Ah, well. Wait, are they pronouncing every Chinese name as ďWongĒ now? Good lord. Anyway...Cook is shaky early, needing a second attempt on the second Sonic Swing rope. Huang gets caught in the second Ring of Fire gap but is out on her first attempt. Cook hits the same place...and makes a successful second gap dismount! Never thought Iíd see a woman pull it off! On to Swing Jump, where Huang keeps up her steady pace, followed by...Cook completely unable to reach the net! Worse, she somehow gets turned completely around. Huang looks a bit tired, but she avoids mistakes and gets up the wall on the first attempt. A very pretty win from the unknown! Huang/fi...

Wait...Cook went out after Huang hit the buzzer? I donít think so; the gap wasnít that big. So realistically, that should be a distance win...right? Right???? Oh, great, now here I am screaming for a split screen for what seems like the 5,000th time.

Sheesh, save your damn energy, Huang. You donít look like you have much to spare.

__A: Dreschel vs. Kasemir - Both men find the second gap; Dreschel handles it much better, and Kasemirís merely a spectator at that point. Dreschel bounds through the solos on Floating Tiles, hand-over-hands Spin Cycle, and trundles up the wall without a care in the world. Dreschel/finish

Good news; McGrath is hurting a bit, but heís decided to play through it. Definitely glad Iím not going to be seeing an alternate this early.

= 2nd match: Labreckfast Club vs. Stratis Faction =
__L: Reyes vs. Bernardo - Yes, Alexis, the pants kinda gave it away. Bernardo has a strong start with a second gap dismount but looks awkward on the Swing Jump net, and Reyes flies in out of nowhere. ([clap clap] SPLIT SCREEN! [clap clap] SPLIT SCREEN!) Bernardo remains ahead but gets his feet wet. He faceplants coming out of Floating Tiles but stays alive. Reyes doggedly catches up again, while Bernardo misses the first transition on Spin Cycle. Both make the second and third transitions...and theyíre even going up the wall! Itís going to be a finish even more exciting than the recently-concluded Preakness Stakes, and I donít know why I threw that in there, these things just happen! Reyes/soooooooo close
__W: Labreck vs. Sims - Little more than a practice run for Labreck after Sims is hopelessly stymied by Ring of Fire. Labreck/finish
__A: Alexis vs. Stratis - Yeesh...all the more reason to hope Stratis doesnít hit the buzzer. Ever. And is it really such a shocker that not every single goddam 6í6Ē jock is going to take up basketball?? Honestly...anyway, not much to this one either. Alexis is clean through Ring of Fire and powers his way through the rest of the course, and Stratis simply canít keep up. Alexis/finish

You know, if I were Alexis, and especially after I just completed a sweep, Iíd be seriously ticked off at announcers assuming Iím stupid just because Iím big. Just sayiní.

= 3rd match: Real Life Beasts vs. Stratis Faction =
__L: McGrath vs. Bernardo - McGrath has an early lead through Sonic Swing. McGrath is clean through Ring of Fire, while Bernardo hits the second gap but pulls off a nice dismount from there. McGrath is quick through Swing Jump, while Bernardo is quick...into the water. Gbajabiamila said it best: ďHe just flat out misses the net.Ē A bizarre blunder from someone who nearly prevailed just a few minutes ago. McGrath/distance
__W: Cook vs. Sims - Sims handles the gaps much better this time but gets turned around and canít dismount cleanly, and Cook slides on past. Cook needs a second swing on Swing Jump, and Sims takes the lead but makes a pretty big splash. That doesnít bother her on Floating Tiles, and sheís the first to the baskets. Cook is faster through the tiles and closes the gap. She make the first transition faster too, and now itís neck-Ďn-neck! Cook reaches the third basket and makes a very bad dismount, almost landing flat on her face, but picks herself up. Sims is close behind, and it comes down to the wall...and Simsí last, tiny hope of relevance is snuffed out as she canít get up at all. A textbook case of winning ugly. Cook/finish

And now Stratis Faction, who had such high hopes coming in, are once again in danger of tying the all time worst ever single day record. Yeah, they sprung back from the abyss in last yearís semis, but itís not happening again. Like, forget it. It was a one-in-a-million fluke. Stratis Faction is done, toast, meat, toasted meat on meaty toast.

__A: Dreschel vs. Stratis - Dreschel sets a fast pace, quickly powering out of the second Ring of Fire gap and never looking back. Stratis, again, just doesnít have what it takes to keep pace, and Dreschel is a full obstacle ahead by the time he gets to Spin Cy...DRESCHEL IS DOWN! DRESCHEL IS DOWN! He wasnít rushing or looking back or anything, he just plain whiffs with the right hand on the first basket and falls! An inexplicable unforced error. Now Stratis, who saw everything, yíknow, being behind and all, just needs to patiently work his way across the baskets, which he does. Stratis Faction gains one last spark of hope, and the deep, dark pit of absolute failure still belongs to Wild Bunch alone. Stratis/distance

Now what? Of course Dreschel canít in good conscience risk further injury to McGrathís shoulder, so he has to step up. But whoís it going to be for Stratis Faction? Iíve seen Bernardo and Stratis several times, and I canít say that one is a lot better than the other in any respect. It looks like 50/50 call, honestly.

__T: Dreschel vs. Bernardo - Remember, when you make a wishy-washy 50/50 prediction, you are never wrong! Dreschel takes the early lead and is clean through Ring of Fire again, while Bernardo pulls off another second gap dismount. Bernardo gets a better push on Swing Jump, but Dreschel is more agile coming out and maintains the lead. Dreschel uses solos only on Floating Tiles, while Bernardo does the same...then tumbles forward and falls! The replay showed that his center of gravity was too far forward after his first leap, he got no height on his second leap, and the wall did the rest. If this event had a ďWarrior WipeoutĒ, this wouldíve won it easily. Dreschel completes Spin Cycle, looks back, and stops, satisfied in a job well done. Dreschel/distance

Man, ďTo finish first, you must first finishĒ is making itself known today.

= 4th match: Labreckfast Club vs. The Ballers =
__L: Reyes vs. Ball - Itís a close one at the onset. Both are clean through Ring of Fire, then Reyes is quicker to the net but Ball is quicker off it (this is really becoming a thing, isnít it). Reyes is the first to Floating Tiles, bounding through it...and Ball holds off! He completely waits until his opponent finishes the obstacle before beginning it! I can understand not wanting to fight him on the tiles (itís ended more than a few runs), but at least keep it close! His timidity seals his fate; Reyes doesnít lose even half a step on Spin Cycle and happily charges to victory. Reyes/finish
__W: Labreck vs. Huang - Iím betting this one ends up on YouTube! Labreck has a slim lead going into the rings. She gets caught in the first gap, while Huang is clean...ooh, came out of it pretty badly, but she gets back to her feet and has the lead. As Labreck struggles to clear the second gap, Huang wastes no time with Swing Jump, taking a little water but still well ahead. Huang is a bit tentative but has no trouble with Floating Tiles. Labreck clears them easily, but Huang has impressive upper-body strength and is just manhandling the baskets, and all of a sudden Labreck is in serious danger. Sheís in the middle of the last transition when Huang dismounts. Weíve seen Huang get up the wall before, so itís do or die for Labreck now. Itís a race to the line...both go up...and...Huang...comes up two feet short! It looks like either the pace or the pressure has caught up to her at the worst possible time. Labreck makes it up easily and can finally, finally breathe easily. But give all the props to her opponent who, to pull out another sports saying, did everything but win. Labreck/finish

First 0-5, now 5-0, which means...ohhhhhh no. Not even thinking about it. Iíve tempted fate once, and that is plenty enough.

__A: Alexis vs. Kasemir - Alexis is faster through Sonic Swing. Both find the second gap in Ring of Fire, go for the dismount...and thatíll do it, as Alexis splashes down and Kasemir lands safely. Kasemir/distance

Well. You figure that even if Kasemir was able to pull off the upset, Alexis couldíve worn him down with a punishing full-burner sprint to the buzzer, and then Reyes could step in to deliver the knockout punch. Now they have to make the call. Go with the man who might not be up to the pressure of a tiebreaker, or go with the man who might not be able to match Kasemirís speed?

__T: Alexis vs. Kasemir - Lissitah! (See, thereís a reason I put all that stuff at the top! ) The start is a virtual repeat of the last heat, with Alexis leading early but hitting the second gap. He manages to avoid disaster a second time, but Kasemir is successful out of the gap again, and all of a sudden he has a comfortable lead. Kasemir is smooth through Swing Jump, while Alexis misses the first attempt...and hits the water! He still has a grip on the swing, so heís not out yet, but the comfortable lead soon become a commanding one. Kasemir clears Floating Tiles using only the solos (yeah, Iím going to have to come up with a term for this). Alexis finally rights the ship, but Kasemir is already onto the baskets. One transition down, then...he messes up the second transition and is hung out to dry! But he manages to correct himself, and, with Alexis still hopelessly behind, there is no fighting the inevitable. You have to feel for Alexis; were it not for his colossal bungle on Swing Jump, Kasemirís mistake on the second basket wouldíve easily been enough to give him the victory. Kasemir/finish

[host of The Voice whose name I donít know and I donít care enough about that ridiculous show to look it up voice]We have a steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaalllllllll!!![/HOTVWN oh the bloody hell with it ]

= Final: The Ballers (Huang, Ball, Kasemir) vs. Real Life Beasts (Cook, McGrath, Dreschel) ==
Huang is clean, lands hard (a virtual repeat of the Labreck match), but is up and on to the swing. Cook struggles to extricate herself from the second gap and has fallen well behind. Ball bunny-hops across the solos Cook really that far back? (You know exactly where Iím going with this, so Iíll spare you. )

McGrath takes off like a rocket, but he has to get through Spin Cycle on a bad shoulder if his team is going to have any chance. Kasemir gets the tag while McGrath...just made the second transition and is charging to the wall! And he just flew up the wall and made the tag effortlessly! I donít know how much is urgency and how much is [issue Iím definitely going to bring up later], but that was impressive no matter what. Kasemir is only on the third rung when Dreschel begins the ladder.

This is going to be a classic, folks! Powerful anchor against powerful anchor, side by side, neck and neck, toe to toe, clawing and scratching every step of the way, too close to call until the very end, and itís going to come down to a war on Invisible Ladder, where theyíll have to fight, fight, fight for each inch, arms burning, veins bulging, sweat pouring out of every pore, and itís going to come down to one final, incredible fingertip lunge for that most precious of...


Yeeahhh. Kasemir is briefly on the fifth rung, and then the right side just slips right back out and sends him to a watery loserís circle. Fitting that a day defined by big mistakes would be decided by one. Dreschel, who probably thought he actually had a brutal fight to the finish, now just has to get from point A to point B, and they donít call him ďMr. ConsistencyĒ for nothing. (Iím not hep up to all these cornball nicknames, so Iím just going to assume that Mr. Consistency is him.) Dreschel finishes the rest of the course for good measure as if to say ďYou canít call yourself Mr. Consistency unless you can finish the course!Ē If he does call himself Mr. Consistency. Which Iím assuming he does.

MVP picks: McGrath, Labreck. Sorry, no anchor; want to give it to Dreschel, but he was more lucky than good and I canít ignore that collapse against Stratis. (This is getting hard; seriously considering revamping this next time.) Special mention to Meiling Huang, who looked very impressive in her rookie debut. (Sigh)...the top women just donít have a chance, do they?