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Amazing Race 5 Team Dynamics: Don't Cry for Alison, Argentina...by Brian Sackett -- 07/15/2004
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"Oh what a circus, oh what a show." For you opera buffs out there, you know that's the start of the great Evita. Oh, Evita. The story of a woman who was drunk with power, only to find herself pushing away those she was closest to and ultimately self-destructing. Doesn't that sound familiar? This week on the Amazing Race, we saw teams who worked great and teams who just plain sank. Let's take a closer look at what happened and how it will affect the race from here on in:
Team Spirited: Brandon and Nicole seemed to get their act together this week. They actually seemed as if they were enjoying the race and each other's company. They worked well throughout this entire second leg, whether it was in the parking lot with the marked cars, on the ferry, or in a cemetery. Encouragement on the part of both teammates helped them run a flawless race this week. Both were positive and full of energy, didn't bicker, and thought ahead. They chose the right detour path (Tango) and completed it on the first try. Then, while in the corral, Brandon's effort was matched by Nicole's spirited cheering. If they keep this up I wouldn't be surprised to see them close or at first again in the future.
Team Charla: That's right, the team formerly known as Charla and Mirna will now be officially known as just Charla. Who needs Mirna, the woman who constantly complains and makes wild decisions without any thought? Mirna stated that she "loves to surprise people." Well, how about you surprise us by shutting up?! At the start of the leg, Charla and Mirna were a train wreck, going the wrong direction, getting lost, and asking Uruguayan prostitutes for directions. Lucky for them that they ran into such a kind lady at the ferry terminal, or else I'd put money on the fact that they would've been eliminated this leg. After that, Charla basically pulled all the weight for the team. She was energetic, smart, and kept a cool head about her. Charla read the maps, navigated, and asked the right people the right questions. I know it right now, Mirna will be the death of this team. I doubt that much will change next week, so I'm just going to hope that Charla continues to trudge onward along with her biggest obstacle: Mirna.
Team Comeback: What a team, what a team! Jim and Marsha are just an excellent team all around. During the earlier part of the leg (and by leg I mean this round of the race, not the stitched one) the two kept up a friendly chatter. Later, when at the currency exchange, realizing they had been had, they still remained cheerful, albeit disappointed. They remained calm and collected, not letting their emotions control them. Although they felt the Moms had tricked them, they trudged onward, or at least hobbled onward. They chose the right detour and quickly completed it, passing the Moms on the way. En route to the farm, their spirits were high and their praise of each other was admirable. Marsha stated that she wanted to race to show her dad that she wasn't just a little girl. Well, by the second leg of the race, I think she may have already done just that. Jim even said that he was impressed with Marsha's skills and that she was the team leader. They will most likely keep this up and will most likely remain in the front of the pack.
Team Sneaky?: Although we cannot be sure what happened, Linda and Karen could very well be Team Sneaky. It might've been a misunderstanding or a piece of wrong information, but all the same, the Moms ran a rough race this leg. I don't expect the two of them to ever bicker or fight, even in intense moments of uncertainty. On the way to Montevideo they were having a ball and it continued all the way through to the pit stop. One mistake was the choice of Perro as the detour. Now, although the dogs were right next to the cemetery and it was only a mile to walk, here is why the challenge was the wrong choice: it seems too easy. If the challenge seems too easy, it probably is. Out of the four teams to jump at dog walking, only two completed it, and only one did so with no outside help. The Tango choice was a much quicker and more efficient way to complete the detour this leg of the race. However, it is easy to see why the Moms (and the other teams for that matter) would choose Perro. Now, where was I? Oh yes. At the tango challenge, they didn't lose heart after getting two photo rejections. And finally, at the cow corral, their high spirits were there even in the face of a possible elimination (after all, they thought that their stint with the dogs had severely cost them). All in all, a good fourth place finish. Next week they should continue to remain positive and keep their healthy relationship going, but just try to thinking ahead a bit more.
Team Perfect: I apologize, but I am super-partial to Bob and Joyce. I can't even try to find anything wrong with this team dynamic. Example: before they opened their first route marker, they kissed. Are you kidding me! How can any other team compete with that? They're just too much, that's all. This week they once again showed their true colors. They went to the wrong cemetery, but I can't blame them for that. They had just received bad information, as did all the other teams who visited the wrong cemetery. Here, they kept a cool and calm head, accepted their mistake, and then hopped back in the taxi to find the right graveyard. Which, in retrospect, is kind of creepy. They chose the dog detour, which was a mistake, but they managed to complete it quickly and without any complaint or outside help (which may not always be the best thing). And when they reached the pit stop mat, they cheered in jubilation (that's right, jubilation) at their placing fifth. To them, everything this is a win and a gain. I can't suggest they do anything different. Keep up the good work!
Team Calm: Colin and Christie were the king and queen of cool. How's that for alliteration? This week, the two barely raised an eyebrow when making mistakes and facing obstacles. They too went to the incorrect cemetery and kept a cool head, not freaking out. At the tango challenge, they took their time and chose the right dancer first time around. Then afterwards, the two discussed the advantages of taking a taxi over a bus. This is just a smart way to race. Although they didn't place in the top percentile, they did run a fairly good race this week. I expect them to place higher next week as long as they continue to work well together and make smart choices.1 2 Next-->
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