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Play Ball! – An Interview with Mole 2’s Lisa Nollerby C. Brian Devinney -- 08/05/2002
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There's a bond between two baseball fans that cannot be explained. Such is the case with myself and Lisa Noller from The Mole 2. While talking to Noller from her office in Chicago, we spent the first part of our interview discussing the current baseball standings, whether or not the Minnesota Twins (my second favorite team after my beloved Yankees) would be contracted if they won the World Series, and, of course, her job as a beer vendor at the legendary Comiskey Park.
"I was stuck in traffic and I saw that they were having a job fair so I just pulled in," she said.
Initially, she was ask to work as a waitress in the stadium's sky boxes. Noller, however, had other ideas – namely watching her White Sox play ball.
"I wanted to be out in the sun, getting a tan, and watching the game with all of the fans. I think ABC said I sold hot dogs because it's a family show. I've sold hot dogs maybe once."
Noller's road to Switzerland and her encounter with the Mole was filled with more than a few ups and downs. Her first challenge was not in traversing between trees but figuring out how to use her occupation and hometown to her advantage. Last year's mole, Kathryn Price, was also a lawyer from Chicago.
"I thought it could work for and against me," Noller admitted. "I knew there would be people who would think that it wasn't me because I was a lawyer from Chicago. And, I knew there would be people who would overthink it just a little too much and assume that the producers wanted them to think I was just a player when I could be the mole after all."
This odd conundrum of occupations and locations may have worked in Noller's favor at least once. She believes that the first executed player, Bob, may have answered the quiz in her favor, leading to his ousting.
That first round of competition also brought about controversy as the group's bags supposedly containing their clothing and a few personal and sentimental effects were destroyed. For Noller, the fact that her personal belongings had been sacrificed seemed illogical. Knowing that she had kept her prescriptions in her baggage she confronted the production staff with this fact, thinking they would reveal that their bags had not been cremated. Instead, the Chicago lawyer found herself at a hospital having her prescription refilled.
With the game in full swing, Noller knew that forming alliances would be key to her success. Enter Dorothy and Darwin. The key to these two alliances laid in neither member learning of the other's relationship with Noller. Whatever information was provided to her by either member could, ostensibly, be verified by her other alliance member. This helped to weed out the truly valid information. Unknown to Noller, this strategy was also employed by her fellow alliance member, Darwin Conner.
One of her more memorable moments came during the second episode when she took part in the now infamous "Blueberry Mission." Her alliance cohort Dorothy ate the blueberry-less piece of cake entitling her and her roommate (Noller) the opportunity to receive an exemption should they convince one player to join them in their hotel room – a violation of the game's rules.
"What they didn't show you was Dorothy and me debating over what to do and who to call for about three minutes."
But her choice of her other alliance partner, Darwin? It actually was an easier choice than one might suspect. Noller knew that the New York lawyer would trust her enough to join her in her room. Additionally, she rationalized that Darwin would rather have been in the room during the actual event itself rather than hear it second hand.
"We knew that if we failed and didn't get the exemption, we would still have to tell everyone about what happened. I just knew he would want to be there for it."
As a lawyer in the U.S. Attorney General's Office, Noller used her two weeks of vacation time to participate in the reality TV show with the advance knowledge that if she was still in the game after the two weeks elapsed, she would no longer have a job. Her final execution ceremony coincided with the final day that she could conceivably retain her job. In a stroke of both bad and good luck, Noller was executed that night but able to retain her job with the promise that she not participate in any further reality programs. She credits her dismissal from the game to her quiz strategy.
"I was playing the odds," she confessed.
In taking the quiz, Noller would do a quick analysis of which answer held the highest probability of success. For example. Knowing that one question would deal with whether the mole faced Little John or Little Jane during one mission, Noller would calculate the odds as to which group was more likely to contain the mole. With only three people facing Little John, the likelihood that the mole faced Little Jane was a greater possibility.
"After the first quiz I took each of my answers and applied them to each person to see how I would have done had they been the mole. I think in the first quiz I only got one or two right. I think if I was to play the game again I would have gone with my gut instinct instead of the odds."
For her execution, Noller tied with several of her fellow players. In the event of a tie, the player who finished the quiz in the least amount of time would be eliminated. Noller missed out on the next round by less than one-tenth of a second.
Despite her untimely exit from the game, Noller looks back on her experience with no regrets. Her friends and family have all been very supportive and White Sox fans have recognized her in the stands.
"I look at it this way," Noller said, "I got to gamble at a St. Moritz casino, amongst other things, and not many Americans can say that. It was truly incredible experience and I love sharing it with people."
C. Brian Devinney is a human resources consultant and huge Yankees fan based in New York City. He is the author of his own blog, "Tales From the City" and is currently writing his third play, Poker Night. He can be reached at TheRealityFactor@aol.com.
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