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Amazing Race 4: Thinking Smart in Episode 5Page 2
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Kelly & Jon. One thing we learned is that Kelly admits she can't read maps. While Jon tells her that she can't always drive, the team is erring in that they are not playing to each other's strengths. If Kelly has problems with maps, then she SHOULD be driving and Jon should be navigating. That's basic teamwork and something they need to keep in mind if they are going to marry. One thing they did right was refusing to be intimidated out of the line at the airport. By doing that, they got on the early flight. They raced well, becoming the second team to the roadblock. One word of warning, Kelly, the next time you hear that an eel feels like a slippery penis, be more careful of your next words. When you said you wanted to touch one, it had two meanings, one of which might embarrass you. Other than that, they raced well, coming in third place.
Reichen & Chip. This teams showed an early smart decision in asking the front-of-line team Tian & Jaree to book tickets for them. It cost nothing to ask, and when they got an affirmative answer, it intimidated two teams to the point where they abandoned the line and went to another carrier. Even if the models had requested money for the favor, there isn't anything in the rules which prevents a team from buying favors from other teams (team 911 did this in the last race, paying two other teams to allow them to follow them). They were second to the detour, but then they took the longer option, staying clean at the expense of time. They did end up in a respectable fourth place position.
Monica & Sheree (have used fast-forward). This team did fairly well in the early stages of the race, getting on a good flight and taking the train to the skinny bridge in Amsterdam. They also did well in coming the closest to using a native guide, by asking people which was the museum was. While other teams fought and followed each other, this team got along great and put their energy into finding out how to get to the museum. They were the third team to get there, then quickly completed the detour. Their big trouble was getting their car turned around. We've already seen one team in a previous race get stuck in the sand; it looked like they were in for a repeat performance. It was fortunate they found somebody to pull their car out of the muck. They also did something several other teams didn't do – follow a team which was going in the right direction. Tailgating Reichen & Chip to the pit stop didn't hurt either team.
David & Jeff. This team’s actions in the last leg of the race directly led to their problems in this leg. By failing to look for the flag and missing the route instruction box, they dropped back enough positions so that they were unable to get a good flight to Amsterdam. This put them a few hours behind the rest of the teams. They made up for it with good racing from that point on, and made the right choice in the detour, which put them ahead of Steve & Dave and Tian & Jaree. However, they may start considering a fast-forward soon to jump up into the front of the pack, instead of trailing like they have been.
Tian & Jaree (have used fast-forward). This teams needs to improve on several fronts. Towards the beginning of the race, they were in the front of the line for airline tickets. When Reichen & Chip (fourth in line) approached them about buying tickets for them, Tian answered, "Sure." That wasn't the correct answer. The correct answer should have been, "What's in it for us?" They could easily have taken advantage of the situation to create a bidding war among the teams in line, earning cash for their favor. In the end, they didn't provide favors for anybody, but they should have thought about the possibilities. They also made another mistake at the Amsterdam airport. They spent too much time at the tourist information booth, which cost them the train that every other team (except David & Jeff and Steve & Dave, who were on later flights) took. While getting maps is usually highly advisable, they should have gotten quick instructions on which train to take, then used their time on it to read the map and make plans. Like Kelly and Jon, this team needs to work on playing to their partner's strengths. If one can navigate well, they should do that and let the other drive instead of fighting about it.
Steve & Dave. What went wrong? The race simply caught up to them and their luck ran out. It was shown early on in this leg that they simply were not racing well; while the other teams left pretty much within an hour of each other, they were fully two hours behind at the start. Their decision on flights early in the race wasn't really a bad idea, even with the tight connection between the two airports in Paris. It was a calculated risk. Dave & Jeff were in the same situation, and also took the risk. The real difference was that Dave & Jeff still had a fast forward option available, so they were working with a safety net. This team wasn't, so they really should have considered taking a different calculated risk, one based on the idea that the connection was impossible to make. That might have worked out, it might not have, but it was an option to consider. They compounded their mistakes later by falling into the trap on the detour, which pretty much finished them off. That delayed them long enough to snuff out any chance they might have to have stayed in the race. However, they took their loss (as they did almost everything else) graciously.
Jeffrey Clinard lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his cats, Lam and Princess. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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