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Dealt a Bad Hand – An Interview with Survivor’s Ryan S.by David Bloomberg -- 10/06/2003
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RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Ryan, and thanks for taking the time to answer some questions from RealityNewsOnline. Did you feel like you were somewhat out of place for this particular version of Survivor in that almost all the other guys seemed rather muscular and the challenges so far tended to favor that more?
Ryan S.: I didn't feel out of place for that reason alone. Just because you are muscular doesn't mean you can physically compete. I've played basketball most of my life. You would be amazed at how uncoordinated and how unathletic people can be even though they are bulked up and can bench press 300 pounds. Muscles do not directly imply agility, dexterity, or athletic intelligence. Only the first immunity challenge gave strength a big advantage, but it was a team challenge and every bit helps. I didn't feel out of place; I was competing with my tribe as a unit. HOWEVER, I did feel out of place within my tribe. It took me a few days to realize just how superficial my tribe was. It was just an unfortunate circumstance. I don't think it would have been like that if I was on the other tribe.
You said in your final words that you know this game inside and out. How did you prepare to be on the show (watching earlier series, reading up, etc.)?
Ryan S.: I re-watched old episodes frequently to take note of how people said things and in what context. Some people's speech patterns can be very convincing, whereas other's can be quite flaky. I've spent a lifetime enjoying strategy games. From board games to computer games I've competed in strategy games. All of those games depend on a fundamental concept of thinking four-dimensionally. It's essentially knowing what your competitor is thinking and taking necessary steps to defeat them. I'm right-brained and generally good at abstract thinking. I felt I had a lifetime of preparation for this game.
RNO: You also said that you lost the game in the first five minutes because you didn't make the right friends. Do you think, looking back, that you could have turned things around in that way? Or do you think they still would have decided you were the weakest link?
Ryan S.: If they honestly think I was the weakest link, physically, of the seven people remaining at the second tribal council, then they all need heavy mental therapy. ;) I admit that the reward challenge was a complete bomb for myself. Believe it or not, it was actually even *worse* than it appeared. ;) However, it was a technical issue involving the mask, not my ability to swim and dive which are both quite sound. Regardless, my crummy performance shouldn't overshadow the terrible performances that came from Ryan O. and Andrew. A lot of emphasis was put on me, because I went first. However, all the males that swim did pathetic. This, in theory, makes me an equal liability as Ryan O. and Andrew, based on that one challenge.
I did excellent in the first immunity challenge. There were many things you could not see. There was a part where we had to dismantle the cannon and carry it through ladders and reassemble. I am extremely dexterous! I did a lot in the way of carrying pieces through the ladder and placing them in the right place for assembly. At one point Darrah put on the rear wheel incorrectly. Not only did I put on my front wheel, but I had to adjust for her mistake as well. The only problem I remember myself having during the first challenge was a rock I wasn't able to move by myself. Andrew and Ryan O. came over and moved it for me, but we were actually at a stand-still at that point, so it didn't cost us much time.
The second immunity challenge I did everything I could. We just couldn't get the coordinates out quick enough and we rushed our digging and ended up just a foot off of the flag. There was no evidence at camp that I was physically weak. I didn't do as much chopping as the other guys, but I offered to help if they ever needed it and even did a little bit of chopping. I feel my dismissal was because the other five had a tight bond, socially. The vote was between me and Lillian, and I assume they weren't ready to start building their own fires yet.
RNO: If you thought it would help, why didn't you make more of an attempt to get friendlier with the others?
Ryan S.: I tried several times to start conversations with people. I usually never have problems talking to people outside of the game. I would ask about home and their jobs to try and get to know them better and hopefully develop a conversation. However, my attempts didn't last long. I got short answers and it was almost as if people didn't want to talk to me. There was an awkward feel in the air when I tried to get to know someone, as if they were patronizing me with their answers so that they could just get on with whatever they were doing. I've never had this happen to me before and it totally caught me off guard. It was like I was constantly pushing buttons to find out how I could get in. Besides Lill, Osten was the only one who I could have a comfortable conversation with. I am still not quite sure why things ended up this way. I'm not sure if it was just the competition of the game, if people just didn't like me, or if they were afraid to be seen talking to me. It was a peculiar social situation for six days.
RNO: Your tribe was in disarray since they got to the village to barter. Did you consider taking on the responsibility of trying to pull everyone together?
Ryan S.: By the time we had entered the village, I had already had two uncomfortable encounters with Andrew. Both of them were very negative and condescending. The last thing I wanted to do was to counter his aggressiveness with more aggressiveness, after all it was a time to be unified. I honestly was already feeling like a target to be voted out when we were in the town. There was no way I was going to take executive initiative with a guy like that, who would pass judgment ten minutes in to the game. I offered my opinion several times, but my suggestions just went unheard. It was simply the dynamics of the tribe. I don't think suggesting that we pull together would have helped much. It would have lasted for about three minutes and then chaos would have taken over. It wasn't just my opinions that went unheard – nobody's opinions got heard. The Morgan tribe had a global problem with listening and giving feedback.1 2 Next-->
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