Jeff Probst stands on a boat in front of all of us. It’s like a really old piratey boat. I am standing amongst 19 other people, all from different backgrounds and home lives. 10 of us are on one mat while the other 10 are standing on the other.
There are chickens running around everywhere on the boat, while different fruits and pieces of shelter are strewn everywhere. Jeff begins to speak.
“Welcome to Survivor: Jocks versus Nerds!”
We all clap and cheer. Then the reality sets in and we realize what mat we are on. To our left is the Jocks. The popular kids. Jacked up dudes and ladies ready to rip our heads off.
On our side? Nerds. As stereotypical as you can get. I belong on the other mat.
“As you see around you, there are Fiji’s finest chickens and other supplies here on the boat. Each team can only pick one thing to leave here with,” Jeff continued.
The Jocks spoke first. “The fishing spear!”
None of the Nerds say anything. I feel like I need to step up and be the leader of this group of misfits.
“We’ll take a chicken!” I bravely tell Jeff.
“Alright guys. A fishing spear will meet the Jocks at their camp and a chicken will be waiting for you bunch of Nerds.” He tosses out maps and tells us to swim to shore.
So, we swim.
We finally get to our camp and we realize that you need to build a shelter in order to survive in this game. Luckily, we had an engineer and somewhat of a Lego building champion in our camp, so we start out with a pretty good plan and get to work. Everybody seems to be contributing and we’re all getting along well. People are starting to form small alliances and although nobody has talked to me yet about any trysts, I know it’s still early in the game.
So, I took a break and walked into the forest, and Todd, the Lego man, noticed.
“He’s looking for the immunity idol!” He yells.
I come back down to plead my innocence but it’s too late. The rest of the tribe runs down and begins to look for the idol, trying to find it before I do.
“That’s fine guys,” I say. “I’m not looking. I’m a team player, I swear!”
So, while they are tearing camp and the forest apart looking for the idol, I go and sit beside the chicken who we have tied to a tree.
“Looks like you’re my only friend here, chicken.”
The chicken makes a noise, like he’s trying to tell me something.
“What is it, chicken? Tell me, what is on your mind?”
The chicken turns around and begins to nibble on the ground.
Todd appears out of nowhere.
“He’s trying to make an alliance with the chicken. They’re in a showmance! Look guys a power couple!”
Of course, this tactic works and for the rest of the night, I was shunned. I’m surprised they didn’t tie to me to a tree, but the fear that I was getting too close to the chicken was real.
I wake up pretty sore. Not a solid 24 hours for my first foray into reality television. But not all is lost. It’s time for our first immunity challenge.
We arrive in a big clearing. Jeff yells “come on guys” as both tribes take their spots. The Jocks look happy as usual.
Jeff introduced both teams and the game that we would be playing. It was basically an obstacle course, which very obviously favoured the bigger and prettier Jocks. We were a bunch of nerds, after all.
“Want to know the reward?” Jeff asks. He lifts up a tarp and reveals a basket with letters in it. “Letters from your loved ones. Worth playing for?”
Both tribes begin crying uncontrollably around me. Some drop to their knees and ugly cry while I stand there, bewildered.
I put my hand up. “It’s only day 2.”
Jeff wipes tears from his own eyes. “Excuse me?”
The entire cast of Survivor stares at me through their crying.
“Never mind,” I say.
“Let’s play.” Jeff starts the game.
So, the nerds got smoked. When we were walking back to the start, Todd came over to me and said “thanks for demoralizing the team.”
“What?” I asked back.
“That comment about the letters from home. You killed the vibe here when you mocked them. You’re telling me that you don’t want to hear from your loved ones?”
“I just saw them last week!”
Todd looked disgusted. “Get out of my face.”
A few minutes later we stand in front of Jeff. He hands the immunity idol over to the Jocks, as well as the basket of letters.
“It was clear that some people wanted this reward more than others,” Jeff told us, looking directly at me. “We will see the Nerds at Tribal Council tonight. Now get out of here.”
It seems like I’m in a bit of a hole here.
When we get back to camp, I try a little damage control. I talk to Mark, and Troy, and Sally, and Fred, then the twins Paul and Paula. Nothing. Look like their mind is made up.
I go back to my chicken friend for advice. He shares nothing of substance.
I figure I have to talk to Todd. King of the Nerds.
“Todd,” I say. “We need to work together. We are two of the strongest people here. We can make the merge and run this game all the way to the final two!”
Todd thinks about it for a second.
“Interesting point,” he says. Then he whistles very loudly and the entire tribe appears out of the bushes.
“This guy thinks you’re all a bunch of weak nerds. And that chicken he’s always talking to? He just told me that they have a final two deal. You’re all just a pawn in their game.”
“What?” I respond, bewildered. “The chicken isn’t even apart of the game!”
Their mind was already made up.
Standing in front of us at Tribal Council, Jeff is holding a piece of parchment paper. He didn’t even let us deliberate, instead he just told everybody that they should really do the right thing and then started the vote.
“With a vote of 9 to 1, the first person voted off of Survivor Jocks vs. Nerds, is Josh.”
Nobody is surprised.
“I’m really going to enjoy eating that chicken,” Todd says.
Jeff buffs out my torch.
“The tribe has spoken.”