Three things drove my interest in tonight’s episode. First, I started friending and following participants on FB. So now, rather than picking them randomly like I do in March Madness, I know a bit more about them. Second, I identify with some of them, especially team Kid Courage. As the father of two autistic sons, I get the struggle. But is it a driver to succeed? We’ll see. Third, I start to gather word of mouth from other OCR athletes about the competition. So far, the consensus is “too Hollywood” and “not a fan”. Is the human interest portion overshadowing the sport? Perhaps, as some say they would rather watch Spartan Race instead. To each his own I say.

 

The first round matchup included the Better Halves, the red team with a captain who had 26 broken bones from a car crash years ago. I picked them maybe second but no chance at the wild card. Grey Guard was the oldest team on the course (aka Grey Berets on FB) who seemed very strong to me given I am 55. Mathletes was a young math whiz college kids who I predicted would not have a chance. Was I right? Or still random March Madness darts?

 

The story of this race was the captain of the Mathletes dropping his shorts just after the Barrel Roll. He ran the rest of the race in a thong. Apparently, that’s his schtick, meant to motivate his team. It certainly motivated the censors to blur out his ass crack the rest of the race. By the Timber Drop, his team was in first.

 

Meanwhile, one has to wonder why the producers, insurance underwriters, and the person herself on the Grey Guard team was allowed to participate. She has a rare brittle bone disease. Yet there she was flying off the Tire Swing and getting generally banged around on the course. Was it worth it in the end?

 

Back at Timber Drop, it was obvious that the other teams simply did not understand the mechanics and technique of the obstacle. This allowed the Mathletes to pull away into an uncatchable lead. So the battle was on for second between Grey Guard and Better Halves.

 

Apparently, the broken bones of the team captain of the Better Halves was stronger than the risk of breaking bones of the girl on Grey Guard. The red team really gutted it out in the end at the Slip Wall to take second. I felt both teams were entirely beatable for the wild card to be determined by the next race clock.

 

The matchup included Kid Courage, a team with some parents of children with autism,

Wonder Women, the first ever all-women team in the completion (all world-class pole vaulter Olympians (I predict to win), and the Stevick Spartans, a family of competitors following in their father’s footsteps.

 

The Stevick family strategy was to get the youngest sister through each obstacle first. It worked through the first two obstacles. By the Tire Swing, the other teams caught up. This obstacle tends to be a deal breaker in each show. Making the 20-foot leap from a swinging 450-pound tire is hard to time. Most runners face plant into the padded landing area.

 

The Wonder Women must have heard the host wondering if five individual sports participants could function as a team. At the Tire Swing, the fell into last place but did not stay there. Kid Courage meanwhile took a commanding lead. They struggled up Timber Drop but after that, they cruised through the course taking the checkered flag. The battle between the Wonder Women and the Stevick Spartans was on. I was sure they had plenty of time for one of them to win the wild card.

 

They were both well up the Slip Wall with over a minute to go. But the mud and the struggle got the best of them. They both slipped and DNF by the time the clock expired. That left Kid Courage as the sole finisher and winner of the round. Next time, this father of autistic kids may have to go with that rather than his age as a winning factor.