The Sports Page

Something’s Fishy in My Chile…

A refreshingly bunch-free leg — at least after the initial bus ride — let teams rise and fall on their own merits as they tackled shining shoes, finding fish, and transporting tomes. It was all down to task performance, and those who could do it just a little better than others were rewarded.
They grabbed this leg by the collar and made it heel, and it followed them around like a chastised puppy from start to finish.
Hands down, no question, the Play Of The Week has to belong to Rob and Amber. They grabbed this leg by the collar and made it heel, and it followed them around like a chastised puppy from start to finish. And while some people will vaunt their discovery of the express route to Arequipa and cunning concealment of it from the other teams, or their audacious move to trap the competition in the back of the bus, both of those plays are a bit too borderline for my taste. I like a nice clean win, and for Rob and Amber that was their detour domination. If you want to win, you need to quickly analyse the task, find the best way to attack it, and get the job done with no mistakes. This they did, and it got them a well-deserved first place finish.

As this was a task-oriented leg, I have to at least mention the dismally poor judgment displayed by several teams on this week’s detour. Here’s a hint, folks: in a race, you want to do things faster. Making two trips? Not faster. Remember Ryan and Chuck? So, load up those books — ask Rob or Ray for pointers if you need to — and splurge on the extra 100 grams of flounder. It’ll be worth it. That said, the Smooth Move this week is all Susan and Patrick who got bitten not once but twice by the foreign exchange bug. The Yankee Dollar may be popular, but many countries have their own currency these days, and local merchants usually prefer it. Failing to buy enough Chilean currency cost them precious time at the funicular. They then compounded this difficulty by inexplicably opting for a detour task that required them to spend the money they didn’t have. That’s not good racing.

Instead of asking Where The Wheels Came Off The Bus, I’m actually wondering if they were ever on it in the first place. The trailing teams this week just found themselves in last place heading out of the Santiago airport and never managed to figure out how to get ahead. Was it the bad cabbie that got Megan and Heidi to the funicular in last place? Was it an inability to find the Pit Stop? Or did they just get beat in a footrace? My take is that from start to finish, of both the first leg and this, their last one, they never seemed to get it out of second gear. And unless you’re on the race because you love the Sequesterville experience, that’s no way to play.

All’s Fair in Love and TAR

Is TAR a game of skill and speed, or does cunning and manipulation play a part? Whenever a team crows about wanting to put another team out of the race, fans are quick to dismiss them — this isn’t Survivor, after all, and Phil doesn’t take votes. Many of us like to think that the race will be to the swiftest.

This week was a bit of a wake-up call for us, as the former Survivors used a bit of outwit and outplay in their bid to outlast. Finding an express bus, and keeping mum about it, is a time-honoured TAR strategy. Bribing the locals to zip their lips as well was a new twist. And then there is the business of trapping half the teams in the back of the bus. Other teams have tried that sort of thing before, but never to such great effect. Is this the new face of TAR?

There isn’t any reason it shouldn’t be. There’s nothing in the rules of the game about it, after all. Every sport has its clean-cut, clean-playing good guys, who succeed on raw talent and determination. And every sport has its guys who go into the corners elbows up, and always know when the ref is looking the other way. It’s just another way to play the game.
And if that’s what gets them into first place, who’s to say they’re wrong for doing it?
It’s not the way I like to see it played, and it won’t make a team my favourite, but I can’t deny that for Rob and Amber, it seems to be what works. And if that’s what gets them into first place, who’s to say they’re wrong for doing it?

Next Week

Rob and Amber, Ron and Kelly, and Ray and Deana broke from the pack this week and seemed to be running their own race. I expect them to stick around for a while yet. At the other end of the spectrum, both Lynn and Alex and Susan and Patrick seemed to have more trouble than most with the details of Detours and Roadblocks, not to mention some basic race mechanics. If future legs are as task-dependent as this one, they are going to run into difficulty. And then there is Brian and Greg, who - even though they knew they were fighting to stay in the race - took twice as long with the Detour as they needed to. They may feel bad about missing Megan and Heidi, but if they don’t pull the finger out they’ll be seeing them again real soon now.
Leg 7-2 At a Glance

Start pointLa Merced, Cuszco, Peru
End pointCerro Santa Lucia, Santiago, Chile
Distance traveled3550 miles
Distance to date8250 miles

Start OrderTimeFinish OrderTime

Purchase five ingredients for a recipe in the market.Deliver 180 books from a bookstore to the Library of Congress.

Who likes shoes?
Shine five pairs of shoes on the street.
TeamTaken byRecordInOut