By Ryan Divish
If there is a competitive flame in all of us, it is supposed to slowly begin to flicker the older we get.
Well at least for most people. Me? I'm still firing jumpshots in pickup basketball, still firing fastballs in fastpitch softball, still firing drives out of bounds in golf league and still firing Playstation 2 controllers across my room in anger because - well - the computer cheats. I need competition more than air.
Obviously, I'm probably the exception to the rule. When you're as old as me and still act like you're 12, you're probably the exception to many rules.
But all of my recreational league glory pales in comparison to the newest form of competition that is sweeping the world - reality television.
No, I'm not talking about shows like "Survivor," "Fear Factor" or the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge." Yes, those shows sell themselves as the ultimate competitions. But they are far from the ultimate.
The main competition in "Survivor" seems to be which contestant can wear the least amount of clothing without having editors blurring the picture.
It started with Richard Hatch walking around in a cross between a diaper and sumo wrestler daishiki on the first season. Recently, we got to see the illustrious Rupert parade around in his sweater of back hair. Honestly, there are grizzly bears watching the show saying, "man, that is one hairy guy."
Obviously, most guys like the aspect of scantily clad girls running around competing in challenges, living out their "Blue Lagoon," stranded on a deserted island with Brooke Shields fantasies.
Still, the show seems to be more about backstabbing and bickering and less about competitive battles.
"Fear Factor" is basically a truth or dare game on steroids. Come on, I once watched a kid drink a shot glass of chew spit in college for $50 - eating some bugs can't be any worse.
The show makes such a big deal out of the physical challenges, but they are relatively easy. It's not like anyone can get seriously hurt. They have more safety equipment than a space shuttle launch. Could you imagine the lawsuit if someone actually did get seriously hurt on one of those shows? Two words: Johnnie Cochran.
Really it comes down to which pretty person (because if you notice there are no ugly people on the show, well, besides the host) is willing to eat a combination of festering maggots and hog saliva, sprinkled with rat droppings, and not vomit. That's not a competition, that's a 1960's fraternity initiation.
Let's not even get started with the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge." It's bad enough that MTV airs reruns the episodes of "The Real World" or "Road Rules" 272 times a week. Now we need a combined show of former castmates desperately clutching at their 15 minutes of fame while competing for thousands of dollars and cool prizes.
Haven't these people been given enough? Honestly, they lived rent-free for six months in ridiculously nice houses and given menial jobs that a chimpanzee could handle - yet they couldn't - to earn money for their next drunken adventure. Damn, I should have gotten on the "The Real World."
Anyway, this reality-based competition is basically "Survivor" and "Fear Factor" combined. A bunch of even prettier people that come together to compete, while MTV secretly hopes for either a fist fight or shower hook-up. All right, I admit I like the show. How can you not? It's on 12 times a day, after awhile you just give up and get sucked in.
But those shows compare in to the ultimate reality competition. No, it's not the Amazing Race, or one of those eco-challenge shows. It's not Street Hoops or any of ESPN's other shoddy attempts at reality programming.
It's something much more fundamental and entertaining. It's ABC's "The Bachelorette."
Huh? Yes, "The Bachelorette."
It's the ultimate competition: 25 guys trying to impress one woman - or basically Friday nights in downtown Havre.
Notice I didn't say "The Bachelor." That isn't half the competition. Realistically, twenty-five girls never compete for one guy, unless he is an NBA player on a road trip.
On "The Bachelor," the 25 girls just wear the guy down. Sure, the catfights and pettiness that the girls exhibit on the show are entertaining, but nothing compared to watching 25 idiots trying to impress one beautiful woman in hopes of marrying her.
How can you not watch the show? It's three times more entertaining than the NBA. As soon as more than one team a night scores a 100 points in a night, then I'll start watching the NBA. Until then, it's the bachelorette, Meredith, and her cast of moronic suitors.
You think there's no competition? The opening show featured 25 guys trying to get the attention of one woman, while trying to convince her to be one of the 15 keepers.
I haven't heard that much baloney and that many bad lines being thrown out since, I went to Spring Break in Lake Havasu, Ariz.
They did everything to get her attention. They bragged to her about their jobs, their interests and their feelings. A "Fear Factor" maggot milkshake is less vomit inducing. Some even resorted to bringing her gifts. But the best line of the night was when the guy looked straight in the camera and said, "I don't need to bring gifts for her because I am the gift."
Some gift - a guy with no personality, a bad Euro-trash ponytail and too much self-tanning lotion. "Hey buddy, here's $20 get a haircut and use the change to put a down payment on a clue." Actually, it's too bad he didn't make the final 15, he would have made it even more entertaining.
You know the reason why each guy pulls up in a separate limo at the beginning is, because the show's producers can't fit in anyone else in there because of each guy's gargantuan ego.
But the competition isn't just left to the guys on the show. You can also turn "The Bachelorette" into your own personal combination. You can have pools as to which guy writes a poem first, or which guy cries in front of her. Bets on which guy snaps first, or which Romeo utters the highest amount of corny lines in one show. There is nothing like wagering on another's person's humiliation.
I know what you're thinking. If I'm such a competitor, why don't I get on the show and compete instead of casting insults from afar. Sorry, I'd think I'd rather be on "The Real World" instead.