My family is crazy. Not that this is some earth shattering revelation I have recently discovered. This is a fact I've known for some time. And I'd be surprised if any one of them disagree or is offended by this remark. They're crazy. That's just the way it is.
But what I didn't realize until yesterday is that my family is also very, very competitive. I'm talking win at any cost, nothing stand in my way, someone may get hurt, competitive. Yesterday was the day crazy and competitive came together in my family. And it was like nothing I have ever seen before in my life.
Every July for the past 8 or 9 years, my dad's side of the family gets together for a "Survivor" picnic. My uncle plans and runs all the events for the day very much like the TV show (minus the million dollars, but you would never have known). Aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, boyfriends, girlfriends are all broken up into predetermined teams. Each team of 4-5 people sport matching bandannas and participate in food challenges, water challenges, trivia and the final relay event that wraps the whole day up. The winning team members each get a trophy at the end of the competition. Sounds like fun, right?
(Me and the rest of the pink team)
That's what I thought. I'm thinking fun family picnic, catch up with the relatives. Nice way to spend the afternoon. But I hadn't figured the competitive crazy gene flowing through the veins of my family into this equation. This was not a quaint catch up with your cousin picnic. Oh, no. These people came dressed to play and played to win. My brother had actually cleared a spot on his mantel in anticipation of bringing home a 4th trophy (the others are not only on the mantel in his living room, but have lights directed on them as well). There was trash talk, vomiting, penalties and talks of disqualification (absolutely no alcohol involved, I know it's hard to believe). Strategy was whispered between team members. Competing teams sized each other up. A wedding band was lost in the flowing creek in the midst of the water challenge. Nothing slowed these people down.
In one of those "sounded like a good plan at the time" moments I volunteered to take part in the water challenge. That's me in my freezing cold creek water soaked linen shorts.
My sister in law deserved MVP honors as far as I was concerned. She inhaled the pork rind, uncooked spam, grass jelly (yes, grass not grape) platter my uncle put together. She may have been the only person that didn't vomit at this leg of the relay.
(My uncle finalizing plans before the competition begins)
There was no winner in the challenge this year. No trophies were handed out for the first time ever. But if anyone deserved one, I would have given it to my uncle. Because despite all the trash talk and arguing, his planning year after year plays a part in keeping this crazy family together. Everyone shows up, people drive in from out of town and my son is counting down the days until next year's "Survivor". My aunt even maintains a family website filled with photos of past events. It is amazing to say the least.
So I have officially survived my first "Survivor". And I am now quite sure I have no business competing in the actual television version. But if Jeff Probst ever does come knocking at my door? Boy, do I have a list of names for him.