Benjamin "Coach" Wade gets voted out of 'Survivor: Tocantins'
By Reality TV World staff, 05/15/2009
After 36 days in the Brazilian Highlands, Benjamin "Coach" Wade became the twelfth castaway to be eliminated from Survivor: Tocantins during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.
"There was some sadness tonight as I left," the 37-year-old soccer coach and part-time orchestra conductor from Bolivar, MO said following his elimination."
"I can not imagine why someone would want to keep Erinn over me in the Warrior Alliance. Obviously somebody turned [and] judging by their reaction it was Stephen. The wizard was definitely not the white wizard, he was the evil wizard in the end. It was a travesty. Death before dishonor. And I did not dishonor myself, I feel good about how I played the game."
Survivor: Tocantins' twelfth episode began with the Forza tribe's five remaining castaways returning from the Night 33 Tribal Council session in which Debra "Debbie" Beebe -- Coach's longtime ally -- was voted out of the competition.
Upon returning to camp, James "JT" Thomas Jr. and Stephen Fishbach -- the two castaways that Coach believed were part of his "Warrior Alliance" that had also included Debbie and himself -- told Coach they had voted Debbie off because she been campaigning for his own ouster.
"Coach, your No. 1 ally was gunning for you tonight," JT said as Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George and Erinn Lobdell -- the other two castaways that JT and Stephen were really in an alliance with -- stood nearby.
"You know who wrote your name down, right?" Stephen added.
"Debbie wanted us to send you home tonight," JT explained to a shocked Coach. "That's who wrote your name down."
"I can't grasp that, I'm like a lamb led to the slaughterhouse," Coach replied.
"We thought that if we told you beforehand you wouldn't believe us," Stephen told Coach.
Afterward, Coach made it clear that he was appreciative to be saved but also seemed to have finally come to grips with that fact that, despite his frequent bravado-filled boasts, he wasn't the person controlling the game.
"I was like wow, JT, Erinn, and Taj, and Stephen mounted a counter-attack against Debbie to save me. It would have been very easy to vote me out, you know I know I'm a dangerous player in this game, so I'm just shocked," Coach said afterwards.
"Now I just want to talk to JT and Stephen and just ask them when am I going. Just tell me when I'm going, because obviously Coach Wade is no longer in control of this game and I don't know what is going to happen next."
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However the next day, instead of asking JT and Stephen about his fate directly, Coach seemed to keep campaigning -- as he had already been doing prior to Debbie's ouster -- for threesome to vote Erinn and then Taj off next. In addition, Coach -- who, along with JT, was one of the two remaining castaways who had not have visited Exile Island yet -- also asked the pair to not send him to Exile, citing his health as the reason.
"I was talking to the guys about Exile and I don't want to go Exile, nobody wants to go to Exile at this point," Coach explained afterwards. "I just hope my asthma doesn't flare up. That's a horrible excuse [but] that's my only fear."
However despite Coach's claims that asthma and back issues were behind his concern, Stephen and JT believed that there were other reasons why Coach didn't want to be sent to Exile.
"Oh god, JT and I are eager to send Coach to Exile, he as been so skittish about it, he had been selling out everyone trying to get them to go to Exile before him," Stephen said. "I mean Coach has mentioned ailments -- a back problem, asthma -- but it's never seemed to effect his performance, so I'm not entirely sure that Coach can build a fire and cook his food by himself. I dunno, I think he's scared."
"Coach is just really scared to go to Exile, and such an adventurous soul as Coach really shouldn't be scared to go to Exile, so I'm ready to test him," JT boasted afterward. "Also, we're planning on sending Coach home at the next Tribal Council so it would be nice to him to come very weak to the next Immunity Challenge."
Later that day, the castaways met Survivor host Jeff Probst for their next Reward Challenge, which required them to first make their way through a long maze while their feet were shackled. After exiting the maze, each castaway would then have to assemble a pole and use it to grab a swaying sandbag. Once they had control of their sandbag they would have to swing it back and forth and to knock down three targets.
The first castaway to knock down all three targets would win the challenge, In addition to getting an overnight trip to local Brazilian governor's private retreat, the winner would also get the right to determine which castaway would spend the next two days alone at Exile Island.
JT -- with Coach blindly shadowing him the entire way -- was the first castaway to exit the maze. Once he exited the maze, JT easily assembled his pole and knocked the targets down, winning the challenge. As he had suggested earlier, JT -- after first asking for volunteers and getting none -- then followed through on his plan to send Coach to Exile Island.
"Let's be noble Coach, let do this," JT said. "Me and you is the only two that ain't been yet."
However Coach then announced he was going to take "the monastic approach" and not build a fire or eat during his two-day stay on Exile, causing Erinn -- he had returned from her own miserable two-day Exile stay only a few days earlier -- to object.
"He's going to take the martyr approach... minimizing the experiences of some [others], I feel like, and [to] have an excuse when he doesn't win immunity when he gets back," Erinn said.
"I want it to be tough on me, that's for sure, [but] I'm not going to minimize everybody's experiences... I'm disappointed Erinn would say that," Coach replied before continuing to once again cite his poor health.
"My body is about this close right now from total disaster. I have discs on the right side that have ruptured, I feel my left one is about ready to slip, [and] my asthma is choking me up so bad I can't breath," he said as most of the rest of the castaways seemed to look on in disbelief.
After sending Coach to Exile, Jeff announced that JT could pick one other castaway to join him on the reward trip. He picked Stephen, leaving Erinn and Taj to return to camp by themselves.
Once they returned to camp, Erinn told Taj that she regretted her Reward Challenge comments and hoped they wouldn't endanger her place in her alliance with Taj, Stephen, and JT, however Taj told her not to worry about it.
"No, he's a jerk, he's a jerk. And for him to say 'I'm not going to eat' -- give me a break," Taj told Erinn. "You're sitting here suffering from asthma, broken disc, this and that, and you're not going to eat? I'm so ready to send him home. He talks all this smack about how he's all broken down but he was perfectly fine when he was on JT's heels [throughout the challenge]. Had he won 'The Warrior' would have been back."
However after they arrived at the governor's retreat, Stephen and JT admitted that Erinn's Reward Challenge behavior had them questioning whether Coach should still be the next castaway to be voted out of the game.
"Erinn doing that, it kind of makes me want to keep her less," Stephen told the cameras afterwards.
Meanwhile, over in Exile, Coach spent his time carving a "Dragon Slayer cane" and boasting about himself in the third person.
"Coach Wade's body might be failing him in some ways but Coach Wade still has what it takes to outlast anyone out here in this environment, period, paragraph," he proclaimed.
On Day 36, the castaways met Jeff for their next Immunity Challenge and Coach -- complete with his new cane -- slowly wandered in and rejoined them.
"When Coach returned from Exile with his cane and his limping, [I was] thinking 'This guy is such a drama queen!'" Taj said afterwards. "He's so dramatic. Any 37-year-old man who thinks he's a dragon slayer needs to be in a mental institution. They need to come get him, when we have Tribal Council he'll be free and they can take him home."
Jeff then explained that the challenge would require each castaway to use their hands to brace themselves between two walls while their bare feet remained balanced on small footholds, with whichever castaway could last the longest winning immunity from the evening's upcoming Tribal Council session.
Erinn was the first castaway eliminated when she slipped and fell 30 minutes into the challenge. Stephen and Taj then followed shortly thereafter, leaving JT and Coach as the only two castaways still competing for immunity.
After letting out a primal scream, Coach finally stepped down 50 minutes into the challenge, resulting in JT winning his second-straight challenge.
However after stepping down from the challenge, Coach collapsed on the ground in front of his station, resulting in Jeff and the rest of the castaways coming -- some more quickly and sincerely than others -- to assist him.
"My back spasmed while I was up there for the last ten minutes, I felt something go" Coach whispered after he was helped to a nearby bench.
"Are you going to want medical to look at that?" Jeff asked Coach.
"Nope, nobody is taking me out of the game right now, If medical were to look at my back I wouldn't be here, so no, please don't have them look at me back," Coach responded as Taj and Erinn both seemed to struggle to control their responses.
After watching Coach walk back to camp under his own power, Taj and Erinn's skepticism of his injuries grew ever stronger.
"What's his strategy, to prey on everyone's sympathy?" Taj told Erinn. "All of the sudden he could stand [back] up and all he had to do was massage it, he's so full of it."
"And... when Jeff asked him if he wanted medical to look at it -- no, you said no because they're going to tell you there's nothing wrong with it," Erinn told Taj. "He needed an excuse for not winning."
Meanwhile, JT met with Coach and -- presumably aiming to get his jury vote -- pledged to vote for Erinn, which put Coach's fate in Stephen's hands.
"JT and I sat down with Coach and reassured him that the 'Warrior Alliance' was good and Erinn was going home tonight," Stephen explained afterwards. "And JT is going to vote for Erinn because he feels like he promised Coach that he would but I don't know what I'm going to do, it's really tricky right now."
Once the castaways arrived at Tribal Council, Erinn told Jeff that she expected "someone to be surprised" about the upcoming vote and Coach seemed to cryptically suggest that he knew his Survivor experience was coming to an end.
"No, women have great intuition," Coach told Jeff when asked if he expected the upcoming vote to be a surprise.
After a delay in which Coach decided to read a poem he'd written, the castaways voted and Coach was ousted in a 3-2 vote.
"It was an honor guys, thank you," he told the castaways as he departed.