Exclusive: Pat Cusack talks 'Survivor: David vs. Goliath' first impressions and his 'Survivor' casting
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/02/2018
Pat Cusack was medically evacuated from Survivor: David vs. Goliath after a freak boating accident during the premiere episode of Season 37 on CBS.
Pat, a 40-year-old maintenance manager from Cohoes, NY, who currently resides in Watervliet, NY, was forced to leave the game on Day 3 after injuring his back on the boat ride returning from the season's first Immunity Challenge.
Pat begged Survivor host Jeff Probst to stay in the game and continue competing for the $1 million, but his pain was so severe the medics worried his injury might be very serious. Pat therefore had no choice in the matter.
"To be out of the game not by vote but by pure accident, it's gut-wrenching, but my life and my health is bigger than this game. And ultimately, I will pick myself up off the beach, dust the sand off, and get back on my horse. As a David, it's what I've done for 41 years; it's the story of my life," Pat said following his ouster.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Pat talked about his short-lived Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion of what Pat had to say.
Reality TV World: Would you say first impressions were fairly accurate when the Goliath tribe viewed Christian Hubicki and Lyrsa Torres as the weakest members of your tribe? What are your thoughts on that?
Pat Cusack: Well, you know, obviously you can tell by Christian that he's not the most athletic kind of guy, but he's a Super Fan and he's very smart about the game. And I think that's how the Goliaths perceived him, like, "He's not going to be physical."
But come to find out,Survivor isn't about physical strength anymore. It's a social game and about social politics. In this game, just because you're a big, muscular guy, it doesn't mean you're going to fare well, because if you don't have a social game, it doesn't matter how big or how strong you are -- you're not going to make it.
So Goliath's perception, especially when I think it was [John Hennigan] who selected Christian and Lyrsa, they said, you know, "The girl with the purple hair and Big Bang Theory." They didn't even call him Christian; they called him Big Bang Theory.
Come to find out, this kid wrote algorithms for a slide puzzle. He solved the slide puzzle in under 10 seconds, you know what I mean? So he may not be [physically] strong, but he's brain smart and brain strong, and that can carry somebody real deep.
You don't necessarily have to win challenges to make it to the end as long as your social game is good and you shine when the sun is on you. If you take full advantage of your opportunity, you can go far.
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I don't know exactly the outcome for Christian, but we'll see how he fares, and [my] first initial thoughts of them was yeah, they're not strong or physical, but they're smart. And sometimes the game savvy person is a lot scarier than the big, muscular, athletic person.
Reality TV World: The Goliath tribe didn't hesitate to wander off and begin searching for idols, and Dan Rengering apparently found one. Did you personally look for an idol or were you aware of anyone else who might have been looking for one on the David tribe?
Pat Cusack: I wasn't aware that other people were; however, I was. You know, whenever I had an opportunity to get away from building the shelter, I'd make an excuse like, "Oh, I'm going to go find this perfect piece of tree I need... for a pedestal.
And as soon as nobody is around, of course you're looking at bushes and in trees and in holes. It's part of the game, and I'm sure everybody else was doing it just as much as I did.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to find one, but they are out there! You've got to find them and you don't know if anybody else is because you don't want to go follow people and put a target on your back. So I'm sure everybody else was looking for them just as much as I was.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you found out Jessica Peet is only 19 years old and she had lied about her age out there?
Pat Cusack: It didn't surprise me. It didn't surprise me at all. I knew she was young. I didn't know she was as young as she was, however, I have a daughter that's the same age as her. So it wasn't a surprise to me, because when we first got there, we were talking about, "Oh, what do you guys like to do?!"
Everyone is talking about, "I like to go to a bar and have a couple of drinks," and here she is, like, "Oh, I don't drink."
And it was like, "Are you a Mormon? Because anybody that is 22 years old and in college goes out and parties! And here you are saying, 'If we were to win beer at an Immunity Challenge or somewhere else, I'll just give it to somebody else because I don't drink.'"
Well, it's not that you don't drink -- it's that you can't drink because you are underage. (Laughs) So it didn't surprise me a bit to find out her real age.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on this season of Survivor? Was it your first time applying?
Pat Cusack: It wasn't my first time applying. I had applied online a couple of times, but I wasn't Internet savvy and I'm still not Internet savvy. Up until starting this process, I had a flip phone and I didn't have social media -- Facebook or Instagram. I had none of that.
So, my outlets to apply weren't as broad as other people's. So I ended up hearing on my wife's Facebook that there was an open casting call out in Rochester, NY, and me and my wife drove out, and low and behold!
Reality TV World: Do you think the David tribe could pull out some Immunity Challenge wins in the near future or are you worried for them?
Pat Cusack: We'll see how it all plays out! It very well [could happen]. Like I said, it may not be a physical challenge; it could be a brain one. And Davids are loaded with brains, trust me!