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Ousted 'Survivor' Contestant: 'Why We Didn't Kill the Rooster'

by Audrey Fine, posted Oct 15th 2010 12:00PM
survivor: nicaraguaHurrah! The 'Survivor: Nicaragua' tribes have been shuffled, young and old are officially co-mingled and now the real game can begin. Well, except for the unlucky player who was eliminated Wednesday night.

Who did the dreaded walk of shame through the makeshift graveyard and what do they have to say about their time on the island? Read on to find out.


The fifth episode was hands down the most exciting of this 21st season. Game plans were shot to hell, alliances were crippled and NaOnka had a meltdown. Oh, and they canned that cockamamie "Medallion of Power." All good things. The only mar on the evening was the ouster of Espada's level-headed new leader, Tyrone Davis.

With both Jimmys already watching from home and Marty shipped over to the La Flor tribe, the fire chief from California quickly assumed the power position. The problem was that the new kids on the block, namely Na, Alina and Benry, didn't like to be told what to do. Especially when it came to deciding when to eat one of the chickens they'd won in the reward challenge. (Yes, there was finally a reward-only challenge.)

So, when it came to putting pen to paper, the silver-tongued fire chief's torch, like so many of the fires he's fought in the line of duty, was extinguished.

How's the big guy taking it? Like a man. We spoke to him today from home near Los Angeles. Here's what he had to say for himself...

You've got to be one of the most articulate 'Survivor' players to ever play the game. Have you always been so good with words and are you used to being able to talk people into seeing things your way?

Aw. Thanks, for the nice compliment. I wouldn't say that I've been able to do that -- to talk people into doing things -- but I've been able to express myself. I always try to find the right words to make sure I'm getting my point across.

When it first happened, were you excited about the re-jiggering of the tribes or scared by it?
I was excited! I thrive on showing up kids-20 years my junior -- I do it all the time at the gym! I play ball with 22-year-olds and I can still dunk at 43 and not [being] even 6 feet tall, that ain't bad for an old cat. I played at Venice Beach for many years and beat kids half my age. I'd say, "I'm old enough to be your daddy!" I'm just talking fun. [When it came to the new kids on the tribe], all you have to do for me to get motivated is tell me I can't do something and I'm on it.

Tyrone Davis, Survivor: NicaraguaDo you feel like Benry, Alina and Na acted liked reprimanded children seeking revenge when they voted for you? Benry, at least, should've realized what a physical asset you were!
Hmmm. It's interesting the way you put that. After seeing the show [on TV], I think maybe so, particularly the girls. The younger generation has a sense of entitlement. My age group says, "Let's do what we have to do now so we can do what we want to do later." The kids want it all now.

I wasn't trying to be bossy when they first came to the tribe, it was like if someone was walking into my home, I'd show them where the extra towels were and explain how things work.

What ran through your mind when you first saw Jimmy Johnson?

[Chuckles] The first thing I thought is, 'Is that Mike Ditka?' I play sports, I don't watch 'em on TV. I knew it was a familiar face and I knew he had to do with football but he was just a regular guy to me. Sure, if i was trying to run a football team, he'd be the guy.

Which aspect of the game is harder than what those of us sitting at home watching expect it would be?
"Hard" is a relative term. It depends on your attitude and what your threshold is. If your attitude is "this happens and I'm going to get past it," then you're OK. I'm used to being in extreme situations, probably a week or so after I got out of the game I was climbing up a huge wall and fighting a [raging fire] so it's all relative.

If there was any challenge for me it was connecting with certain people. So I'd have to say that the hardest part is the personality dynamics. 'Survivor' is a cultural experiment.

As with last season and the "controversy" surrounding James and the bananas, this time around, folks really seemed peeved that you ate more than what they perceived as your share of the chicken. Do you think that weighed heavily in their decision making process when it came time to vote or were they just annoyed with being told what to do?

I think it was a combo of the two. Sometimes there's an intangible thing and there are certain biases. Bigotry and racism exist. As far as the chicken, I made sure everyone ate before I did. I waited till everyone ate until I touched it. You didn't see me eating any chicken, you saw me gnawing on gristle and bones. Some people may be too high-society but I was going for it.

Why not kill the rooster and keep the egg-laying chickens?
I not a chicken-ologist but I remember someone saying that a hen would produce more eggs if the rooster was around.

In your CBS.com bio you cite (former winner and fireman) Tom Westman as your inspiration in playing the game. Did you think about his play at all while you were out there?
I didn't think about him at all. I didn't watch it a lot, I'm not a big TV guy. I just happened to watch a few episodes doing my homework and it had nothing to do with him also being a fireman, I just like the fact that he played with integrity.

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agreed! great write up - though I'll miss Tyrone.

October 21 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, except for the unlucky player who was eliminated Wednesday night.Well written and insightful.

October 19 2010 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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