Alone on the History Channel


This week the History Channel show “Alone” finished up the first season. By the way, I know my first blog post/page was about reality TV, and I don’t want to be redundant but I have to admit I really liked this show.
Maybe one reason I watched this one every week is because I was approached at the very beginning to submit an audition for the show (along with thousands of other people I’m sure). In my case the process didn’t get much further than the “I can’t take time off of work” phase but I have to admit I was a little intrigued by the possibility.
To tell you the truth, if I had known that my 25 year job would suddenly come to an end in January of this year I might have considered it more seriously. Like most of us who do this “survival” or “bushcraft” or “whatever” thing, I like to think I would be up to a challenge like this. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding and it would be nice to find out for sure.
It was also interesting to see some guys I was familiar with from YouTube (Mitch, Joe and Wayne) and who I think all have great skill sets. I guess in some ways I was imagining myself in their place. And, to be honest, maybe being just a little envious since by the time the show started airing my schedule was a lot more flexible.
So, my wife watched the first episode with me and after seeing all the stuff about mountain lions and bears and wolves she was like “there is NO WAY I would ever stay a single day out there” and pretty much indicated that she would consider me crazy if I said I would. But the truth is, I couldn’t honestly tell her I wouldn’t.
I mean, I grew up watching Fess Parker as Daniel Boone and Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan. Ever since I can remember I have felt the call of the wild, yet I have never been truly tested.
If I have to be honest, there is something inside of me – a 55 year old man – that echoes the words of the bad guy in the first Dirty Harry movie when Clint Eastwood says the line about not remembering how many shots he fired. “I just gots to know”.
So I’m watching the first show when I see that one of the “contestants” is from Georgia. From Blairsville, in the north Georgia mountains-  just down the road from Woodruff Boy Scout camp where I have spent so much time over the years. Which makes me sort of conflicted as to who to root for and I decided to just watch and see how things develop.
Fast forward several episodes and there are now 4 guys left (the Georgia boy is one of them) , all have been there like almost 6 weeks and they each seem like they are settled in for the long haul. And even though each one had a very different approach, I started thinking about what they each had in common to allow them to make it in such a harsh environment.
I think it is about a positive attitude. What I saw that they all had in common was none of them seemed to focus their mental energy on the how hard and challenging it was. Sure, they mentioned it in video but instead of worrying about what they didn’t have or couldn’t do, they each just took action and did what they were able to do. I think there is a lesson in that for each of us. Like the Nike slogan: Just Do It!
OK, I’m running the risk of rambling again (big surprise) so I’ll wrap this up. Bottom line, I think it took guts for every single person on the show to even apply, much less step onto the shore in the middle of nowhere and watch their lifeline wave goodbye. I think this show was a breath of fresh air among some of the same old “survival” shows that have become so popular in the last few years. I have no doubts there was probably some “hollywood” stuff involved but I really think the premise was honored and these guys seriously proved their mettle.
Oh, and even though I like my YouTube buds, I am kind of glad a Georgia boy won.