“WIPEOUT” MEMORIES (PART 4): “BYE BYE BIG BALLS”
We’re near the end, so let’s dive right in.
The gameshow “Wipeout” consists of four elimination rounds. The first Wipeout zone trims the number of participants from 24 to down to an even dozen. So I had survived to “Wipeout” for another day… or should I say 45 minutes, which was basically the time I had from the exhausting first round to eat and prepare for the next go-round. Or should I say Merry-Go-Round. Or better yet, the Merry-Go-Round from hell!
Round two featured the aptly named “Scare-o-sel.”
To survive you had to jump onto a giant greased-up rotating peg, cling to it while being dragged through obstacles and drop onto a platform. Then you had to grab another peg and not get knocked off while you rode it again and dropped onto a bullseye platform. Oh, and one miscalculation and you’d be dropped into the “freezing” water for a frigid swim back to the start platform. First six to make it move on, the rest go home.
So after we were suited up and given helmets (should have been a warning sign) we took a quick boat ride out to the platform. Unfortunately for me, unlike many of the other contestants who had had up to three hours to recover from the prior round, I was still coughing up mud and wheezing like an asthmatic from the prior round. No one to blame, just the luck of the draw.
Oh, and I should mention we were pretty high up. It may not look it on TV, but when I first got up on the platform I did suffer from a quick bout of “Oh damn, I’m up really high and falling from here is going to hurt.”
The airhorn went off and like that, round two was underway.
I could give you an in-depth explanation of my valiant struggle, but let’s just say things did not go well for Big Blue in round 2. I had 6 attempts on the first peg and was able to ride it 4 times (with varying levels of success… or hilarious failure… take your pick). And one time I did manage to drop momentarily onto the first landing platform, only roll off and fall back into the drink. I kept trying as I watched player after player hit the final bullseye. In the end, the sixth contestant made it to the final platform, the airhorn sounded again and I was on the outside looking in.
Like five other contestants in round 2, I was eliminated. There would be no shot at the $50,000.
I would Wipeout no more that day.
As I dragged my weary body back to the trailer, I congratulated the six-pack of contestants who would go onto round 3 and wished them well. I also high-fived my fellow eliminated brethren and sisters. Then I gingerly changed back into my street clothes and drove home. And for those of you wondering, yes I was incredibly sore the next day. Getting out of bed would be the extent of my obstacle course navigation that day.
One bummer was that since the show wasn’t going to air until April, I was bound by a NDA (Non-disclosure agreement), not to talk about the winner or what transpired for three whole months.
And when the time for the show to air came around, I had no idea how much screentime I’d get (if any).
Oddly enough, I was the last person in my family to see the episode when it aired on April 7th, 2011. My whole family lives in Atlanta and they saw the East Coast feed, while I’d have to wait three more hours for the West Coast feed. So, I just sat by the phone waiting for my family to call, wondering how goofy I looked and if I got on-air.
Then the phone rang. It was my youngest niece going crazy, saying that I had the opening shot of the episode and was all over it. I asked her if I looked goofy and she replied, “You always look goofy, Uncle Scott.”
And that made me smile.
So when the show finally aired here in Los Angeles, I watched it with my friends who laughed hysterically at my pain and rewound my misadventure on the Big Balls no fewer than a dozen times.
I was on national TV looking ridiculous and I couldn’t have been happier.
Many people have asked what I for being contestant on the show (other than bumps and bruises). Why that would be gas money.
Actually, I got so much more out of the experience. I have the joy of having been on only my second game show (I was on “Weakest Link” back in 2003), which is something I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a kid growing up in New Jersey. I ran around a gigantic obstacle course (aka playground) care-free. For a few minutes, this full-grown adult got to be 5-years-old again. I also made friends with several of my fellow contestants and keep in touch with them to this day.
I kid about how tough Wipeout was (and believe me, it was a real bitch at times), but I had the time of my life.
I didn’t take home the $50,000, but that didn’t matter. Not in the least.
I did it for the fun… and in that regard I went home a winner.
Big Balls… and Run on!
(I hope you enjoyed this overly long look at my time on Wipeout. Would you believe there is actually an epilogue? Yes, Big Blue would get another crack at the Wipeout zone. Keep your eyes peeled for “Big Blue 2.0” coming fairly soon.)