So as I'm still picking up the pieces from my computer crash last month, a couple of list posts were aborted in the process. I had very rough copies of these posts saved via e-mails to myself, so you're basically just getting the nuts and bolts. The first is the second part of my 'Best Survivors Ever' series and I don't think anyone wants to read "another several thousand words on the topic. Hilariously, the only entry I wrote out in full was about Russell Hantz, who wasn't even actually on the list. Also, with the new Survivor season starting tonight, it's very possible that this list could immediately become out of date. Sigh.
The other post idea was a random comparison of various star hockey players to various legendary rock bands that didn't quite come off, nor did I really put as much research or creativity into it as I should've. On the bright side, it also probably prevented me from making a tasteless wisecrack about Amy Winehouse and….uh, geez, there really have been a lot of tragic hockey player deaths this summer, haven't there? But I didn't actually make the joke, just DISCUSSED the joke, so it isn't tasteless! Loophole!
So basically, since both of these idea were half-assed, then combined, they make for one full ass of a post. Enjoy the….uh, ass?
With the new Survivor season just days away, it's high time for the second instalment of my 'Best Survivors Ever' series. Don't worry, unlike the Winners Edition, this one is only very long instead of incredibly long. I was a bit surprised because, if you're trying to rank the 'best' out of people who didn't actually complete the primary objective of what they were attempting to do (win Survivor), you'd think I'd have a bit more to say. In several of these cases, however, the players can be summed up as "Well, they knew what they were doing, and it didn't work out for them. Oh well."
As with the first list, I'm using these criteria….
* how this person performed in their respective season(s). While I'm selecting several players who finished anywhere from second place to not even making the merge, final standing has to count for something.
* how this person could perform if they were put into another Survivor season, or basically, ranking their skillset. This is a pretty subjective category since Survivor has changed quite a bit in its 22 (!) seasons, so what could win you the game in 2001 is a lot different than what could win you the game in 2011.
* for this particular list, I'm looking at WHY these people didn't win their season and if it was due to a correctible flaw.
And now, without further adieu, let's start with the guy who is quite notably not on the list, just because he's probably the most controversial omission.
X. Russell Hantz
He didn't crack the top 23. He wouldn't have cracked the top 53. "But Mark," you'll say if you're a Russell fan, "he finished second twice! And he was a power player in all three of his seasons! As someone who's watched the show since all the way back in 2009, Russell is clearly the greatest Survivor ever!"
You know those long-drive competitions they occasionally show on ESPN? These golfers spend all their time perfecting their swings so they can achieve maximum distance, so when they step out on the range, they can boom the ball a good 400 yards. While these big hitters are certainly impressive, however, there's a big difference between these guys and actual pro golfers. The main reason these guys are in made-for-TV long drive competitions and not playing on the PGA Tour is that their games simply aren't well-rounded enough to compete at the elite level. Sure, they can hit a golf ball 400 yards, but can they hit it straight? Or can they navigate a dogleg left? Or, most importantly, once the ball lands, can the big hitter manage to putt it into the hole?
Russell is, essentially, Survivor's answer to the long-drive golfer. He shows up on the island with a driver in his bag and nothing else. He has no finesse. If a situation calls for the game-playing equivalent of a delicate chip out of a sand trap, Russell just goes for the driver again.
What really makes Russell a bad player, however, is that he has no idea why he's a bad player. The fact that he voluntarily "took" the likes of Natalie, Parvati and Sandra to the final vote with him (they really took him, but play along) because they "didn't do anything" is a sign that Russell is just flat-out clueless about the all-important social aspect of Survivor. Even worse, he's dismissive of it, calling it a flaw in the game. The nerve of this guy. To return to my analogy, imagine if the winner of that ESPN long drive competition won a spot in the Masters. This golfer shows up at Augusta National and misses the cut by a mile since he can't chip, putt or play short irons. Then imagine this golfer complained to the media afterwards that, "Oh, putting is irrelevant. I can hit it farther than these guys, I should be the true Masters champion!" Nobody would take this argument seriously, so why are some people still convinced that Russell Hantz is God's gift to Survivor?
23. Jonathan Penner
22. Susie Smith
21. Gregg Carey
20. Holly Hoffman
19. Danielle DiLorenzo
18. Taj Johnson-George
17. Lex van den Berghe
16. Colby Donaldson
15. Greg Buis
14. Jerri Manthey
13. Ozzy Lusth
12. Jonny Fairplay
11. Matthew von Ertfelda
10. Amanda Kimmel
9. Peih-Gee Law
8. Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien
7. Tracy Hughes-Wolf
6. Ian Rosenberger
5. Stephen Fishbach
4. Yau Man Chan
3. Rafe Judkins
2. Rob Cesternino
1. Cirie Fields
Wayne Gretzky = The Beatles (undisputed best)
Gordie Howe = The Rolling Stones (around for-friggin'-ever, though the obvious difference is that Howe was still great by the end)
Bobby Orr = Led Zeppelin (legendary, changed the game, gone too soon, I'm not crazy about this one since I think most would agree that Orr is the second-best player ever, whereas Led Zep isn't nearly a clear-cut #2. I mean, they have a case as #2 but it's certainly debatable.)
Steve Yzerman or Mark Messier = U2
Peter Forsberg = The White Stripes (band without a bassist, player without a foot)
Guy Lafleur = The Who (phenom in their prime, kind of a joke now)
Jacques Plante = Pink Floyd (great, but mostly remembered for accoutrements today rather than their play. Plante is best-known for the goalie mask, and Floyd is best-known for The Wall tour. This one needs some work.)
Mario Lemieux = Bruce Springsteen (another 'best ever' candidate sabotaged by outside factors, yes I may be comparing Hodgkin's disease to the Ghost Of Tom Joad album)
Ted Lindsay = Neil Young
Eric Lindros = Oasis ("next big thing" that didn't pan out)
Paul Kariya = Counting Crows (they're still around??)
Rocket Richard = Elvis Presley (legend from a bygone era, perhaps the first icon of hockey/rock music)
Maurice Richard = Little Richard (just too obvious a pun to ignore)
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