Lakeland native Spencer Duhm ejected from Survivor
Would his youth and lack of life experience prove a greater handicap than any advantage he might have from obsessively knowing the game's history?
But as it turns out, none of that really became a factor when Duhm was shown getting voted off the Jalapao Tribe on Thursday's episode of Survivor: Tocantins.
Instead, it was Duhm's inability to perform well during a challenge where he had to catch small balls hurled into the air by a slingshot that sealed his fate.
Jalapao was actually ahead in the game, fueled entirely by the performance of Alabama cattle rancher J.T. Thomas, when members of the opposing tribe began pushing and shoving to jockey for better position, shutting Duhm down. Thomas even broke a tooth during the competition, but his effort wasn't enough and Duhm's awful showing led to his ouster.
Viewers never got to see Duhm reveal his more interesting qualities -- besides having an encyclopedic knowledge of the game, the University of Florida student is openly gay, though he was shown tonight misleading a teammate on that score for fear of being stigmatized.
Duhm also paid a high price just to compete. Because he was added to the show as a last-minute alternate, he was forced to give up a semester's tuition at UF after canceling classes so late.
“I was like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning . . . I basically said, ‘screw school,’ ” said Duhm back in January, when the show's cast was originally announced (he had returned to classes in Gainesville, waiting for the show to debut). “It’s a mental game and a physical game, which made it one of the toughest things you could do. I really wanted to do it myself and see what I could do.” *