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post #1 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so it doesn't appear that anyone started a thread on this one so I'll go ahead and do it. Anybody else catch this last night?

For those who aren't familiar, in an effort to win prize money ($100K) for their chosen charity (I believe all selected are military oriented), celebrities are paired with real special warfare soldiers to complete "missions". Completed missions mean "earned stripes", which has a dollar amount attached to it.

I saw the initial promos for this and just thought this was such a bad idea and possibly a disrespect to the military. After watching it last night, I don't think it's in any way disrespectful (but I'm not nor never have been enlisted so for whatever that's worth). I also don't think it's a bad idea but I also don't think it's a strong idea and it might be because of the celebrities involved. I'm not sure how much anyone will care about them doing something so far out the box. A football player dancing...I don't watch it but I get it. Nick Lachey or a WWE Diva playing special forces? Meh...!

The one thing that does get you, or me anyway, is the fact that they use live firearms and ammo and apply it to real'ish mock missions. Last night they had to jump in (a lake?) with full gear, swim to a boat, shoot targets with return fire oncoming (not sure how they did that), blew up a watch tower with a grenade launcher and then blew up a bunker while a helicopter lifted them out in seemingly real military fashion. Slowest time loses.

Having said all of that, the two most athletic looking celebrities, Terry Crews and (the trainer from the Biggest Loser, haven't watched in a while so I don't know him, Dulovett maybe?) were pulled out of the lake because they couldn't swim. Why would you sign up for something like this if you can't swim? Why would you ask someone to do this and not ask if they could swim? Ok, forget both of those questions.....They tell you exactly what you are going to do in the mission. The first thing they say is "You are going to jump from the helicopter into the lake and swim to the boat." Why not raise your hand and say "Excuse me, I'm not a strong swimmer or I can't swim". I'm still trying to decide if it was more funny to me or embarrassing but I do know I spent a lot of time shaking my head at that.

So there it is folks. Not sure if this thread, or the show for that matter will go anywhere but we'll see.
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 06:32 AM
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Yeah, I watched it. Not great, but not as bad as I was expecting. I don't know if I will continue to watch; I'll try at least one more.

As for the non-swimmers, two thoughts:

*I hate to resort to stereotypes, but if "white men can't jump," I'm afraid "black men can't swim." In the Olympics, we saw one black man winning swimming metals. However, a high percentage of blacks don't swim at all or don't swim well. I am not sure if it is lack of opportunity, cultural, or what. When I heard the competition, I wondered if they make it.

*Decades ago, I was on my high school swim team and Coach encouraged us all to go for Water Safety Certification. (What the Red Cross called lifeguard training back then. They have new names now.) It was mostly how to rescue, but one activity required us to jump in fully clothed, try to swim (VERY hard, even for swim team members), then tread water, and disrobe to our bathing suits. You can't swim a stroke that involves lifting your arms out of the water, and even breast stroke and side stroke are MUCH harder, but he made us try and see. You need to be VERY comfortable in the water not to panic. Gear would make it immeasurably worse. I wonder how much negative bouyancy the gear had.

If you are a manly man (both were), it may be very embarassing to admit your weaknesses. However, if you are uncomfortable in the water, or a weak swimmer, I can see that situation leading to Panicville. Frankly, I would decline unless I could determine the gear had net neutral bouyancy, and I was only overcoming increased resistance. If I were younger and in better shape, I might agree to gear negative bouyancy that was smaller than MY positive bouyancy.
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 06:37 AM
 
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The most simple stroke is dog paddle. All he had to do was relax then start using his legs to help keep him buoyant, Yes, even in gear and clothes it is hard, because you have to not panic, and know to strip the gear off to keep from going down. That is the number one reason a lot of soldiers died during D-Day both at Iwo Jima & Normady, was not that they could not swim, it was the weight of the gear, and yes panic to keep from getting shot while exiting the boats.

Even in the Navy & Marines, they have you jump in fully clothed, and also teach you to use simple stuff like your pants, shirt, hat/cover as a flotation device.
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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First off, I learned long ago that stereotypes are based on a certain reality. So yes, black men don't swim (in general terms). In fact, that's what I was screaming at the tv while watching it, and before anyone runs away with the discussion, I am a black man. I just happen to be one who swims. Somewhat off topic, but when I was young, my mom sent me for lessons and I really struggled to get certified. The reason was because it was so hard for me to float. I tried and tried and tried and was never comfortable, they had to pull me aside for a special session on the backstroke and even at that age I could tell the instructors were getting frustrated. Eventually I passed but it wasn't until many years later that I learned about body mass. According to studies, blacks in general are leaner than whites, which means we will sink! Or maybe a better way to say it is we won't float as easily. In addition to that, I'm afraid it's somewhat of a trickle down effect. Because many older blacks didn't have opportunities to swim they never taught their kids to swim or thought to take their kids to learn. There are exceptions of course but this gets passed down and you all too often hear about kids drowning. The Olympic swimmer gives his time to teach black kids to swim for this purpose. Anyway, back to the show, Yes!, how in the world do the producers and these military experts not go through the basic safety/survival training for the water? It almost seems like it was done (or not done) on purpose.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 09:42 AM
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Well, they couldn't strip the gear off, they needed it for the mission.

Given the gear, they are much better off on their backs, frog kick, and sweeping the arms back and forth using hands as planes to generate lift until the boat comes. On their backs, they can float with just their mouths out of water, not their whole head, less tiring. The frog kick will allow some forward progress towards the boat.

It looked like they got training on some aspects of the mission, but not on swimming or treading water in gear. In fairness, they should have received some training, starting in full clothing and gradually adding gear weight. Poor swimmers were at immense disadvantage, and given no chance to compensate with training/practice. The way is was done may be seen as unfair.
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Agreed on all points. With that being said, my girlfriend and I love the Amazing Race. But she brought up what now seems like an obvious question.....Do they profile contestants to find out their biggest fears and/or limitations and implement that challenge or similarly so in the contest on purpose? For example, last season, there was a girl who was deathly afraid of heights and there just happened to be a height challenge. I wonder if that's true and if something similar occured with these guys?
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 10:17 AM
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The way Terry Crews is built, he'd have needed to be a pretty strong swimmer to stay afloat with his gear on. The trainer's issue was he not only couldn't swim well, but he had a fear of the water (probably because he couldn't swim well).

Yes, it's hard to overlook the stereotype, but when access to swimming pools (ponds, etc) is far more restrictive to inner-city kids than it is to suburban/rural kids, you're going to see a "stereotype" develop. The reality is that it is environmental, not racial.
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

The way Terry Crews is built, he'd have needed to be a pretty strong swimmer to stay afloat with his gear on. The trainer's issue was he not only couldn't swim well, but he had a fear of the water (probably because he couldn't swim well).
Yes, it's hard to overlook the stereotype, but when access to swimming pools (ponds, etc) is far more restrictive to inner-city kids than it is to suburban/rural kids, you're going to see a "stereotype" develop. The reality is that it is environmental, not racial.

Agreed.

And to quote from the movie Rocky......Apollo Creed - "Can he swim?" Mickey - "With a name like rock?"
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnS-MI View Post

...
*Decades ago, I was on my high school swim team and Coach encouraged us all to go for Water Safety Certification. ....

Decades ago where I went to high school, they had a swimming requirement for graduation. You either had to have a certificate showing you passed an approved swimming class or take the beginning swimming class at the high school or "test out" of the requirement. IIRC, the test involved diving into the pool swimming out 25 yards to the middle of the pool (any stroke you prefer), treading water for while, floating on your back for a while (I'm trying to remember if you had to do a front float too, IIRC it was just the back float) and then swim the 25 yards back to the end of the pool (any stroke again). And even if you completed the test, they could flunk you if they felt you struggled too much.
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

The way Terry Crews is built, he'd have needed to be a pretty strong swimmer to stay afloat....

That body build stuff can be very misleading at times. For instance, when I was high school age, I had heavily muscled legs from serious bicycle training but I also had large lung capacity from the bike riding, so everyone that saw me thought I was going to sink like a stone but when I'd float my legs would sink, but I could easily keep my chest and head above water by completely inflating my lungs and them only taking shallow breaths. With that huge chest that Crews has, he might have been able to pull off the same trick.

The lung capacity issue came up during the crawl strokes too. I found that if I took full breathes on every stroke I'd quickly start to hyperventilate, so I'd switch to breathing every second or third stroke and the instructor would be yelling at me to breath. smile.gif

BTW, notice that the black woman (Laila Ali) and all the other women too for that matter, didn't have any problem with the swimming challenge. so it's not just race and having "natural" buoyancy certainly helps. wink.gif
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post #11 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 02:33 PM
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I'm guessing Laila Ali didn't grow up without access to swimming pools - or just about anything else.

Fat floats, muscle sinks. You'd need huge amounts of air to offset Crewes muscle mass - or just be a fantastic swimmer. I had a (plump) buddy who could go to the deep end with his arms against his side motionless (no hand or feet treading) - and he'd float with the water level right at his upper lip.

[EDIT] Mac: Re-reading this it seems like I was disagreeing with you, but I'm just expanding on the general thought - not disagreeing with your comment.
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post #12 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

Decades ago where I went to high school, they had a swimming requirement for graduation. You either had to have a certificate showing you passed an approved swimming class or take the beginning swimming class at the high school or "test out" of the requirement. IIRC, the test involved diving into the pool swimming out 25 yards to the middle of the pool (any stroke you prefer), treading water for while, floating on your back for a while (I'm trying to remember if you had to do a front float too, IIRC it was just the back float) and then swim the 25 yards back to the end of the pool (any stroke again). And even if you completed the test, they could flunk you if they felt you struggled too much.

This is the same test I was talking about. There was no front float. I was about 7 or 8 and I had to do it over and over. I missed out on a lot of the free swim because of it. Another thing, the "take your breath and hold it for several strokes" that you see them do in the Olympics? I wasn't allowed to do that! I had to breath with each stroke. I was ahead of my time!!! LOL! To this day I still swim better that way.
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post #13 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

That body build stuff can be very misleading at times. For instance, when I was high school age, I had heavily muscled legs from serious bicycle training but I also had large lung capacity from the bike riding, so everyone that saw me thought I was going to sink like a stone but when I'd float my legs would sink, but I could easily keep my chest and head above water by completely inflating my lungs and them only taking shallow breaths. With that huge chest that Crews has, he might have been able to pull off the same trick.
The lung capacity issue came up during the crawl strokes too. I found that if I took full breathes on every stroke I'd quickly start to hyperventilate, so I'd switch to breathing every second or third stroke and the instructor would be yelling at me to breath. smile.gif
BTW, notice that the black woman (Laila Ali) and all the other women too for that matter, didn't have any problem with the swimming challenge. so it's not just race and having "natural" buoyancy certainly helps. wink.gif

They proved it on Manswers assuming you believe them wink.gif
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post #14 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 02:57 PM
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This is the same test I was talking about. There was no front float. I was about 7 or 8 and I had to do it over and over. I missed out on a lot of the free swim because of it. Another thing, the "take your breath and hold it for several strokes" that you see them do in the Olympics? I wasn't allowed to do that! I had to breath with each stroke. I was ahead of my time!!! LOL! To this day I still swim better that way.

I had to do the same test. The only kids that failed were the ones that were afraid to commit to staying flat on their back. Once floating, you slowly sink when you exhale, but you pop right back up when you inhale. The other issue was not inhaling deep into the chest. When I taught my kids to float (or swim under water) I'd make them keep their mouths open to prevent them from holding air in puffed out cheeks instead of their chest.
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post #15 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 03:13 PM
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Decades ago where I went to high school, they had a swimming requirement for graduation. You either had to have a certificate showing you passed an approved swimming class or take the beginning swimming class at the high school or "test out" of the requirement. IIRC, the test involved diving into the pool swimming out 25 yards to the middle of the pool (any stroke you prefer), treading water for while, floating on your back for a while (I'm trying to remember if you had to do a front float too, IIRC it was just the back float) and then swim the 25 yards back to the end of the pool (any stroke again). And even if you completed the test, they could flunk you if they felt you struggled too much.

I think my high school had that test too, but swim team "advance placed" it. Six days a week, we swam a mile, kicked a half, and swam 5 sprints in our events (5 sprints total, the coach picked which ones if you swam in multiple events). Water Safety was a breeze, swim a quarter before class, tread water in the deep end while the coach taught, and while you waited your turn to practice rescues with a "victim" (or play victim and be saved). No touching the wall for an hour.
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post #16 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 03:27 PM
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This is the same test I was talking about. There was no front float. I was about 7 or 8 and I had to do it over and over. I missed out on a lot of the free swim because of it. Another thing, the "take your breath and hold it for several strokes" that you see them do in the Olympics? I wasn't allowed to do that! I had to breath with each stroke. I was ahead of my time!!! LOL! To this day I still swim better that way.

A breath every stroke is (was?) recommended for learners to make sure they were breathing enough. Racers only breath as they need to because it costs a little a time (but not as much as going anerobic and shutting down). It is generally recommended to exhale gradually to the stroke where you will breath, not hold it and exhale all at once. The exception is if you are trying to go a whole length underwater; hold it for a while, then exhale gradually.
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post #17 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 04:46 PM
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I guess I should elaborate. When I said I was breathing every second or third stroke, I wasn't holding my breath between strokes. I'd take a big breath and then do a long controlled exhale until the second or third and then take another big breath. I'd been playing brass instruments since I was in second grade,, so taking a big breath and then doing a long controlled exhale came very naturally to me. It's exactly what you do when you're playing a long musical phrase that you don't want marred by breath marks.

The instructors yelled at me too, Closet Geek, but I complained about hyperventilating when I tried to breath every stroke and they eventually decided I was doing fine every other stoke and stopped bitching at me. And obviously, we were never doing anything strenuous enough that I was getting oxygen deprived. If it had been really strenuous, I probably would have had to breath every stroke.
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post #18 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 04:55 PM
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I think my high school had that test too, but swim team "advance placed" it. Six days a week, we swam a mile, kicked a half, and swam 5 sprints in our events (5 sprints total, the coach picked which ones if you swam in multiple events). Water Safety was a breeze, swim a quarter before class, tread water in the deep end while the coach taught, and while you waited your turn to practice rescues with a "victim" (or play victim and be saved). No touching the wall for an hour.

IIRC, the swim team at my HS got credit for both a PE class requirement and the swimming requirement.
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post #19 of 20 Old 08-21-2012, 07:13 AM
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After the second episode, this is seeming a little formulaic:
*Scary insertion
*Some target shooting
*Impressive looking but harmless extraction

In the regular season, this wouldn't make my watch list. Against summer reruns and some reality shows I just hate, it ranks a maybe. If anyone thinks I'm "damning with faint praise," that would be a fair assessment. It's like Survivor and Fear Factor had a child.
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post #20 of 20 Old 08-21-2012, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't know about this as a series. But a one or two episode special to really capitalize on the star power (such as it is) playing for their respective charities is something that I think would hold my attention. I had it on last night while cooking and washing dishes so it was only a little more than background noise for me. However, I did hear, and like when the guy told Laila Ali not to punch him. Perhaps if they upped the ante and gave it a little bit of Amazing Race personality where the teams trotted the globe to accomplish their missions?
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