~Jeff Probst--Insider TV~
If ever there was a polarizing presence in the history of Survivor it is undeniably Benjamin Coach Wade. Coach came into this season with a history of being termed a crank pot and delusional as a result of his first season. However by the end of this, his third season it is obvious that Coach Wade has brought his best game ever to Survivor.
Coach has had quite the ride this season and is easily the one single force and presence throughout the game that we saw play out. As we sit now he stands on the thresh-hold of making the Final 3. Something that he had to rise above and work to achieve after a shaky start.
From the get go, within minutes after arriving on the island; Coach was called out as a "temporary player" by Christine Shields Markoski. He also did not get the most cordial reception from the Upolu Tribe as well.
Rick Nelson admitted that prior to coming out he felt Coach maybe one of the returnees. He admitted he did not like Coach; however within a very short time Rick gained respect for Coach and ended up in an alliance with Coach. Which shows that Coach was able to win over even a detractor within his own tribe.
On Savaii Ozzy's tribe crumbled whereas on Upolu Coach's tribe did not. Coach was able to gain the ultimate control of his tribe from the onset. He unified them and as a result Upolu was able to make it 5 strong to the Final 5 after having achieved a successful Pagong of the Savaii Tribe. Something that doesn't happen often.
But to achieve this several factors would have to be in place.
Finding The Right Balance
To be successful Coach could not come into the game as his approach had been previously. He had to in essence find a balance that would work.
Fact 1: He approached the game methodically first achieving trust and respect from Upolu. Gained absolute control without lording this same control over the tribe. Upolu as a tribe worked as a unit instead of it becoming a one person hierarchy as we saw last season with Rob. Instead of a tribe full of goats, Coach had a couple players who challenged him. Yet he still retained control. Everything balanced out as he found the right mixture of strategical-social-mentorship to see his way successfully through and keep his tribe completely loyal to him directly.
Fact 2: Established a five strong alliance that he was loyal to even despite obstacles from within this alliance. He was able to take this very alliance to the Final 5. Not an easy feat. Especially given the fact that there were divisions within the alliance itself that we saw play out on this past episode. Those divisions did not rise up overnight and it's obvious that Coach found a way to hold them all together intact. That's again not an easy feat and should be applauded and respected.
Fact 3: Solid Social Game~ Coach has balanced an alliance with each person in his tribe from the onset. Building a direct alliance with Sophie and sub alliances with each member in pairs. Something that's hard to maintain for an entire game but Coach has been able to balance each. That's a great strategical move to accomplish and Coach was able to accomplish it so far this entire game.
Fact 4: Coach has played the most sound strategical game of anyone this season. The ones that come the closest to him in strategy..instinct wise; have either been too transparent and edgy (Albert) or left early (Jim) The only one I feel is closest to him in strategy is his main ally Sophie who I feel has advised Coach.
In the end it comes down to instincts of knowing what to do at any given point and Coach has known how to do that. Bringing Cochran to the fold after calling out his and Ozzy plans is one example among several. Coach has played a bold but smart game.
Fact 5: Coach has possessed a hidden immunity idol since middle game and at no point has he been in a position to where he would have to use it. He has been a viable threat the entire season yet his social game has been so well established that no one will consider placing a vote against him.
This season Coach has been able to find the right balance and with each move he has made has assured him a lock on the Finals. Whether he will be successful still remains to be seen. But he has by all intents and purposes played a brilliant game.
How Successful Overall Will He Be At The End? Some Speculation
Overall Coach Wade has played a solid social, strategical and very competitive game.
But the question is how will the jury interpret his game should he make the Finals?
The only drawback to the success of his end game will be how the predominantly Savaii jury interprets his game. Will they react from a non-biased view as they were exempt from playing directly with Coach and had no direct emotions involved other than anger at Cochran?
Or do they nurse anger due to the aftermath of the Pagong and struggle to interpret the reactions upon exit of each Upolu the past two Tribals?
His success will mainly focus on whom he takes to the End. If it's Rick-Albert he may stand a good chance. As Rick is almost a non-factor in the game and Albert reminds me a lot of Sash who pretty much played everyone and curried jury votes. In the end..that bit Sash in the butt.
If it's Sophie-Ozzy then he will have a tougher route as I think that Savaii might go with Ozzy, even tho they don't really care for him. He was predominant in their original tribe and Savaii strikes me as a tribe who would vote along tribal lines.
If it's Sophie-Albert he may still have a shot as again Albert has been outed as a hard core player and he also did not offer Brandon the immunity back even tho Brandon was clearly in trouble. My guess is Albert knew it and voted with Brandon just in case he made jury. Sophie has shown herself to be rather smart and well spoken and has won 2 immunities so far. But the question again is how well did she make her presence known to Savaii and her relationships with any exiting Upolu?
Coach may end up with votes with this faction but it maybe close between him and Sophie.
In the end if it's a strong finish that takes a lot of balls to do. To play a well established game and take strength. That shows a lot of confidence and it also will force a jury to determine of the strong..who is the best. Most don't have balls to do that but I think Coach might just do it. We'll see if he does. Were he to do so; to me, again kudos should be given for having the strength to attempt it. Again not many would attempt it.
Personal Growth and Maturity
The best way to approach this part is to listen to the man himself. One of the best confessionals ever from Coach. It shows the focus and maturity that he brought to the game this season. The video speaks for itself. Coach has truly grown as an individual and in the game of Survivor.
I am supporting Coach Wade For Player Of The Season for all of the reasons above listed. The term is Fan Favorite but we fans as the "ultimate jury" should take in account who has played the most solid and best all season. To also not allow prior prejudices and biases affect your decision. It's been Coach's season and he has played it from the get go. The best social, strategical and competitive game of all players that played this season.
Click on below link to get info on how to vote for Coach and to post support for him as well.
Vote for Coach Wade For Player Of The Season!