Survivor, Benjamin "Coach" Wade
Survivor's Benjamin "Coach" Wade doesn't sound crazy on the phone. Yes, fellow Survivors have said he isn't "grounded in reality" and accused him of being "off the reservation," and even Survivor host Jeff Probst has questioned his claims that he's survived a shark attack, a hurricane, and being abducted by Amazonian tribesmen who, Wade says, considered eating him. (Allegations of cannibalism aren't unheard of in the region.) Wade, a soccer coach, composer, and the show's self-proclaimed "Dragon Slayer," was voted off after the once-united J.T. and Stephen split their votes, setting up an anything-can-happen showdown between J.T., Stephen, Taj and Erinn. Check back with us Monday for a recap of Sunday's finale and an interview with the winner.
TVGuide.com: Some of the other contestants concluded that you were out of touch with reality.
Coach: I can assure you that I am not delusional; I am not crazy... When I went down there, I made a promise to myself that I would be true to myself and that I would tell people everything about me. I gave every fiber of my being. I gave every ounce of physical strength, of mental strength, of sensationalism, with the Dragon Slayer and Chong Ran [meditation] and doing all these crazy moves down in the water. That stuff was for the camera, yes. But the stories that I told and who I am as a man, you can see it in the game. I played with honor and integrity. I went into a deceitful area and a deceitful game and tried to be a light-shining beacon to those people.
Not that I'm better than those people. In fact, I think the opposite. Part of my bravado at the beginning and what was perceived as arrogance was me trying to psych myself up to play a game against people that were younger than me. Brendan was stronger than me, Tyson was a hell of a lot better athlete than me, Debbie was more vivacious and social than me, Erinn was smarter than me... I can just go on and on.
TVGuide.com: You haven't fully explained how you say you were captured by Amazonians or what happened. Can you elaborate? [Warning: Things are about to get gross.]
Coach: [Pause] You know, gosh. ... It takes a lot for me to tell it because I haven't told it a lot and it's a very traumatic experience. I know that there are documented cases or legends of people in the Amazon in that upper reach — that their ultimate conquest over a man is to cut off [his genitals] and stuff it down their mouth and eviscerate them as it's going through their intestines and the last thing you see is somebody eat your own manhood in front of you, and then you bleed to death. And that's something that was in the back of my mind when I went down there. It was something in the back of my mind when I was sitting there in that village, saying I'm never going to get out of here. And it was a very traumatic experience. And when Jeff asked me at Tribal [Council] and I was like, 'They were gonna eat me.' Of course that was blown out of context.
TVGuide.com: After telling you that there wouldn't be any surprises, Stephen voted against you. What are your thoughts on him now, and what's next for the game?
Coach: I think if push would have come to shove, J.T. would have voted for me if his vote was needed, and he was doing the smooth, Southern way of making it look like he had washed his hands. As far as the rest of the game, are they going to split? Are they going to stay loyal? That will be — now that the Dragon Slayer has exited stage right — that will be the... climax of the game.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Coach: I'm full-time conducting my symphony now. I want to write 20 different symphonies on 20 different cultures, 20 different countries in the next 20 years. It's something that's been a goal of mine for the last year at least. And I've got a couple of offers for coaching, so Coach will still be Coach.
Who do you think will win Survivor?