Departing thoughts – down but not out

Corey Raymo

(Editor’s note: Corey Raymo of Greencastle is a member of the Little Giants, one of the teams featured in this season of “Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge” on NBC)

The Little Giants were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the “Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge” with their loss on the fifth episode of Season 2 last week. After a near flawless performance in our first race, we encountered some struggles in the quarter-finals that cost us the race, and ultimately prevented us from advancing to the semi-finals. We had every intention of winning, and we all believed we had what it took to win, but we are all seasoned Spartan Racers and we know very well that anything can happen at any time, in any race and nothing is certain until everyone crosses that finish line. This was difficult for us to experience, and even more difficult to watch happen on TV. However, all is not lost.

The fifth episode showed some of our struggles, but not all of them. We did struggle on the spear throw and that cost us some time. This is again one of those obstacles that can change the outcome of a race whether it’s on “Ultimate Team Challenge” or a normal Spartan Race. It just depends on how the planets, stars and moons are aligned that day!

We also got held up on the sled drag, which they didn’t show at all, but this one probably knocked us out of any contention and was the final nail in the coffin for us. After previewing the course the night before, we knew we didn’t want lane 3 for the sled drag because it was the roughest looking lane. By the time we got there though, it was the only lane left and that’s what we got. We made it maybe halfway, but ultimately the sled got stuck and we were dead in our tracks and were forced to take the maximum time, then move on. By the time we made it to the dunk walls and slip wall, it was too late and we watched our chances of advancing slip away as we saw the first and second place teams crossing the finish line. So goes Spartan Racing.

There were a lot of really great things that took place in the race though. The Little Giants executed the human ladder perfectly again, we made our way through the mud humps like army ants and we conquered the enormous slip wall even better than we did the first time around, which was the one obstacle everyone thought we wouldn’t have a shot at because of our height.

But the best part of that race was at the finish line. The Little Giants stood at the top of the slip wall knowing we had been eliminated at that point, but we wanted to finish with class and honor. We all joined hands and took our final leap into the waters below, grabbed our shield and crossed the finish line just behind the winners. There was a very brief period of almost dead silence as everyone almost awkwardly awaited how we were going to react to our loss. Then the magic of Spartan Racing took place ... the silence was broken as the two teams that beat us came over to us cheering, offering high fives, handshakes, fist bumps and congratulatory group hugs. The three teams that just got done fiercely competing on the course were now back to supporting friends. The audience was back alive and everyone was cheering.

The Little Giants lost ... but we also won. We knew at that point we accomplished what we set out to do. We wanted to show everyone that obstacles, weaknesses and shortcomings can be overcome. We wanted to inspire. Now don’t get me wrong, we wanted to win, and we are disappointed. We are still hungry, and we want another shot. We absolutely plan on applying next season and hope to get our chance at redemption! We hope to see you on Season 3 of “Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge!”