|'Beg, Borrow & Deal' backseat driver|
By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist
This is the true story ... (True story!) ... oh, wait a sec ...
Eight strangers were brought together in New York City, divided into two teams and let loose on a monthlong, cross-country version of a scavenger hunt on steroids. The challenge: Be the first to complete 10 (out of 40) sports-related tasks and get to Alcatraz. And, oh, by the way, they have nothing but the clothes on their backs and their wits.
That's why it's called "Beg, Borrow & Deal" (Tuesdays on our mothership, ESPN). And that's why Page 2 will be tracking their progress each week.
Episode 1: Let's meet our contestants!
Current status: Completed two tasks -- they got their picture taken with an Olympic medal (courtesy of Summer Sanders), and they each caught a 35-yard pass from an NFL QB (courtesy of Jesse Palmer). They are currently in New Jersey, but have a ride back into the city promised from Jason Sehorn.
Top quality: Most glib of any contestant
Lose it: Dot-com era glasses; the '90s are over, guy!
Best move: Calling other team to talk trash after completing first task
Worst move: Nearly sunk team with inability to catch a football
Overall: Quickly emerged as team leader and strategy honcho
Big question: Could he grope Juliet and Kelli any more?
Top quality: Connections to sports world
Lose it: Unabashed perkiness
Best move: Hooking team up with Summer Sanders for first task
Worst move: Claimed to be athlete; also couldn't catch a football
Overall: Gold-medal effort in earning team quick task win
Big question: Does she know Jason Sehorn is married?
Lose it: Lack of confidence in strategic-thinking ability
Best move: Convincing strangers to buy her a disposable camera
Worst move: Not taking charge in hotel search
Overall: Her ability to manipulate random guys gives her the team's most valuable specialization
Big question: When will she assert control of team commensurate to her value?
Top quality: Low-key
Lose it: Sexist strategy collaboration with Josh
Best move: Using Southern connections to get into hotel room
Worst move: Started very slowly; figured him for free-rider
Overall: Episode MVP for scamming team into phat Jersey hotel suite
Big question: Will he go ga-ga every time they meet an athlete?
Red Team ("Team Dysfunction")
Top quality: Quick to come to solutions
Lose it: Gets run over by teammates
Best move: Volunteers friend's apartment as first stop ...
Worst move: ... doesn't check to see if friend is home first
Overall: Nice idea to go to friend's, but lousy follow-through
Big question: How soon before he flips on crazy teammates?
Top quality: Most assertive of any contestant
Lose it: Propensity to get weepy
Best move: Handling Josh's trash-talk phone call with class
Worst move: Wasting team's time looking at her website
Overall: Unafraid to speak her mind, but obviously not strong enough to offer the team desperately needed leadership
Big question: How many more crying jags will we get?
Top quality: Really wants to prove worth to team
Lose it: Inability to manage team expectations
Best move: Calling parents to help team out
Worst move: Dragging team to Nowheresville, N.Y.!
Overall: So far, she's all talk, no action. And what's up with that rag on her head?
Big question: What happens when she can't come through on her promises?
Lose it: Where to start? The soul patch? The annoying cap?
Best move: Talking Aubrey off her emotional ledge
Worst move: Selfish shopping spree as team waited for him
Overall: Big mouth, big attitude, low value-add
Big question: How many cities until his team leaves him behind?
Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. Check back each week for a review of the latest episode of "Beg, Borrow & Deal."