|'Beg, Borrow & Deal' backseat driver|
By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist
Whether you have tuned in for the first seven episodes of "Beg, Borrow & Deal" or just getting into it now, there's enough time to catch up and figure out which team you want to root for during the season finale on Tuesday night. (For all the info on the show -- full player bios, complete task lists and post-show commentary from every episode -- check out ESPN.com's Beg, Borrow & Deal site, Keyword: Beg)
Here's a primer:
Two teams of four strangers were dropped in the middle of Times Square in New York City. They have no money. (In fact, they aren't even allowed to handle money.) They have no cell phone. They have no change of clothes.
Each team is given a list of 40 sports-related tasks. The first team to complete 10 tasks, then make their way cross-country to Alcatraz Island is declared the winner. The winning team gets free trips and tickets to all the major sports events next year yada, yada, yada. The fun here is the process, not the end goal. And the process, as the title suggests, is to literally beg, borrow and deal your way across the country. And so they have, with mixed results.
Meet the teams:
What's the team dynamic? As dysfunctional as their opponents are, Team Cobi is all about loving each other. No, no intra-team hook-ups (yet), but relatively easy success has kept everyone in bright spirits. At times, Juliet has alienated her three teammates with her self-absorbed attitude, but as soon as they complete a task, all strife is quickly forgotten.
Which tasks have they pulled off?
Cobi: (1) Got picture taken with an Olympic medal; (2) Caught a 35-yard pass from an NFL QB; (3) Gave a bath to a college mascot; (4) Shagged fly balls during MLB batting practice; (5) Scored on an NHL goalie; (6) Threw out the first pitch at an MLB game; (7) Led MLB crowd in pre-game singing of National Anthem; (8) Scored a goal on an MLS goalie; (9) Hosted a sports-radio talk show.
Where'd the name come from? The team's first completed task was to get their picture taken with an Olympic medal. In their case, it belonged to Summer Sanders. Asked to come up with a team name upon completing the task, Summer volunteered that the mascot of the Olympics she won her medal at was named "Cobi." The team adopted the name as a tribute to the person responsible for helping them nail their first task.
Meet the team members:
What's the team dynamic? Couldn't be more dysfunctional. They all seem to hate each other, and they have rarely worked as a team. To their credit, coming by the tasks has been such a hardship that they really seem to appreciate them when they complete them (as opposed to Team Cobi, who all seem to take their successes for granted). Also appreciated is Team Contact's hit-the-after-party attitude when they complete a task. They may be getting blown out, but they know how to stop and enjoy the moment.
Which tasks have they pulled off?
Contact: (1) Gave a bath to a college mascot; (2) Caught a 35-yard pass from an NFL QB; (3) Beat an NBA player in HORSE; (4) Rode with a minor-league baseball team on their bus; (5) Got their picture taken with an Olympic medal; (6) Hit an NBA three-point shot.
Where'd the name come from? The team realized that its success would be dependent on their contacts in the outside world, not just on their ability to work as a team (an ability that turned out to be quite suspect).
Meet the team members
Current score: Team Cobi 9, Team Contact 6.
Outlook: Team Cobi seems to have an insurmountable lead over Team Contact, but currently Cobi is stuck on a Wyoming highway with car trouble. I really can't see Cobi choking so badly that they collapse so close to the victory. However, could Cobi's late-stage problems be the opening the usually dysfunctional Contact (currently in Oklahoma City) needs to make a surge and pass the front-runners at the finish line? I guess that's why they play the game. All will be revealed in the season finale on Tuesday night.
Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. He has followed "Beg, Borrow & Deal" through the entire season via a weekly "Backseat Driver" column.