This is a blog post is about why Sophie deserves that title of Sole Survivor, and why haters must stop hating.
I should be putting this to the comments page, but I realized it was too long, so I decided to write this as a blog post to make this mainstream and to be read by Sophie haters everywhere. It is past midnight here in Manila, and I can't sleep yet, maybe due to the pre-New Year's celebration jitters...or just scared of the workload I have to face once school resumes in January.
I am guessing that some fans are irked of why a person like Sophie, the resident bitchy bitch of the season, won the game. And the reasons haters generated were "she rode Coach's coattails," "she was just strong in the challenges" and "she was a spoiled brat."
First, I just hate the analogy: Great in challenges = deserving. I dont understand how can one's weak physical ability deters his/her worth as a winner.
I know some winners from the past have won an individual challenge or two, but are not really challenge monsters like Ozzy was. But the way I see it, get to criticize winners like Sandra for just "riding on coattails." I know physical strength is important, but your brain, self-awareness and social skills are the more important elements in getting that title.
Just look at Sandra. Sandra knows she can't win a damn challenge to save her life, but she knows how the game works in a larger perspective, that challenges are only made to ease the stresses the game gives to its contestants. Reward Challenges are only to improve camp life and alleviate hunger, while Immunities are only to grant safety. In the grand scheme of the game, challenges are nothing really.
I don't understand why people focus too much on the physicality department. Sandra worked hard to make it to Day 39 twice without the need to win a single individual challenge. This only means that she ain't gonna need too much reward wins because the lack of food doesn't seem to affect Sandra's street smarts (though her impudence is magnified -- a non-debatable fact to most fans like me), while she doesn't need any necklaces or idols because she the ability to save her head and sneak in somebody else's on the chopping block instead. Weathering 39 days without these luxuries and advantages, then make it to the final TC is a true and legit winning moment. I should have put Natalie here, for similar (but not entirely) reasons, that is a story for another day.
Back to Sophie
Going back to Sophie, I don't think her strong showing in challenges was the sole reason she earned herself a million dollars, but her last minute and apparently sincere show of humility (accepting she has flaws and is willing to change it) and her not-so-under-the-radar strategy. Yes, she was strong in challenges, but this only makes her a more well-rounded player, because she appears to be a strategist, not entirely an athlete. She looked the part of an athlete, but she cannot fully be the part because strategy is also crucial, and that is to stay out of Coach's way, yet still giving impactful input to him, like voting Edna out instead of Mikayla.
Sophie was seen as a keen observer, which was a great quality of hers, which was seen where she smelled that Brandon was hiding something from the get-go. While barely spoken of during the first 36 days, Sophie's bluntness has been laid out fully by Ozzy. While she admitted she was blunt, she was willing to change and showed that she is not as acerbic as other people might think. Also, she did her best in talking to the Savaii people, having frequent talks with Cochran and Dawn. It was just sad that this was never fully explored. So socially, she did her best to assimilate and made friends with both Upolu and Savaii members, but her acidity still got in the way, and that was fully explained by the Jury, especially Whitney. But like Coach said, you have to meet people where they are. Yet still, a part of you will still be brought to their attention, no matter what you do. Sophie was admittedly hard to get along with or get to know, but it is her tough self that shows through. It is apparent that she was just expressing herself as a strong, young woman, but it came across as sour. She broke to tears when Ozzy said she was a brat, which shattered her cold exterior. You haters made her a character, not a person (note there are subtle differences between the two words). So socially, she just did what she thought was enough to socialize, but not losing herself in the process. Theat's the positive side I got from Sophie's story.
As for riding Coach's coattails, yeah, maybe the Savaii boot order was Coach's idea, but Sophie's strategy is to stay out of his way, yet as she put it, "kept her hand at the pulse of the game." Aligning yourself with the bruiser is a good strategy, and it has worked historically, with Sandra, Amber, Danni and Fabio. Lastly, she had moments at the final Tribal Council, like throwing Coach under the bus, by telling "he was a little girl," confessing how the idol was found, admitting to her off-putting personailty and whatnot. She might have not produced a noteworthy move or upset, but the overall silence of her gameplay makes her a deserving winner. I also don't understant of why people who are head-on playing the game are more deserving than those who are at the driver's seat. While I do not fully support under-the-radar game style, it has worked time and time again, so I can't complain. Though having this kind of game-play has its downsides, when you combine laziness at camp chores, weakness in challenges and unlikable demeanor (*cough, Katie, cough*).
Bottom line: For me, social game, check.
To close, though I did not root for her the whole time, I am pleasantly surprised by her subtle play. To all the haters out there, one last thing left to say: Sophie is a real person, you have judged based on how she was shown on TV (or how CBS wanted to portray her) -- without even realizing that you don't see a lot of things half time time. Also, I bet most of you didn't personally know her. Stop hating. If not, well, you can always object by thoughts. This is a free world, ya kno?
Not totally a member of the Soph-ierce fan club (but not a member of the Soph-ugly haters either), I am just saying her win is legit, and she deserves it. Congrats Mama Sophie! iankevinsevilla 16:57, December 29, 2011 (UTC)