Endurance Kids

Y'know that #relatable moment when your intern at the U.S. Olympic Committee is sitting in the cubicle across from you and watching the TV show you were on when you were 15?

No? Hm, weird.

Well, for those of you that are new around these parts, I was on a TV show when I was 15. It was called Endurance. You can read about it here and here and there's definitely an Endurance wiki somewhere on the internet, but I do not Google myself so you're on your own! *finger guns*

This summer was the 11th anniversary of the show's filming -- ELEVEN! YEARS! -- and to celebrate, a few of us had a little reunion. And it all kind of got me thinking.

I tried out for Endurance because I was the World's Biggest Fan of the show and thought it would be the coolest thing in the world. There wasn't really much thought to it beyond that. I imagined doing all these challenges, getting a partner and a team color, and meeting some (hopefully) awesome people that would (hopefully) turn into FRIENDS 4EVER and we'd (hopefully) have awesome reunions and it would all just be grand!!!

I didn't think about running into the dude that sent me to elimination on our shared college campus four years later. I didn't think about the friends I'd meet while studying abroad who'd watch my episodes of the show in a hostel in Copenhagen. I didn't think about the coworkers I'd eventually tell about my reality TV past, or the fact that I will be able to own Two Truths and a Lie for the rest of my life. I didn't think about all the "soooo, there's this thing I did..." conversations I'd be having with new people in my life for, uh, the rest of my life.

The reality of reality TV (heh) was totally lost on me. But here I am, 11 years down the road, living life as a grown-up reality TV kid.

^ A grown-up reality TV kid.

Now, let me be clear and say that reality TV is not my life by any stretch of the imagination. Until I started watching American Grit (which had one too many weird similarities!), Endurance very rarely crossed my mind. I give it a passing thought each year on significant dates, but otherwise packaged up my experiences into some insider knowledge on reality TV, hella real trust issues and the knowledge that my dreams are never out of reach if I make a good enough five-minute audition tape (metaphorically, of course).

But at 26 years old I suddenly found myself hanging out with two of my cast mates that I hadn't seen in years, and I realized... we're all making s#!t happen for ourselves. Lilly lives in LA and is a story producer for reality TV shows; she has literally worked with some of the people that were our producers on Endurance. Aric teaches guitar for a living and left our reunion to go to Vancouver to interview some music industry bigwigs for an article he was writing. And I'm working at the USOC, getting to go to Games and say I used to live at the Olympic Training Center.

Very different paths, sure, but we all had our passions and just kind of... did them!

Are we like this because of Endurance? Or were we always like this and Endurance was just a byproduct? Who knows. But either way, maybe there's something to this "reality TV kid" thing.

It's a pretty cool thing to be.

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  1. Darci, thank you so much.

    I love to see how in touch you are with Endurance, even 11 years later.

    I am a hemophiliac, and I watched Endurance with a certain awe, knowing my medical condition would have prevented me from ever making it onto the show (ignoring the fact that I was 8 when Endurance ended)

    I saw contestants like you, underdogs, and resonated with them. But you were always my favorite. I saw your positive disposition and eagerness to be on the show because you were a fan. You had a dream and you realized it! When I saw you compete, I felt like I could compete as well. I lived vicariously through your run on E5 and felt validated in some sort of way.

    I read your post about the woes of being skinny and I literally have felt every emotion that was felt in that article. You were one of the only contestants on Endurance I truly saw myself in and my 10 year old self looked up to you and admired you so deeply.

    Seeing the person you've become today, I still do.

    I'm sorry if this got cheesy or weirdly sentimental, but Endurance was literally my entire childhood. Thank you for contributing to something so great!

    1. btw, I am @TheACF12 on Twitter, we've had a few convos about High Sierras before :)