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If you have a sports dream, then they have the sports stunts, as three people will compete in various challenges to try to win a sports fantasy for a loved one.

Recaps by Don Harpwood, GSNN


George Gray
Creator: Transworld International (based on a British series)
Packager: Transworld International, Mass Media, EOE
Airs: Mondays at 10pm ET on ESPN2

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Episode 6 - May 16

A trio of college guys are about to endure some PAIN and SHAME, and as usual, those that do well enough will attempt something INSANE, all to make the sports fantasy of someone else come true. And this week, that sports fantasy involves going to Europe to hang out and spend some time with tennis star Maria Sharapova. And there has to be something planned for that empty stadium in which we see host George Gray walking around during the intro, but unless you saw last week's preview, it's kinda hard to tell what's in store there...

So, who are this week's sacrificial lambs, and their hopeful dreamers?

Nate Williams
Age: 25
Attending: University of Houston
Competing for: Patrick Williams (father)

Jake Workman
Age: 20
Attending: University of Minnesota
Competing for: Shannon Szarke (friend)

Pete David
Age: 21
Attending: Colorado College
Competing for: Joan "Nonny" David (grandmother)

Day 1 (PAIN): This is Why You Don't Go Straight to Pro

The group makes their way to a gym, where there happens to be a small boxing ring set up. In that ring, George goes over the rules (win 1 Sacrifice to get in the Final, win 2 to keep someone out, win 3 to choose an opponent), then begins explaining the first Sacrifice. Basically, all they have to do is box a couple of rounds. Whoever does the best wins the Sacrifice. Oh, and they're not boxing each other. That would be too easy. They'll each be facing a professional junior middleweight, named Majit "The Magic Man" Raiz. Looks like the college guys are in for a world of hurt.

After they get their hands taped up and in their gear, George explains that each fight will be 2 rounds, 2 minutes each. If scorecards are needed, it'll be scored using a 10-point must system. Pete is up first, and the ref (Gene Lebell) mentions in his rule explanation that 3 knockdowns in one round will end the fight, and going down to a knee counts as a knockdown. Once the boxers are back in their corners and ready, the bell rings, and it's on. Majit throws a few punches, but Pete is keeping his distance, throwing some of his own as well. Both have been quite aggressive for the first moments of the fight, but about 55 seconds into the round, Majit lands a left jab in the chest that knocks Pete down. He does get up quickly, though, and as Nonny yells for him to keep his hands up, Pete manages to keep going, and he gets through the first round. After a brief rest, they begin the second round, and Pete stays toe-to-toe with Majit, blocking some of his punches and throwing his own, but 20 seconds into the round, a right jab to the face takes Pete down to one knee. The ref begins the count, and as Nonny asks if he's alright, Pete gets up at 8 and says that he can continue after being asked by the ref, and the fight resumes. But after another few flurries of punches from Majit, Pete is back down. And this time, he stays down for the full 10-count. So the fight ends at 1:29 into the 2nd round, and that sets the bar for the other 2.

Jake is next, and once the bell rings, and he starts by blocking a few punches before throwing some of his own. Majit lands a few jabs on Jake's nose, and after Jake covers his face, Majit throws a few shots to his chest. Jake then intentionally goes down to one knee for a quick mid-round breather. Looks like he has an interesting strategy to ensure he doesn't take too much punishment all at once. And it seems to work, as even though Majit starts to get cocky near the end of the first round, daring Jake to throw a few punches while his guard is down, Jake gets through the round without any major problems. Starting the second round, Majit starts talking trash, and while Shannon tells Jake not to listen, Jake keeps his hands up to block the punches. After a flurry of punches from both men, Jake once again goes down to one knee for a quick rest, this time 15 seconds into the round. But he gets up, and both men are now swinging hard, and Jake actually manages to get Majit into the ropes at just past the halfway point of the round. But Majit comes back with another flurry, which Jake withstands, but with about 45 seconds left, Jake is back down on one knee. That's 2 knockdowns for the round, so he can't do that again or else he's done for the fight. He takes his time in getting up this time, but he gets up at 9, and the fight resumes. Majit unleashes another few flurries of punches, but even though he's getting tired, Jake is not letting himself go down this time, and lasts through the rest of the round.

Last but not least, Nate steps in, and he'll have to also go the full 2 rounds, or else Jake will win the Sacrifice. The bell rings, and Nate tries to start by hitting hard. But Majit ducks under those, answering back with some punches of his own. Halfway through the round, and Nate is now just backing away as Majit continues to attack. Majit lands some more punches, but Nate, well, doesn't. But he does get through the first round without a knockdown. The second round begins, and Majit hits a flurry of punches, but Nate is mostly just blocking. Under 20 seconds in, and Nate is down. He's up, and he continues to mostly attempt to block, as Majit lands a few punches in the gut. Nate is no longer trying to go after Majit; he's just trying to stay up now. Nate is no Homer Simpson, though, as he continues trying to back away. With just under a minute left, though, he's back down on one knee to catch his breath again. He thought about giving up then, but he got up and continued. Continued covering up and backing away, though, as he didn't even try to hit Majit, who continued to throw punch after punch. And with 34 seconds left, Nate is down once again. That's 3 for the round, and Nate is done. That means that Jake, who was the only one to last the full 2 rounds, wins the Sacrifice, and Shannon is one step closer to going to Europe!

Day 2 (PAIN): If Only All Caddies Could Swim...

Everyone pulls up to an outdoor pool, where George is standing next to a golf tee, which happens to be next to the pool. He then explains that this time, they'll just have to caddy. They'll have to retrieve 9 clubs around a golf bag, put them in that bag, then deliver the bag back to George. Whoever does this the fastest wins. Oh, and the bag and clubs are in the deep end of the pool, and it is 12 feet deep there. They'll have to dive in from a diving board, and once the clubs are in, they have to carry the bag to the shallow end and climb out with the help of a rope before delivering it. And that bag will be heavy in there.

Nate is up first, though he has no experience in swimming. The clock starts, and Nate dives in, going straight to gathering the clubs. He grabs 4 before putting them in the bag, then gets another 2 and tries to put them in before going up for air. But instead of putting the 2 clubs in, he accidentally nudged the bag, knocking it over and spilling the clubs that were in there back out! Oops. With 20 seconds elapsed, Nate returns down, and he gets a few of them back into the bag before returning to the surface again. He takes some time to breathe, then heads back down, but couldn't do much before heading back up. 1 minute in, and Nate tries again, but once again, as he touches the bag, he heads back up. And at that point, Nate quits the Sacrifice. For someone who can't swim, I'm not surprised.

Jake goes second, and when time starts, he dives right in. He starts grabbing clubs and putting them in the bag 2 or 3 at a time, then gets the last 2 and comes up for air with them. 30 seconds in, and Jake heads back down, putting those last two clubs in, then is about to start dragging the bag along the pool floor, but he heads back up for air, leaving the bag on the floor below. At least the clubs stayed in this time. Jake then dives right back down, picks up the bag, and starts walking it across. He gets it across a good distance before carefully dropping it down and heading back up for air. At about 1:30 in, Jake is back on the pool floor, picking up the bag again and walking it across. Eventually, he gets to the rope, climbs out, and drags the bag of clubs out with him. Jake lets the water in the bag dump out a bit before picking it up one more time and running it around and to the tee to stop the clock at 3:05. I know that a common rule at most pools is "no running", but I guess it apparently didn't apply here.

Pete goes last, and he'll have to be quick to ensure himself a spot in the Final. The horn blows, and he dives in. Pete grabs 7 clubs and dumps them in before heading up to the surface for air, then goes back down at 30 seconds in. Pete gets the last 2 clubs and puts them in, then returns to the surface again. With 1 minute elapsed, he returns to the floor, grabs the bag, and starts running it across, but doesn't get too far before dropping the bag and getting back up for more air. Pete took his time to get more air, and to lower his heart rate, before heading back down, but before he can get back to the bag, he's back up again. At just under 2 minutes in, Pete wants to quit. George says that he could still win this, but Pete has had enough, saying he can't do it. With that, Jake wins another Sacrifice, and that means that one of the others is definitely going home before the Final. But who?

Day 3 (SHAME): Gymnasts They Ain't

The college guys and the dreamers arrive in an auditorium on stage, and George points out the smiles on the faces of Jake and Shannon before starting to explain this Sacrifice. The guys will simply have to perform an aerobics routine in front of a packed crowd. But this will be part of a Miss Fitness competition, and professional judges will determine the winner. The guys will get to learn from a national fitness champion, Laura Mack, for one hour before preparing their routines. But first, they have to get into their specially-made outfits. Yes, outfits meant to be worn by women. And that includes a sports bra. And yes, they look silly in those outfits.

Once they're dressed up, Laura begins teaching them some mandatory skills for their routines, including one-armed push-ups, the saddle press, and the splits. Let's see... Jake fell when attempting the one-armed push-ups, Pete couldn't even lift himself up for the saddle press, and none of them could do a proper splits. Yeah, this oughta be embarrassing for them. But it's gonna get more embarrassing, as once the crowd is filed in, and the show is ready to begin, Laura will get to wow the audience first. She performs her routine just about flawlessly, as the 3 guys are backstage, watching her and thinking, "We have to follow THAT up?"

Sure enough, they have to, and Nate is going first. He nervously walks onto the stage and bows to the crowd before starting, by, um, dancing (if you can call that dancing). He pulls off a decent cartwheel, then dances some more, then does some push-ups (including the one-handed variety), and all the while, he's making funny faces. At one point, Nate makes his attempt at the splits, and although he couldn't do a complete split, he did what he could, and the crowd seemed to like it. He finishes the routine, and gets a good applause.

Pete is the next to go, and he goes right to the push-ups to start. After that, he does a decent double cartwheel, then does a few high kicks, and does a bit of his own dancing. And yes, the crowd was laughing at the dancing attempts from these guys. Pete's attempt at the splits was good; once again not fully split, but Pete's seemed to be a little better to me. He spins on the ground after that, then gets up and dances some more before finishing the routine. Once again, good crowd reaction.

Jake was last, and although he already won 2 Sacrifices, he went in and put on a good show. He starts with a bit of a dance, then pulls off an awesome front flip, wowing the crowd right away. Jake then goes into the push-ups, which he does fine with, and later, he does some of his own high-kicking. Eventually, he goes into something that I can only describe as a reverse worm, then after his splits attempt, Jake dances some more, and he finishes by flicking his headband into the crowd. The crowd reaction seemed to be at its best with Jake. But did he wow the judges enough to complete a sweep of the Sacrifices?

Everyone joins George on the stage, where he is about to announce the winner of the Sacrifice. And after saying it was a unanimous decision, he announces the winner... It's Jake! He receives the trophy, and with 3 wins, this means that the fate of his opponents is in his hands, as he will get to pick which of those two will join him in the Final! But he'll get some time to think about this decision, as Jake will have to wait until the next day to make his choice.

Day 4 (INSANE): All This for Peanuts?

On the way to the Final, the group makes a stop at a beach, where they meet with George. It is time to send someone home, and give someone else a free ride to the Final, and it's all up to Jake. And he chooses to send home.. Pete. Everyone says their good-byes to Pete and Nonny, and Jake explains that he felt that this was harder than all 3 Sacrifices combined, after seeing the heartbreak in Nonny's eyes. But now, it's between Jake and Nate in the Final.

They now make their way to a stadium (the Home Depot Center), and they meet George in the stands for the explanation of the Final. Basically, they'll play the role of a vendor, and when George asks for some peanuts, they just have to get it to him. Whoever does it the fastest wins. There's just one problem, though. The tray with all the snacks (including the peanuts) is suspended way up above, at the top of the stadium! They'll have to climb up a black rope using an ascender, all the way to the top, and grab the peanuts from the tray. They'll then have to detach from the ascender and climb down a blue rope right beside it, all the way to the ground, before tossing the peanuts to George. I bet most vendors didn't have THIS much trouble getting peanuts to someone.

Since he has won all the Sacrifices this week, Jake gets to decide whether to go first or second. And he decides to go second, letting Nate tackle the challenge first. Nate gets suited up and attached to a safety line, and is waiting at the bottom of the ropes. George yells "Peanuts!", the clock starts, and Nate has a little trouble getting his feet into the ascender at first. It takes him 15 seconds to get his feet in there and start ascending. He's pulling himself up slowly, but he's getting there. At 2:10 in, Nate reaches the top and reaches over at the tray. It takes him about 25-30 seconds to find and grab the peanuts from the tray, and he then stuffs him into a pouch on him before starting to detach from the ascender. At about 2:55, he's on the blue rope, and he begins his climb down. He's once again moving slowly, but after a bit, Nate slips, and he's falling down the rope! The safety line has to stop his descent, as it has been ruled that he let go of the rope. As a result, he cannot continue the task, and they mark the point where Nate let go of the rope as the mark for Jake to beat.

So now, all Jake has to do is to climb farther down that blue rope without letting go after getting the peanuts, and he'll win the Final. He has the safety line on him, and on the yell of "Peanuts!", Jake gets into the ascender and starts his climb a little faster than Nate did. He takes his time in getting up there, and he is actually moving slower than Nate did, as he's up there at about 3:10 in. Jake didn't have trouble finding and grabbing the peanuts, and he gets it in his pouch before... reaching for the tray again? Apparently, he decided to get some cotton candy for Nate as well. Can't blame him, really, since time is no longer a factor here. After grabbing the blue rope, he detaches from the ascender and begins climbing down. At 4 minutes in, Jake seems to be close to making a quick descent as well, but he manages to hang on and keep his descent under control. Eventually, he climbs all the way down, touches down on the ground, and throws the peanuts to George, stopping the clock at 4:48. With that, Jake has swept the whole thing, and Shannon gets a trip to Spain to meet Maria Sharapova!

But wait! Normally, the person winning the Final would also get to go with their friend/relative as their sports fantasy comes true. However, Jake has decided to let Nonny go with Shannon to Spain in his place! So, instead of making just one person's dream come true, Jake is making two people's dream come true! Talk about a big heart.

1 Week Later

Shannon and Nonny arrive in Valencia, Spain, and at a tennis academy, after we hear Nonny mention how much she appreciated what Jake did, they meet Maria Sharapova. They chatted for a bit as they took a walk, and they eventually arrived at Maria's "home away from home", where she showed them her room, among other things. They even ended up having lunch together, where they get to talk some more. Shannon even shows Maria a picture in her digital camera.. of Jake, Pete, and Nate, all in those outfits they wore in the third Sacrifice! And after lunch, Shannon and Nonny get a picture with Maria. Certainly a great experience for both of them, and all because Jake is such a nice guy.

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