Keith Nale – Stay Low, Win Challenges

Keith Nale – Stay Low, Win Challenges
Keith Nale was a contestant on Survivor: San Juan del Sur

Fire chief Keith Nale will always be remembered in Survivor history as the man who destroyed the plan with his now famous catchphrase “Just stick to the plan”. Admittedly, he didn’t come into the game with the most strategic knowledge. Partnered with his son Wes, Keith’s strength came in the immunity challenges, especially any of the ones that involved balls.

“I’d just soon come in tenth place or fifteenth place than fourth. Knowing you were that close!”

“Has it been crazy or what?” Keith laughs when he thinks back on his Survivor journey.

It was crazy that Keith came so close to winning. What would he have said to the jury if he had made Top 3? “Well, I was gonna play the …not the dumb card but the don’t-lie-all-the-time card. But no, I can’t really think way in advance. It’s not me.”

But he does think that he could have beat out winner, Natalie, “That’s what burns me up. Final Four is a hard pill to swallow. I’d just soon come in tenth place or fifteenth place than fourth. Knowing you were that close!”

It’s not all bad; Keith was the highest placing male player. Even Keith was surprised, “Can you believe that? That’s pretty crazy…there were some pretty good players and they get targeted. I found that out! Bam – Josh is gone. Bam – Jeremy’s gone. Bam – Reed’s gone so you have to stay under the radar.”

Coming into the game, Keith didn’t do too much strategizing with his son Wes, “We did talk a little bit. Wes is a lot more briefed about the show than I was. He tried to pull me up to date real quickly. Him and his mama watch the show a bunch and I’d catch an episode here and there so I was not really going in blind but going in not as prepared as I should have been.”

Would it have helped if he knew a bit more about the game? Keith ponders, “Maybe so but if you come in there like ‘I know the tenth player voted out of the fourth episode’, they’ll say this guy is pretty sharp and we need to get rid of him. The good ones are gone. Stay low key and win a few challenges every now and then. But that only gets you to fourth place.”

Keith dominated the few of the Immunity Challenges, “Most of it was balancing and rolling…that was the big joke around camp – boy, Keith is good with balls. Everything that I won had a ball in it and if it was a puzzle, I went down.”

And he did drop the ball (so to say) when it came down to the final, most important Immunity Challenge, “You can win eleven in a row but if you don’t win that last one, that’s the money one right there.”

“I couldn’t let Reed keep hammering on me. I knew there was a plan but I couldn’t sit by and take that. Finally, I just broke down.”

Is “stick to the plan” haunting him now and is he sick of hearing it? Keith says, “That was a rookie mistake – me not knowing really what was going on and when I said that, it all went downhill. I couldn’t let Reed keep hammering on me. I knew there was a plan but I couldn’t sit by and take that. Finally, I just broke down.”

More importantly, has Keith been back to the spa for a massage since he enjoyed the one on the island so much during a Reward Challenge? He says, “I haven’t. The fireman at the station said they were going to get me a gift card for Christmas to Spa World or something. I did enjoy it though.”

He does agree that the ladies outwitted the men this season, “Natalie was a player and she was well deserved. Jaclyn and Missy – they beat me so I can’t talk bad about them. I thought the guys would catch on…we started picking them off and then they started picking us off. There were 7 guys on the jury!”

“I liked playing with Wesley, even though we didn’t spend much time together because I made that stupid move.”

Would Keith be interested in making a return appearance on Survivor, “I’ve thought about that…not next week or next month. I liked playing with Wesley, even though we didn’t spend much time together because I made that stupid move. I don’t know if I’d do it by myself.”

What about other reality shows, maybe Amazing Race? “Wesley’s all for it but he’s 23 – run faster, jumper higher and all that good stuff. I don’t know if he would want to drag me around through that or not. I did do pretty good at the challenges though.”

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