By: John Powell – GlobalTV.com
NFL cornerback Alan Ball could have thrown his Heroes partner Ashley Nolan under the bus to save his own hide but he refused to do so. The deal was on the table right after the game-changing merger however, he wanted to play a loyal Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers game.
“They (Joe Mena and Desi Williams) offered me that deal but that wasn’t the game I wanted to play. It might not have been the best thing for my game further down the line. I am going to have to show up to a challenge without Ashley and look at Ben [Driebergen] and Chrissy [Hofbeck], two people I wanted to work with. How would they view me at that point? My loyalty would have been shot. I got rid of a Hero when we know we have to get out the Healers because they are six strong. I could have sided with them (Joe and Desi) but it would have hurt my game,” said the NFL free agent.
“I really enjoyed those challenges. I never thought I could get that excited but I actually had butterflies in my stomach and they weren’t showing up on a Sunday. (Laughs) I was nervous about holding up my end. It was an adrenaline rush.”
Another option Alan wishes he would have considered was booting swing vote, Devon Pinto.
“When Devon read his advantage or disadvantage, whichever way you want to look at it, I could have told everyone to vote out him out and we could have gone back to camp two versus two and figured it out. That would have been a viable option,” he said.
Going into that dreaded Tribal Council, Alan knew that if Joe played a Hidden Immunity Idol, he was probably going to be the target and he was probably going home. The one mitigating factor that perhaps clouded everyone’s judgement was their hatred for Joe.
“No matter what, the weight he (Joe) was putting on everyone outweighed whether he had the Idol or not. Even if he had the Idol, we had to take a shot at him. There was no way anyone could go on with him still in the game. Like I said in the episode, if he had the Idol, I am probably going home and I did,” Alan explained as he revealed more of his impressions of Joe.
John Powell: Let’s face facts, Joe had been pretty belligerent and that has turned many people off. Do you think we saw him sign his own death warrant in the game last night?
Alan Ball: “I think he did that before last night. (Laughs) He has worked many people’s nerves. People have told me that I have worked some people’s nerves too on the first episode. (Laughs) You know, it is what it is. I think Joe though is rubbing people in a different way. I see his run being pretty short if he doesn’t find another idol because he is not a player you want to be around at all.”
John Powell: I have to commend you. We saw you were very calm and very collected when Joe went on his tirade in the shelter. What were you thinking during the whole confrontation? Did you suspect he was stirring the pot for gameplay reasons?
Alan Ball: “Looking back, he was so amped up and he was amped up for a reason. It wasn’t normal for someone to be that amped up. So, it kinda did hit me but I am not a confrontational person outside of what you saw on the show. (Laughs) My blow-up at the beginning was strategic. So, when you see me in the middle of a real blow-up, that is my usual, day-to-day demeanour. That is why I handled the situation as I did. My whole issue was I needed to protect Ashley. I needed to keep him off Ashley, keep the target on him and get accomplished what I need to achieve. There was no need for a blow-up because he is already putting a target on his own back.”
John Powell: We have seen bits and pieces of Desi. I felt really bad for her. She is stuck with such a confrontational player as a partner. Did you feel bad for her out there?
Alan Ball: “When I got to know her, I really saw her as someone I wanted to work with. She has been dealt a really tough hand. In that situation with Joe having an idol means he has more power than he should and he is taking advantage of and that which says a lot about him. There were three people going to Tribal Council to vote Joe out and if we had given her the opportunity and he didn’t have the idol, she would have written his name down too. I really don’t think she wants to be up under him. She has to be just because they came from the same tribe together. They are fighting for power in a tribe where it is two, two and one. On top of that, he has an idol and he is a little bit of a brash person. She is in a tough situation. I felt so bad for her and I could kinda sense it when I would speak to her. I wanted to wedge her into getting rid of him but she was reluctant to do so. I am glad you see it. I hope that America can see it. She could be a great player.”
John Powell: You are a veteran athlete having played in the NFL. When you hit the field there, you know what you are up against. The rules are the same every game, you can plan and strategize knowing they will not change. In Survivor, the rules can be altered at any time. How do you feel about twists and advantages?
Alan Ball: “You know, it is hard to say. At the end of the day, I feel that some of the greatest winners who have won the game had an Idol, like one of my favourite players, Jeremy.”
John Powell: Jeremy is one of my faves too. He is a really classy guy.
Alan Ball: “For sure. He was amazing! It is a give and take situation though. For some people, twists make their games better and for some people they hurt their games. Would I be saying, I don’t want idols in the game if I have one? Probably, not. (Laughs) Since an idol got me out, I could feel like…Hey, we should get rid of all idols, absolutely! (Laughs) I cannot say to get rid of them. They definitely add excitement to the game and that is what keeps the show going. You need that element of excitement.”
John Powell: Is there anything you wish the editors, producers would have showed about your experience that didn’t make it to air?
Alan Ball: “You know, after that first episode I sat back and I said…Man, they really got me looking like I am just standing there and decided to wig out for no reason. There was more to it. I was telling my wife…There is stuff that happened that they are not showing, babe. (Laughs) At times, I felt like that but now, that all created my character. I appreciate the way I was portrayed. At times it looked like I was crazy, I just wish they would have showed it was part of my game.”
John Powell: What were your favourite moments on the island?
Alan Ball: “I really enjoyed those challenges. I never thought I could get that excited but I actually had butterflies in my stomach and they weren’t showing up on a Sunday. (Laughs) I was nervous about holding up my end. It was an adrenaline rush.”
John Powell: Did you feel any pressure to do well at the challenges because you are a professional athlete?
Alan Ball: “I think, I put it all on myself. As a football player, we think of ourselves as gladiators. We think we can do anything. That is how I kinda view myself. That is the realness of those challenges. They are created in a way that anybody can be successful. It is not just what you do for your day job. It is how you can use all of your strengths in that challenge. For me, the outside pressure wasn’t too strong but someone who sits at a desk all day can beat you because the challenge could be something I am not skilled at.”
John Powell: Talking about skills, how is the coconut chopping going?
Alan Ball: (Laughs) “I have figured it all out now! I really have. I keep one in my fridge at all times.” (Laughs)
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Watch Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers Wednesdays at 8 et/pt on Global.