By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
On the premiere of Survivor last night we heard a lot of personal stories from the castaways about their lives, their triumphs and their tragedies. Morriah Young, the 28-year-old teacher from Philadelphia, wishes her story had made the cut. As the first person to be booted this season Morriah was disappointed from a personal standpoint but even more so because she was playing for someone besides herself.
“Yes, I’ve been watching Survivor since I was a kid and it’s something I always wanted to do. I love the show but the reason why is I was playing for my mom. My mom passed away a couple of years ago. My mom was a teacher and so that’s the reason why I became a teacher. After she passed, I went to Hawaii to scatter her ashes and the last thing on my bucket list to commemorate her was to play Survivor because that’s something she always wanted to do. It kind of brought everything full circle and that was a huge part of the reason why I was playing, to honor her and to commemorate her,” said Morriah.
At tribal council Morriah was the only vote for Owen and the rest were for her. The reason the others gave for voting her out was they wanted to keep the tribe strong. As we all know, the definition of a “strong player” means different things to different people. Morriah disagrees with the reasoning the tribe gave.
“I think we all have our own strengths and we all have our own weaknesses. It depends on the challenge. It might be a challenge where brute strength is really needed and there might be another challenge where you might need to be really smart or be able to solve puzzles or brain teasers. You might need to be agile. I think that they just perceived me to be the weakest of the tribe and that was one reason they voted me out. I think the second reason is that I discovered during tribal council there was a shift that happened and I really got a gut feeling that it was me,” she recalls.
Morriah says her Kumbaya approach and tone of the Bakla tribe also factored heavily into her demise.
“I think the tribe was at a point where they were ready for the game to be more cut-throat and they were ready to strategize. I think that my mindset at that time was that we don’t have to be there yet. It’s still really early. Let’s just stay positive! Let’s stick it out! Let’s rock these challenges! We got this! I just took too long to hop off the Kumbaya train and I kind of missed my stop. (laughs) I think everyone on the train kept going and before I knew it, I was on my way home,” she sighed.
Although she appeared to be all in when it came to forming a women’s alliance, Elie was the one who spearheaded Morriah’s exit over Owen’s. On the island Morriah had no idea that Elie was working so hard against her.
“I definitely didn’t know going into tribal council that Ellie was throwing my name under the bus. I started to get this little gut feeling like before we went to tribal, but I was like I’m going to stick with my women. We’re going to we’re going to make this alliance happen. It’s what makes the most sense. Not only is it the smartest move for the women to stick together and bring Sami in because then we have the four but it’s also something the world needs to see. It would be so inspiring to see this woman aligned and stick it out. I really was hoping for it. Once we got to tribal council and that shift happened, that’s when I started to get the feeling that it was me. I just wasn’t sure who it was who had thrown my name under the bus at the time,” she said.
A Survivor fan her entire life Morriah wasn’t surprised by much about the experience. She expected to go hungry. She expected to be cold and wet and muddy. She expected people to lie and deceive. But, how quickly the game began and how close people became in such a short period of time shocked her.
“So every time you close your eyes and you wake back up, it’s just darkness. You’re next to these people and before you know it, you’re all just rocking back and forth awake. You start to talk and you start to learn each other’s stories and you start to know about each other. You’re talking and talking and talking and talking for hours to the point where you end up telling these people stories that people that you’ve known for years never heard about you. I walked away feeling like I knew some of those people better than I’ve known people that I’ve been friends with for four or five years because you have nothing but time when you’re laying out on the sand, looking at the stars, not being able to see anything in front of you. You are just hearing these voices, hearing these stories and getting to know where people came from and their backgrounds and their trials and tribulations and their accomplishments,” she said.
Having lived the experience now as a player and a fan, Morriah sees things a little differently.
“You’re like…How the hell do these people love each other? Like, what the heck! But no, you really do love these people and they start to feel like family. You struggle together. You overcome together. You’re crawling in the mud together and in the ocean being together. They become family so quickly and so that bond is really unbreakable. I can’t speak to other people but that’s why getting voted out the game I don’t have any ill will. It’s more it was more hurt than it was anger. I’m yearning to foster that new relationship as opposed to wanting them to see their downfall,” she said about her fellow tribemates.
One happening that really exemplified that notion for her was how the tribe came together to bring their fire back from the brink once they returned from the Immunity Challenge. She wishes that scene had made the show.
“When we got back from losing the challenge before tribal council, the first thing we did was we got the fire together…We really sat around that fire for an hour and a half as our fire was completely gone. Jeff (Probst) had taken our flint for the penalty and so there was nothing left. All five of us that are on that fire, we were blowing on the embers and adding sticks. We rebuilt the fire and literally breathed the breath of life into it. I wish that moment would have been shown because I think that if anything encapsulated what the Baka tribe was about, it was that moment. It was just so beautiful. We knew one of us was going home but none of us wanted any of us to go back there and be without fire. It truly captured the essence of what our tribe was about,” she said.
Although she hasn’t been able to speak to her students yet about the first episode or her Survivor experience Morriah hopes they take away an important message based on her brief but impactful time on the show.
“Even if you don’t get to the ultimate goal or reach your goal, if you try your hardest that’s still something to be proud of at the end of the day. I think so often you always hear…Work hard! Work hard! Work hard! You’ll get there! Sometimes you can work your hardest and things might not pan out. And that’s okay, too! But, you should still be proud of giving it everything you have,” she said.