I?ve never been a big fan of TV?s ?The Amazing Race.? Quite frankly, it really makes me nervous. And I don?t particularly like feeling anxious. That?s my least favorite part of traveling; so, obviously, I would not be a good contestant on the show.
Like the rest of the people in the Hillsboro and Tabor College communities, I have been watching the show this season in order to closely follow the progress of Adam Dirks and his new bride Bethany Hamilton.
For those who may have been living in a cave for the past decade or so, Bethany is a professional surfer who had her arm bitten off by a shark in her native Hawaii. She and Adam met and fell in love.
Somehow they were chosen to participate in the contest in which pairs race around the globe chasing the million-dollar first prize. So far, Adam and Bethany are doing well. They have won three legs of the race and are in the final four. They have won $10,000 each and trips to Bali and Sweden.
Adam, as well as all the Dirks boys, was a student in my English I and English III classes. He was always polite and personable, a really nice kid, but he was not someone who would stand out in a crowd. He was a bit of a pipsqueak as a freshman.
By the time he was a senior, however, he had dramatically altered his physique by piling on muscles in the weight room. He eventually went on to complete a strong football career at Tabor.
Several times on the show, Adam has demonstrated his resourcefulness by excelling at tasks during detours in the race. This was especially evident on the last episode. When he and Bethany were required to attach a sidecar to a motorcycle in the Philippines, he went right to work.
I seem to recall something that he and his brothers welded bicycles together back in their Hillsboro days to create tall contraptions that they rode on the streets.
Later in the show, he needed to walk behind an ox in order to plow a rice paddy. He mentioned that he had done some plowing in Kansas, but it was always with a tractor.
The Soulsurfers, as the couple is known, are squeaky clean, and I think that is a large part of their appeal to the show?s audience. Bethany has shown that her lack of an arm has not been much of a hindrance, and that has likely also earned her admiration from viewers. They are humble, too. And that can?t hurt. I get the sense they are enjoying their travels and each other.
I have nowhere near the experience Adam and Bethany have as world travelers. I have been to Europe four times with EF Tours groups (Insert shameless commercial plug here: We are planning a trip for summer 2016. Contact me if interested). I have been in a jam or two overseas. I am much easier to get along with when my itinerary runs smoothly. Of course, anyone who flies knows that almost never happens. So, I am impressed with how calmly the couple copes with obstacles.
As soon as this season of ?The Amazing Race? is over, I will probably be done watching the show. I?m just not that into it. But, as long as Adam and Bethany are still in the running, I will be tuning in each Friday night (or, more truthfully, recording it on my DVR so I can watch it later, commercial free).
So far, the family has been tight-lipped about the outcome, despite the fact that the show is taped, and the winners have already been determined. I still want to wish Adam and Bethany luck, however. I hope they take the top prize.
But, considering they live in Hawaii and genuinely care for each other, it seems to me they already have everything they could wish for.