After 32 seasons of Survivor, hundreds of players have played the game and lost for hundreds of different reasons. But one of the most common reasons why strong players lose the game is due to arrogance. In this article I take a look at Survivor South Pacific’s Ozzy Lusth and Benjamin “Coach” Wade to determine why even though they both came close to winning the season, why they’ll never win a future season of Survivor.
Arrogance never wins on Survivor. It takes a Survivor miracle for an arrogant person to win the game. Richard Hatch, Rob Mariano and Tony Vlachos are probably the only three winners who had any sense of arrogance at all but they also had an extreme sense of self-awareness, something Coach and Ozzy have very little of. In the case of Richard, the way to play the game had not even been invented yet and Richard was just about the only strategic player of the entire cast. In Rob Mariano’s case, he managed to convince everyone in his alliance that they were all going to the end of the game with him, so they never tried to turn against him until it was too late. Finally, in the case of Tony Vlachos, Tony is a once in a lifetime Survivor Unicorn who would probably never win the game playing the same way ever again (and he got some serious help from Woo Hwang). In all of these cases, it would be almost impossible for these winners to do it again. Similarly, it would take a very special circumstance for Benjamin “Coach” Wade and Ozzy Lusth to ever win the game and that is in large part due to their arrogance.
Benjamin “Coach” Wade
Anyone who gives themselves a nickname, let alone two nicknames, automatically has no shot at winning Survivor. Don’t get me wrong, I love Coach/The Dragon Slayer. He’s one of the most entertaining and hilarious characters in the history of the show. But, he’s far too arrogant to ever win Survivor. Even when he came back for a third time, in Survivor South Pacific, and did a remarkably good job to get to the finals, he was still disrespected by the jury due to his egotistical behavior. In Survivor Tocantins, Coach wanted to play the game of Survivor with honesty and integrity. He did that by forming close bonds with people he considered to be “warriors” while shunning everyone else who was not in his alliance. This unsurprisingly led to his downfall as Erinn and Sierra flipped against him over to JT and Stephen. Arrogance is not something that other people want to be around and in a game like Survivor when you are constantly around the same people for 39 days straight, someone as flamboyant as Coach, is bound to get voted off on his arrogance alone, which is exactly what happened in Tocantins. However, should an arrogant player like Coach make it to the end of the game, it can be extremely hard to rally the votes. In Survivor South Pacific, that is exactly what happened to Coach. The Dragon Slayer was always in control of South Pacific. He led a strong coalition of first time players, convinced Cochran to flip over to his side at the merge and in Boston Rob Mariano style, he kept around people he thought he could beat in the end. But throughout the game, Coach gave reference to how he wanted to play the game with honesty and integrity and when he faced the jury, he couldn’t live up to his own expectations. He promised too many people that he would take them to the end, which ultimately ended up in him coming across as a liar and a double-crosser. This, and his showboat-like nature led to the jury disrespecting him as a player and as a person. When the one thing you preach in the game is that you are going to play it with honesty and integrity and then don’t live up to that expectation, the jury is unlikely to reward you with the votes. If Coach were to ever play Survivor for a fourth time, he certainly wouldn’t be the first out, but he also certainly would not win.
Oh Survivor producers, when will you ever learn. No matter how many times you bring back Ozzy Lusth and no matter how many twists you bring in to help the challenge beast win the game (Redemption Island and first ever final three) he will not ever win and that is due to his arrogance. In Survivor Micronesia, Ozzy had the immunity idol, a solid alliance and was the main provider of food. There was no reason to get rid of him, except that he was arrogant. At final nine, everyone left in the game promised Jason Siska that if he stepped down in the immunity challenge and let Parvati Shallow win it, that he would not go home. However Ozzy and his best allies had every intention of blindsiding Jason and sending him home that night nonetheless. Instead of Ozzy taking control of the game however, one of Survivor’s all-time top strategists, Parvati, led a charge to blindside Ozzy instead. Ultimately his downfall was becoming too complacent and comfortable in the game, and not playing his idol that night to save himself. He also showed his arrogance later on in Micronesia when he ripped apart Parvati for blindsiding him during his Jury speech. When Ozzy returned for Survivor South Pacific, he was immediately targeted. After a series of challenge wins to stay alive in Redemption Island and work his way back into the competition, he once again became too complacent, believing that The Dragon Slayer would take him to the end because of some moral code he thought Coach had. But of course, Coach was never going to take Ozzy to the end and so he was eliminated once again. Throughout his time at South Pacific, Ozzy made a series of bad social gameplay moves as well, all involving him thinking that he was the best player in the game. He called the eventual winner of the game, Sophie Clarke, a spoiled brat on several occasions and he also made Cochran feel as though he wasn’t part of the team, which eventually resulted in Cochran flipping to Coach’s side at the merge. Ozzy’s arrogance in the game of Survivor always stems from him getting far too comfortable and thinking he’s the best in the world. Those are two traits that you just absolutely can’t have if you are ever going to win Survivor. If Ozzy were to ever play the game for the fourth time, and chances are he will, it would take a magical miracle for him to ever win the game.
Ozzy and Coach are two all-time great Survivor players who are destined to play a fourth time. However, when that fourth time comes, don’t choose either one of them as your winner pick, because Ozzy Lusth and Benjamin “Coach” Wade are far too arrogant to ever win Survivor.