Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reality TV

I had two brushes with the world of "reality" television last week. One was tremendously positive, the other stunningly negative. We'll give you the good news first.

On Monday Oct. 12, I was in Columbus, Indiana for our event presented by the Columbus Parks and Rec Department. Our announcer, Alex Martin, made the customary announcement that home videotaping of Harlem Ambassadors event is not permitted. That's when Allen Smith approached and asked me for an exception.

It turns out Allen is one of the finalists competing on "The Biggest Loser." As a fireman, community leader, and local celebrity in Columbus, he was playing on the team challenging the Harlem Ambassadors in the fundraising event. His wife was shooting video of him playing basketball for use as B-roll footage on the show. Naturally, we gave her permission and put her in position to get the best views of Allen on the court.

Lade Majic did her thing ... fouling Allen on putting him on the free throw line where they had some hilarious interaction. Allen was a great sport and we are hoping the video will turn up on the NBC show.

The true "reality" for us came after the after the basketball game, when we got to meet Allen and his family at the post-game meal. First of all the meal was catered by Allen's family catering business, appropriately named "By Word of Mouth" catering. The catered soul food and the Christian fellowship shared with Allen and his wife, daughter, parents, and sisters made for a great post-game experience. The Harlem Ambassadors, like those around the country, are now big Allen Smith fans and pulling for him to win.

That was on Monday and on Thursday, here in Fort Collins we were touched by another "reality" TV family. The Heene family, apparently desiring more time in the reality TV spotlight, launched the helium balloon which launched the "balloon boy" hoax. The home city of the Harlem Ambassadors was thrust front and center of the national consciousness, and not in a very positive light.

As a resident of Larimer County, I'm glad that our sheriff is preparing to bring charges. But that action brings both hopes and fears. If it is determined that Richard Neene and his wife concocted this as a hoax, my hope is that they will be forced to pay restitution for wasting taxpayer resources. My fear is that the means that the Heene's will use to generate the funds to pay the restitution ... you guessed it .... appearing on more TV! In the words of Marvin Gaye "makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands"