February 27, 2009 02:54 PM by Ryan Haidet
After spending just nine days on Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands, Jerry Sims was sent packing when his tribe lost their second Immunity Challenge in a row. He didn’t make anybody mad or cause any problems at camp, but a stomach illness is what caused his demise.
Jerry, a sincere and soft-spoken guy from South Carolina, said that he was given medication soon after his torch was the third one to be snuffed this season. “They gave me some medication, but it wasn’t a parasite,” he explained during a conference call. “A few days later I felt a whole lot better. So evidently it was a stomach virus-type problem. The beans wouldn’t go down. I couldn’t eat them. That’s why I was getting weaker and weaker.”
But his illness started several days before his ouster. “I would say it was the beginning of Day 4 when my stomach started bothering me. I would talk to the medics after each challenge. They come around and ask the people how they were doing, how they were feeling, if anything was broken, hurting, whatever. I would express my opinion about my stomach, but they would always tell me there was nothing they could do for me. I’m in the game and they can’t give me anything to give me an advantage over anybody else.”
And when Tribal Council arrived, he said he had an inkling that he was the target. “I didn’t ask them to vote me out, (but) the way I was feeling and the way they were gathering and talking, I’m pretty sure they had the idea they were going to vote me out. I just had a feeling that it was going to be my last Tribal because I didn’t see the expression on their faces when they came back to camp (after the Immunity Challenge) because I was laying down — but I had a good feeling that my time had ended.”
Jerry, a 1st Sergeant who recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, said that Survivor was a much tougher experience than being overseas. “Over there they take care of you. They gave me all the supplies I needed. They gave me medical attention, they gave me food, water — everything I needed to survive when I was overseas. In this (Survivor) war zone, it was a free war zone — it was a volunteer-type situation and they don’t give you nothing,” Jerry laughed. “By far, the experience I had in Brazil was harder.”
Jerry said that while his tribe got along pretty well, they were terrible at communicating. This was very evident by their poor performance at the blindfolded Reward Challenge. “There were two mistakes — the first mistake was we picked the wrong person to call out instructions,” Jerry said. “Her (Debbie) voice was getting drowned out by the other team. The other mistake we made was trying to do a train. Get all the buckets at once and get them all back at once. That didn’t work out. We got our tails kicked on that one big time.”
Even after losing several challenges in a row, when they would return to camp, he said that things felt different than they appear on television. “From what I could see, when we got back from challenges everybody was pretty calm and wasn’t pointing fingers. But what I could see on the episodes, it was totally opposite when tribe members got by themselves, got in their little groups and voiced their real opinions.”
Jerry Weighs In On Timbira
“Me and Coach, we had a pretty good bond,” Jerry said. “We never got into any arguments or any confrontations. He was a totally different person around me. He was a calm, cool level-headed guy around me.”
He called Tyson a deep-thinker with “his own agenda.” Tyson was also one of the people Jerry spent some of his favorite moments in the game with. “One of the favorite things would probably be of me helping to construct the shelter that we was living in. That would be one of the favorite things.” Another of his favorite things was building fires at camp. “I guess just making fires early in the morning. Me and Tyson pretty much made fire every morning. That was a task in itself, trying to get a fire started.”
Speaking of constructing shelter — why would he need to build a shelter when Sierra had created one that first day when she was given a helicopter ride to camp? “We ended up demolishing that. We tore that all the way back down and started back over. She was doing that just to show us she was a hard worker and wasn’t a weakling. She did the best she could but we ended up doing the whole thing over. Matter of fact, that same night we all slept outside under the stars.” He said that Sierra did start to change once she started to feel a bit better from her strep throat. He said she was great at helping gather supplies for camp life and was a pretty smart gal.
Even though she cast a ballot against him, he holds no grudge. “That’s fair because if we’d of lost that first challenge and we went to Tribal, Sierra would’ve been gone. She knew she would’ve been out. She still wasn’t comfortable at the first Tribal Council. We didn’t come out and tell her that we were going to vote her off, but she had a pretty good idea.”
Overall, Jerry really enjoyed everybody’s company — most of the time, at least. “I got along with everybody. I mean, a few times there would be at night — especially Debbie — people would be trying to sleep and that’s when she’d kick into gear talking. Enough is enough. But the way I am, I could sleep through a hurricane. It didn’t bother me a whole lot.”
The rugged location this season really surprised Jerry. “I had never been there and I didn’t realize it was the summer time in Brazil. We got there in the dead of summer and the temperature was 120 degrees, 125 degrees some days. When your body can’t let any food go down, it really takes a toll on you.”
Jerry only has one regret from the whole experience. “My biggest regret would be that I got sick and I wasn’t able to go as far as I would have liked. I felt confident that I could’ve easily made it to the jury and possibly been in the running for the money.” But for him, being on Survivor seemed worth it. “Being on TV was the greatest thrill in my life. I didn’t win of course, but being able to be on TV is an experience I will never ever forget.”
Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS.
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