mike azzinaro (blue) v justin bellucci (red) v nathan welch (purple), also known as mike o'malley's wet dream

what a freakin' episode. this is what guts is made for. you could see the excitement in mike's face from the instant the game started--games like this are the reason he gets up in the morning. three real athletes hungry for a glowing piece of that radical rock.

event one: off the wall.

mike (in blue)'s first jump is directly in the center of the wall. it is possible that he knocked off more balls with that one jump than any other single jump in guts' off the wall history has. he now, however, has a huge gap in the center of the wall and cannot really make efficient use of his remaining time with any of his following jumps since there are no sectors big enough to be worthwhile. on top of this, he has continuous trouble getting back on the aerial bridge.

the event ends, and seemingly out of nowhere, justin has only 2 of his 50 balls left on the wall. 48/50. that is an unreal score. unquestionably the best score i've ever seen. the replay reveals why: he attacked the game perfectly. he went at the wall in a well-designed pattern and used every jump to its fullest. a near-flawless execution.

nathan finishes with 33 and mike with 26--also two of the highest scores i have ever seen.

justin's post-event interview reveals that this will most probably be the high point of his life.

justin 300
nathan 200
mike 100

for 14-year-old mike "boom boom" azzinaro, guts = being a contender

event two: wild pitch.

for the pre-even explanation, mike asks us to imagine the following pitcher(s) (this should be noted every time this--or any other baseball game--is played):
roger clemens

nathan and mike both seem to know that contact is key--they pick up on the nearly-unbeatable bunt technique, but nathan before mike. justin shows the world that he is indeed a competent baseball player, but skill in a sport doesn't always translate to the guts game that is derived from that sport. besides just employing the bunt technique before mike, nathan seemed to have better concentration while in the batter's box. he finishes with a commanding 19, handily defeating mike's 10 and justin's (quite respectable for non-bunting) 7.

for 13-year-old justing "terminator b" bellucci, guts = combat
what the hell is that? terminator b? was that really necessary? and one of the worst guts='s i've seen in a while.

event three: mad max.

mike's pre-rule description:
well, combat's good for our next event, because our next event is a post-nuclear race that really gets in your face. it's "mad max": a frantic dash through all sorts of terrain! --look out for the stray tires LETS GO TO MO FOR THE RULES--MO!

they used the prop-master's self-powered-tail-lights bike for this one. not exactly the best use of these three athletes, but, still, a fun and rare event-type never hurts an episode.

in a weird foreshadowing, mike warns about taking the course too fast right before justin goes. justin naturally goes too quickly and loses control, both costing him off-the-track penalties and forcing him to run into the side of the crash finish instead of through it at first. again--his 48/50 was indeed the high point of his life. it was all down hill from there.

nathan takes first with 17.5 seconds, mike second with 18.9, and justin third with a generous 26.6.

nathan 800
mike 500
justin 500

for 13-year-old "notorious" nathan welch, guts = controversy (which mo pronounces conTROversy [as opposed to CONtroversy])

event four: jump jump!

the dreaded fourth hurdle. for some reason, people never have problems with the second (although sometimes they miss the first--and usually they miss the second--aerial bridge) hurdle, even though in theory they should be equally as challenging. i guess it's a rhythm thing.

mike starts and as predicted does incur 5 second penalty for knocking down the fourth hurdle. 23 seconds even.

justin looks fantastic up until the first aerial bridge and then gets overexcited, coming off too fast. he winds up overshooting the third hurdle and he finds himself taking the fourth too quickly. he can't back out, and he crashes directly into it. he forgets that the game is not over, though, and lethargically hangs for almost a full second before trying to finish. 24.7.

nathan has trouble with the first bridge and gets spotter help. he too knocks the fourth hurdle down, and finishes with 45.6 (including the hurdle and two five-second assistant penalties).

going into the crag we have an unreal game. baring missed actuators we're in for one helluva ride.
nathan 900
mike 800
justin 700

as predicted, the crag is a memorable one. all three handle boulder canyon like it's child's play. three athletes at the peak shape of their guts-eligible lives scale our rock in near-perfect sync. they reach the final vertical-climb at nearly the same exact time--the entire game comes down to this. nathan reaches the top first, right as justin is slipping. he falls and mike takes advantage of the opportunity. he jumps ahead of justin to claim second.

nathan 1625
mike 1350
justin 1075

one of the greatest games i've ever seen played.

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