Steve Smith: The Amazing Race
Indians third base coach Steve Smith and his daughter Alli participated in Season 16 of The Amazing Race. Smith sat down with TribeVibe and reflected on his reality television experience, suggesting that fans watch Episode 7 of Season 16 for an idea of their journey.
TribeVibe: For fans that do not follow The Amazing Race, describe what it is.
Steve Smith: You have two people on each team—could be friends, could be husband and wife, could be father and daughter. My daughter and I went. They give you clues, you go from one place to another, they give you tickets to get there. It takes a month, and after five continents, you get to go back home.
TV: How did you decide to do this?
SS: I was out of baseball that year. My daughter graduated from Pepperdine, so she was home and watched the show. Basically, my son has always been able to come in here, in the locker room, and hang out with me, and she has not been able to do that. She has always wanted a story with me. She asked me, and I [said], ‘Reality? No.’ I watched the show, and I felt like, ‘It’s a good show. I’m not going to be eating bugs or doing anything crazy.’ My daughter asked me, and I figured they were not going to pick us; they had 20,000 people apply. Next thing I know, I was on my way to Chile.
TV: What countries did you go to?
SS: We started off in Chile, went to Argentina, and the third episode to Germany, France, an island off of Indian Ocean, Malaysia, Singapore, China.
TV: What was the hardest road block for you?
SS: We were probably the best at the physical part of it like riding a bike. Probably finding things was the hardest part; figuring out a clue in a foreign country, where you don’t speak their language. If you ask the wrong person or get the wrong cab driver, that will usually get you eliminated. We had to go across this big line, this big canyon way up in the air, and one person couldn’t do that, so we zip-lined. I had to dive in and get a bottle and figure out a puzzle. They reenacted a Germany World War I scene in France that was pretty cool; we had to crawl underneath the wires.
TV: What is your impression of reality television now?
SS: Reality people kind of like are really emotional and stuff like that. [For us], it was never about the money, and that’s why people are so emotional. Everyone’s watching, and 24/7, they have a camera on you. Your personality, your true things are going to come out. I was proud, especially of my daughter, because she never lost it. We had a fun time. We weren’t good reality people because we laughed too much. We were always saying jokes and just having fun. We get a lot of people who watched it saying how normal we were and how fun it looked.
TV: Was there ever a point in which you wondered how much longer you could continue?
SS: No. Baseball kind of prepares you in the minor leagues. You used to travel and get on a bus and go from Amarillo, Texas, to Jackson, Mississippi, and stuff like that. Each day you woke up, you knew you were going to different countries and doing different activities. They were paying you to go all around the world and see all these different countries.
TV: How far did you end up going?
SS: We got fifth [place]. We were in all but three episodes. We got eight episodes. That was our fear — being the first ones out. We laughed because my daughter gets lost in her own city. She’s not very good at maps and all that, so that’s what we joked. There are a lot of things that I don’t know anything about. I’m a jock. We crashed a car — a BMW — and we had to fix it. My wife gave me duct tape, and if it weren’t for my wife packing the duct tape, we would have been eliminated. We went to the wrong house one time. There was a lot of funny stuff that probably a lot of [Indians players] do not know about because they’d be [giving me a hard time].
TV: Are you and Alli closer after that experience?
SS: We were always close, so it just gave us great stories. We’ve always been real tight.
TV: Does that experience bring out your personality?
SS: We’ve all played sports; we’ve all played baseball, basketball, hockey. The injury part and being scared, I call it adrenaline; it’s not being scared. I’m on TV, like I’m going to be scared to walk across a wire or something? [No way.] I think the sports give you adrenaline that you always have, that you’re used to. I always tell kids, ‘Everyone gets nervous, so don’t think that’s bad. The more nervous you are, probably the more important the event is you’re trying to do. Whether it’s the Spelling Bee or being out on the field, I call it more adrenaline instead of nerves. That’s what you had each day and woke up and read a clue… ‘Here we go.’
-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor