I'm not a reality TV junkie. But I do like a good excuse to watch "Amazing Race." Lucky for me a National Guard couple was on the most recent season of the show, giving me the perfect reason to burn an hour in front of the TV on Sunday nights rooting for what I consider my "home team:" a military family.
And instead of getting kicked off early in the race, wasn't it nice of Maj. Dave and Rachel Brown to go and win the whole thing just so I could justify watching every single episode?
OK, so maybe the $1 million prize had something to do with their motivation. Still, I loved the chance to watch this awesome military couple work through their post deployment communication problems in a way that even tricky film editing (you know those producers try to make people look worse than they are) couldn't make look destructive.
The show's production started shortly after Dave returned from his last Iraq deployment. It was the first time the pair had spent long term quality time together (and I do mean "quality" -- that race does not look like 24/7 fun) since he came home.
I want you to stop and think about this. Let's say your spouse comes back from deployment and you both trot off to do an incredibly stressful, high optempo race around the world, the schedule of which you do not control. This includes: not a lot of sleeping, being followed around by a camera guy who films your every word (and all of your bad hair moments), eating weird food, doing physically challenging things, putting your spouse in a position where he can easily and unintentionally order you around like one of his/her Soldiers, and (presumably) going to the bathroom in very unpleasant places.
Sounds like the perfect recipe for reintegration to me, how about you?
But I loved the way Rachel and Dave handled the whole thing. Sure, they had their moments of arguing. (Aren't you glad no camera guy films your reintegration arguments?). They bickered. They annoyed each other.
And yet they still managed to be an amazing husband/wife TEAM. And I really do mean team. They worked together to win more legs than anyone else in the show's 20 season history ... and this after not spending virtually any time together for a whole year.
Oh, and $1 million big ones. They also won that.
I want America to see every military couple in that light. Deployment, deschmoyment. This couple let America know that military families and couples don't need pity -- we are strong, resilient, proud and, frankly, amazing.