Wednesday, May 11, 2005


They won!!

(Spoiler warning: Amazing Race results will be discussed. I stayed up half the friggin' night to watch it, so if you taped it you'd better quit now if you don't want to know who won. And yes, staying up until 11 pm does count as half the friggin' night when your day begins at 4:45 am.)

Hooray for Uchenna and Joyce, winners of the 7th edition of the Amazing Race. I'm a big consumer of reality TV, but this show is my favourite by far, and I have to say it was one of the more enjoyable races they've had. I have to admit that seeing Rob and Amber come in second was a sweet victory in itself - second as opposed to first, I mean - but in my humble opinion Joyce and Uchenna were the only couple truly worthy of winning the whole thing.

How could you not cheer for this couple? He has been the quintessential gentleman, from his loving support when Joyce had to cut off her hair, to helping the old couple complete their tasks, to refusing to race for the finish line until his taxi driver was paid. I thought I was going to have an aneurism watching them beg strangers for taxi fare mere steps away from the finish line. Could you see Rob Mariano doing that?

Uchenna and Joyce showed grace, sportsmanship, thoughtfulness and kindness at every turn. If only half the people in the world were as good-hearted as these people, imagine what a wonderful world it would be. (Apologies to John Lennon and Louis Armstrong.)

Of course, before the race even started, they were my sentimental favourites. The pre-show publicity alluded to the fact that they wanted to earn the million dollar prize to help fund another attempt at in vitro fertilization (IVF). I already had tears in my eyes for them when they won, but when they were standing on the winner's mat and Uchenna yelled, "In vitro here we come!" I couldn't help but cry. And then he said, "And if in vitro doesn't work, adoption!" and I was officially a sobbing mess.

A couple of thoughts are struggling to get out here. First, how amazing would it be to watch the early shows today and hear that Joyce is pregnant? Wouldn't that just make your day? Based on the Christmas decorations in one of the airports, the finale was filmed in December, so she's had plenty of time to do a cycle or two.

Second, if you were a birth mother, wouldn't you be falling all over yourself to ask these people to adopt your kid? Hell, I want them to adopt me! I'm fairly confident that they will manage to fulfil their dream of parenthood now, and that makes me very happy for them.

Third, and this is the big "but" where I get on my soap box, how sad is it that a couple who loves each other, who are obviously so good-hearted, who really seems like they would be just the kind of parents we want raising the next generation of our species - why is it that they have to resort to winning a million bucks on a reality TV show to have a family? It just makes me think of all the infertile couples I know who haven't been lucky enough to find that miracle funding, and it makes me a little bit sad, even as I cheer for Uchenna and Joyce.

If I had more time, more energy, more clarity of thought, this would be a much more harshly worded criticism of the access to reproductive technologies in the US and Canada, but I just don't have it in me right now. But think about it, will you? Maybe some day I'll come back and write this up properly.

In the interim, congratulations to a truly worthy Uchenna and Joyce. I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful and happy family.