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The Amazing Race => The Racers => Topic started by: puddin on January 30, 2006, 01:15:35 PM

Title: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: puddin on January 30, 2006, 01:15:35 PM
Name: SCOTT BRAGINTON-SMITH Occupation: Sales Age: 41 Hometown: West Harwich, Mass.

Name: JOHN LOWE Occupation: Wealth Manager Age: 8 Hometown: Dorchester, Mass.


Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: puddin on January 30, 2006, 01:43:12 PM
From the Preview ~

Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: puddin on January 30, 2006, 04:15:56 PM
Mike-e knows John and is going to send us some pictures soon ( thanks Mike-e)


OH MY GOD! I know John!!! He is soooooo funny and QUEENY! Our nickname for him is Miss Lowe (his last name). I hope they do well...


 I will dig out the pictures (and some of them are hu-flippin-larious), get them scanned and posted them here tomorrow. He could be the funniest person I know.

He's not very athletic, but we did ride our bikes for Boston to New York in 3 days 1 summer and that's was the toughest AIDS Ride I've ever done. I hope I have pictures of that...
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: puddin on January 31, 2006, 01:35:53 PM
Thanks to Mike-e  :-*, here are a few pictures of John that Mike-e took and wanted to share with us ~
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: Kogs on January 31, 2006, 01:39:12 PM
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: Mike-e on January 31, 2006, 01:43:55 PM
John has sooooo much personality and heart that he brings fun where ever he goes. He should make for GREAT TV. We used to volunteer for the local AIDS organization here in Boston in the early 90's. Each week he would bring stories that would make the night go by... I can't wait to see him in the neighborhood and pick his brain...
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: puddin on January 31, 2006, 01:56:10 PM
I LOVE John already Mike-e , Scott & John are my new picks to win !!

just found an little blurb on them   :lol: ~

Hotline: ‘Race’ to correct goof

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Credit CBS for the funniest typo of the day. In a press release announcing the new cast for ‘‘The Amazing Race,” the network listed two locals in the mix, ‘‘lifelong friends” Scott Braginton-Smith, 41, of West Harwich and John Lowe, 8, of Dorchester. Eight years old? Somebody needs to race to call the police. Wait - never mind: The network later released a corrected statement stating that Lowe is 38. Whew! The season premiere is Feb. 28 at 9 p.m., airing locally on WBZ-TV (Ch. 4). Go to for details on the ninth season’s intrepid adventurers.

link (
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: puddin on January 31, 2006, 02:04:33 PM
A Boston pair is among the 11 teams competing in the ninth installment of CBS's ''The Amazing Race." Scott Braginton-Smith from West Harwich and John Lowe of Dorchester will compete in the trek around the world for the $1 million prize. . . . link (
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends
Post by: Mike-e on January 31, 2006, 02:06:43 PM
I LOVE John already Mike-e , Scott & John are my new picks to win !!

just found an little blurb on them   :lol: ~

Hotline: ‘Race’ to correct goof

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Credit CBS for the funniest typo of the day. In a press release announcing the new cast for ‘‘The Amazing Race,” the network listed two locals in the mix, ‘‘lifelong friends” Scott Braginton-Smith, 41, of West Harwich and John Lowe, 8, of Dorchester. Eight years old? Somebody needs to race to call the police. Wait - never mind: The network later released a corrected statement stating that Lowe is 38. Whew! The season premiere is Feb. 28 at 9 p.m., airing locally on WBZ-TV (Ch. 4). Go to for details on the ninth season’s intrepid adventurers.

link (

I assume he's my age... 38...
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: puddin on March 01, 2006, 10:20:03 AM
Getting Lost Gets John, Scott Tossed
( Video link ( )

NEW YORK, March 1, 2006

(CBS) Eleven teams began the latest mad dash around the world as "The Amazing Race 9" premiered Tuesday night.

The latest edition of the CBS reality show began in Denver, before the teams flew to San Paulo, Brazil.

That's where lifelong friends John Lowe and Scott Braginton-Smith learned the golden rule of "The Amazing Race" the hard way: Getting lost will get you tossed.

Host Phil Keoghan signaled the beginning of race, and the teams' planes landed within minutes of each other.

According to the show's Web site, "Navigating through the crowded city streets in taxis made all the difference. Most teams opted for a soaring helicopter ride overlooking the expansive city, while some became frustrated building motorcycles. In the end, friends Eric (Sanchez) and Jeremy (Ryan) nabbed first place, while John and Scott’s slow taxi contributed to their elimination."

For details of what happened during the episode, click here.

"We didn't speak Portuguese and the cab driver didn't speak English," Braginton-Smith told CBS News. "He also had no idea where he was going. It was just bad luck. …We totally lost track of time. It was a lot longer then we thought."

"It felt like hours and hours and hours," Lowe added.

Braginton-Smith told the "Race" Web site, “The sharing of the growing of the experience is something that’s just a great bond to have.” Lowe added, “We didn’t win the million dollars, but I won a key to the door for the rest of my life. There are things I can do now that I would have never done before.”

Lowe and Braginton-Smith discuss the experience on The Early Show Wednesday.

Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: Vintage212 on March 01, 2006, 10:35:25 AM
I was sooo rooting for this team.  :( They could have made for such great tv. I'm kind of sad. But those pictures are great!
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: puddin on March 01, 2006, 06:23:57 PM
I feel like I lost my best friends  :'(
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: Kogs on March 01, 2006, 06:27:08 PM
there where on ur screen for 2 hours miss puddin. its not like you u burned a turkey
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: puddin on March 02, 2006, 12:17:46 PM
“Strength Doesn’t Come in What You Bring in Your Bag” - An Interview with The Amazing Race 9’s John & Scott
by Jenn Brasler -- 03/02/2006

Someone has to be the first team eliminated, and this season Scott and John were the unlucky ones. Still, they weren’t too heartbroken to give RNO an interview about their packing habits, their connection with Joni and Lisa (AKA the Frosties), and who they think will go all the way.

RealityNewsOnline: Hi, Scott and John! I wish you’d been able to stick around longer. I feel like we didn’t get to know you at all. Why did you guys pick each other as partners for the race over anyone else you could have gone with?

John: The opportunity came up when we were together during the 4th of July while in Provincetown.

 RNO: What did you think you guys had that none of the other teams had that would make the producers want to pick you?

John & Scott: We were the gay team. We also have longevity in our friendship.

RNO: Did either of you pack anything interesting or out of the ordinary?

John: The most important thing that I packed was butt wipes because I didn’t want to be stranded without them, but I didn’t get a chance to use them! Also, I brought with me a carved wooden ornament of my Great Dane Percy for good luck. And the other thing is we brought a lot of attitude.

Scott: I brought Vicks for my nose for some unusual smells and La Mer cream.

RNO: How did you handle the stress and pressure of the race?

Scott: We were too wrapped up in the moment that we didn’t really get to acknowledge the stress we were feeling.

John: Looking back now, we can see how much stress we were really under.

RNO: What do you think was your specific downfall?

John: Staying in the cab too long.

Scott: The inability to communicate.

RNO: If you could have done anything different, what would it be?

John: We would have brought a tiny backpack. The stress of packing the bag and thinking what to pack and carrying the backpack took a toll on me. I learned now that the strength doesn’t come in what you bring in your bag, it comes from what you bring inside.

RNO: Why do you think you connected with Lisa & Joni so easily?

Scott: I believe that it was just chemistry. We knew as soon as we saw them that we would like them immediately.

John: They were almost like the female version of us. We just love their frosted hair and we nicknamed them the Frosties right from the start.

RNO: I know you didn’t get to spend much time with the other teams, but who did you think would be the pair to beat?

Scott: Right from the start, I believed Ray & Yolanda because physically they were just in top shape.

John: I believed that Eric & Jeremy would be the team to beat because they are so incredibly hot. Their sexiness and stamina will be able to carry them around the world.

RNO: Has your relationship changed at all?

Scott: I believe that it is getting better.

John: I think that we know each other a lot better now and it has filled in a lot of blanks in our relationship.

RNO: So, John, how many times have you flown since the race?

John: Zero since the race, and I actually chose to drive to NYC for the press day as opposed to flying.

RNO: Did you cure your fear for good?

John: I think I always will be afraid of flying but at least now I will do it.

RNO: Thanks for the interview! I hope you two have fond memories of your experiences on the race.
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: puddin on March 07, 2006, 11:00:11 AM
The race is over
Gay pals John and Scott reminisce about their too-short stay on The Amazing Race 9 after getting eliminated on the first episode

By Dennis Hensley

An exclusive posted, March 3, 2006
LGBT fans of The Amazing Race got good news and bad news for the show’s new season, which premiered February 28. The good news is that after the overpopulated, uninvolving “Family Edition,” the Emmy-winning reality show is back to its pulse-pounding, tried-and-true two-person team formula. The bad news is that this season’s gay racers, longtime friends John Lowe and Scott Bragington-Smith, were the first team to go. caught up with the amiable pair, who are both single and live in Massachusetts, two days after their elimination episode aired. How did you come to be on The Amazing Race?
John: We did an open call at Provincetown during Fourth of July weekend. After that, they asked us to do the tape and callbacks and everything.

The show was auditioning people in P-town over Fourth of July weekend? Sounds like maybe they were shopping for some fun-loving gays.
John: Right. [Laughs] I always wanted to be that person, to kind of challenge myself to do all the scary things, so we went for it.

If The Amazing Race were going to stage a Detour challenge in P-town, what would it be?
John: You’d have to climb up road ladders attached to the Provincetown monument. Or you’d have to dress up in drag and get a couple dollar tips.

What was the highlight of the experience?
John: The helicopter. [In one challenge, teams rode in choppers over São Paulo, Brazil.] We told each other before that we would do anything that we wouldn’t normally do in our own lives. The second we saw the word helicopter, we were both like, ‘We’re doing that, we’re doing that.”
Scott: I’d say the same. And John being able to get over his fear of flying and do it was so great.

Before the race, how long had it been since you’d flown, John?
John: Eight years. I haven’t gone to people’s weddings before, and I’d drive to Florida every winter. I’m still afraid of flying, but I think now I’ll do it, whereas before I wouldn’t.

What’s your biggest regret about the race?
John: We should have gotten out of the cab earlier and gotten into a different cab. If we had gotten in another cab and the guy had known where that location was, we would have gotten there a lot faster.
Scott: I think the real thing that affected us was not being able to speak the language.

What was your biggest fight on the race?
John: Scott wanted to stay in the cab and I wanted to get out. The other thing we disagreed on is that I wanted to talk to anyone who would walk by the window of the cab and ask them if they knew how to get there. Scott didn’t want to ask everyone that walked by.

At one particularly stressful moment, you imitated Barbara Eden as Jeannie. Is that a longtime in-joke with you two?
Scott: Oh, yeah.
John: The first time we did it, we were lying on the beach and I wished that a bodybuilder would come to the beach. About five minutes later, this unbelievable, steroid-y bodybuilder came walking over the dunes, and he could have sat anywhere, and he sat next to us.
What was he wearing?
John: He wasn’t wearing a Speedo. He was wearing a Rock Hudson bathing suit.
Scott: A square-cut.
John: I didn’t care what it was called. I wanted him to take it off. [Laughs]

Did you speak to him?
Scott: No, I was too shy. We were in shock that it happened.

Going into the show, did you think about the fact that you’d be representing gay people on TV?
John: I think we discussed it, and then we decided we were just going to be ourselves.

What happens to you after you’re eliminated?
John: Everyone goes to a special secret location and waits, because everyone goes to the finish line.

Is that time at the secret location a fun time?
John: It’s a roller coaster of emotions, because you got into the race to win, so you have to deal with that on an individual basis, I think.

What teams did you bond with on the race?
John: The Frosties, for sure, because we got to spend the most time with them during the race.

Did that one Frostie lady actually pee her pants, as she claimed?
Scott: Yeah, she did.

You didn’t have to get in the helicopter after her and sit in her pee?
Scott: [Laughs] Everyone keeps asking that.
John: We were in a different helicopter.
Scott: I think she’s going to be a spokesperson for Depends now.

Have you gotten recognized on the street yet?
John: We got recognized on the streets of Manhattan yesterday, and we had a trucker pull over and yell to us and say that he recognized us.

What did you do to prepare for the race?
John: It was all about the backpack. Trying to think of what to put in the backpack. I thought that was the most important thing, and now, looking back, I think it comes more from within yourself.
Scott: Spending more time at the gym would have been good. I’d also say, if you were planning on doing it, don’t pack that much. You don’t need it. And learn more languages.

How did doing the show affect your friendship?
John: I think we learned everything there is to learn about each other.
Scott: Overall, it was a good thing.

What about the experience was different than you thought it would be?
Scott: I thought that the pit stop was going to be the Hotel Unique. When we got there and found out there was more, I was totally unprepared for this never-ending situation.
John: I never thought of the other teams revolving around us as we were doing things so mentally I wasn’t prepared for how that would kind of frazzle me. I just kind of thought it would be Scott and me racing along.

What’s your favorite souvenir from the race?
Scott: I got like little shells, little pieces of buildings, little things like that that I found along the way. I really made it a point to try and take in everything that I could.
John: My favorite souvenir is knowing that the strength in my life comes from myself and not anything outside of myself. It’s not what kind of car you drive or any of that stuff.
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: Mike-e on March 10, 2006, 08:57:03 AM
Here's an article from In NewsWeekly, 1 of Boston's Gay + Lesbian weekly newspapers...

'Amazing' losers are winners to Dorchester locals 

The battle of two homosexuals versus the world was fought with wet wipes, Vicks vapor rub and La Mer cream, but all the unguents in all the Saphoras throughout the Western world could not change the course of "Amazing Race 9" history - this time the homos lost, and some might say lost big, being the first team to be eliminated from the global competition. But in a small corner of Dorchester known as the Polish Triangle, there were no losers - only hometown heroes, the locals that love them and the overwhelming presence of cock - the crowing kind, that is.

On the evening of "The Amazing Race 9" premiere last week, a gala was in full effect at 224 Boston in Dorchester, a cozy neighborhood restaurant just a stones throw away from the South End. The fete, thrown by 224 Boston owner Kevin Tyo, was held in honor of John Lowe (JLowe to his fans) and Scott Braginton-Smith, the only openly gay team to compete in this season of CBS' popular globe-spanning reality contest. Between walls bedazzled with Lowe's vibrant, amateur rooster art (, the popular local hotspot was standing room only shortly before the race began, with nearly all of the staff in attendance to watch their favorite patron and bar fly, Lowe, perform on national television - perform being the operative word.

"He entertains us all night long when he's at the restaurant, so I don't see how he couldn't make for good television," reflected Kathy, a waitress at 224 Boston. Getting in on the fun was resident bartender Nathan, who impishly intimated Lowe's favorite drink was "anything in a glass with ice." Ensuring patrons missed nary a moment of the race, Tyo rented a huge plasma screen television for the event, a bone of some small contention with the sports minded staff and regulars. "We had to watch the Red Sox win the World Series on this 15" black and white relic," quipped Jared, another 224 regular. "Now that JLowe's on, we get a real television?" "This is one of our own folks," responded Tyo, demonstrating the strong bond between the restaurant and Lowe, who lives across the street and is a regular patron.

The journey for Lowe and Braginton-Smith started in P'Town when the two entered an "Amazing Race" open casting call on a whim. Numerous call backs and one three-minute video later, they were contacted by CBS producers, told they were on the show and that they were leaving in two weeks. "The only person I told was my mother and even she had to sign a consent form," explained Lowe. "I told everybody else I was working in London for two months."

To Lowe, one of the more difficult challenges on "The Amazing Race" was packing for the adventure. "They don't tell you how much to pack for the race or give you guidelines at all - you can bring whatever you want," informed Braginton-Smith. "We brought lots of things that we thought would make us more comfortable and help along the way, but we didn't get a chance to use them," explained Lowe. "I brought toilet wipes with me as I thought they'd be extremely important." Lowe's traveling companion was equally as savvy in his approach, bringing La Mer moisturizing cream and Vicks vapor rub, "because there's a lot of smells in some of the locations and if you have to eat something gross as part of a challenge, you can rub some beneath your nose and push through."

While their time in the race was limited, obviously much fun was had in the running. "I could feel we were in last place as we approached the finish mat," remembered Braginton-Smith. "I was in denial, it's a very powerful tool," added Lowe. "I was holding on to the hope that it wouldn't be an elimination round." Unfortunately for the adventurous duo, that was not the case - they finished last in Brazil, the first leg of the race. "We were very lucky to be able to participate and the experience will always be fresh," said Lowe. "It opens a door for me to see the rest of the world; I'm still afraid of flying, but I know I'll do it going forward. I had a lot of stress around the backpack, what to pack - and I didn't use anything. After doing the race and not using anything, it showed me that strength comes from within. That being said, I definitely want to get back to the gym after seeing myself next to that helicopter!"

"That wasn't a helicopter," quipped Braginton-Smith. "It was a friggin' can of tuna!"
Title: Re: John & Scott ~ Lifelong friends /Philiminated
Post by: puddin on March 16, 2006, 12:19:39 AM
The Amazing Race 9: First Exit - Fears & Dreams: The John Lowe Interview

Interviews / Amazing Race
Date: Mar 15, 2006 - 01:25 PM 
Being the first team eliminated from The Amazing Race 9 isn't pretty. If John Lowe had this particular fear, among the many stacked in his frightful "fear closet," it was one deeply buried — almost unconscious. "I never thought we would be first," says John resolutely (like a brick wall). "I never, ever, thought we would be first." But there was Phil, standing in front of John and Scott in the vast Estadio de Pacaembu soccer stadium in Sao Paulo, telling them the bad news with a stern faraway look and John slipping sideways into shock.

By David W. Taylor (Email The Author)
Reality Reel Media

 That hurtful loss slowly wound its way into our interview together, although indirectly. The swiftness of that fabled curse and the unforgiving jolt of that day in Brazil had become another emotional bundle John had tucked away somewhere and forgotten, neutralized, say — along with his phobias about spiders and airplanes and such — until this breezy day when we were both ruminating over Pit Stops and Mr. Keoghan. And The Frosties.

John & Scott and The Frosties, sisters Lisa & Joni ("Giants in Brazil!" laughs John), became solid friends during that first leg which looped southward into Sao Paulo. One reason for the closeness was because of their perpetual knocking into each other — from the Red Rock exit to the helicopter pads at Airport Dumas. Towards the sunset of Season Nine's leg number one, with time ticking dangerously away, these two teams were also each other's luckless opponent.

I asked John if he was still in touch with Lisa & Joni and that's when John began his belated mourning — a faceless voice maybe whispering somewhere silkily: "John & Scott. You are the LAST team to arrive..." In just a few short moments John's voice would crack and he would begin crying. First for Lisa. Then for John Lowe, for his nagging fears, and dreams, and a Pit Stop sentence that seemed much too harsh and much too soon. That past was almost unbelievable.

"I love the Frosties," John rallied. "I cried and cried and cried on Tuesday night [when they got eliminated]. I wanted to cry on the Mat but I was in so much shock... I would've felt so much better if I had cried on the Mat to get it out of me, the feeling of losing. And I hadn't cried since we got back. And I didn't think I'd cry but as soon as I saw Lisa's face..." John paused — and silence — and his voice swelled with memory and emotion....

"... as soon as I saw her face on the Mat... and, first, she's the biggest fan of the Race that there will ever be... and her and Joni are such beautiful people and I could see in her face everything we all went through..." Here John relinquished himself. A cry rose up and tears fell. He had finally realized his loss and his broken wish of impossible things: "To do the Race and how important it was...

"I just wish we could have gone further. I really wanted to be in the bungee jump and see if I could do it. I really wanted to be there. It just meant... I just couldn't believe that we could go from July to then, it was all over, just that fast." You see, the whole thing had reached down into his being.

John has been an Amazing Race fan from the beginning. He would watch the show "living vicariously through the contestants doing all the scary stuff" and then go to work and talk about it with the only other person in the world he knew who was watching too. Soon, these two began joking and needling each other that they should do the Race together. That other person was Scott.

An Amazing Race open casting call in Provincetown, Massachusetts — a sometime summer hideaway in John's youth — during the 2005 Fourth of July weekend proved to be fateful, even though John felt his attending it, as he would say, "was kind of a lark in a way." Within a week or two he and Scott received calls from Race casting staff requesting a three-minute video.

"We then got into the regular process at that point," relates John. "We never really felt that we were going to be asked to do it. Because it was more like we would talk about the challenges of me flying and would I be able to do it and our relationship together; how we struggled along to try to work together to do things. So we never really felt that we were going to be cast. Until they told us, at least for myself, I never felt for sure that we were going to be doing it."

 But they went all the way up the casting ladder and then found themselves breathing the razor-thin air of Colorado and straddling the seat-steps of the Red Rock Amphitheater — staring at Phil and the Starting Line.

"You're really in shock," John recalls of that beginning moment. "I mean it's really a surreal experience. You're really in kind of a shock mode a lot of the time. I remember once we started, when we started running up the stairs I kept thinking: We're really doing this, we're really doing this, we're really doing this!"

As teams left the United States and planes began landing in Sao Paulo things were initially looking up for John & Scott. Their United Airlines flight 932 was scheduled to arrive second — of three flights — into Brazil but arrived first due to connection delays for American flight 348.

"We were actually in second place when we arrived," states John, "and we were in second place at the Hotel Unique and Eric & Jeremy passed us just as we were getting out of the cab, at the hotel, and got into the elevator before us. For a split second we were in second place! And then we were in third and then... you saw what happened...

"There were so many teams coming out of the hotel when we were trying to get the second cab that we were kind of scrambling to try to figure out which cab to take or how to get another cab to get us. So when we got in that cab that was the beginning of the end for us.

"What happened was we were in the cab and we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic," remembers John. "I kept thinking we were going to a train station and I kept saying, Choo, Choo! And the guy would say, Yes, or he would nod his head. But it seemed to me that he thought it was a train station because we had no idea that it was a bridge from looking at the Clue. Then once I realized that we were kind of circling around a similar area and the driver was sort of looking around I figured we were in trouble.

"I decided that we should start asking people out the window but Scott didn't really want to bug people and ask them for directions. He was very overwhelmed by people not speaking English and he felt that if we couldn't communicate with them in English, there was no way we could try to get any information from them.

"So once that didn't work I said, 'OK. We need to get out of this cab. All I know right now is that it's not working and we need to do something different;' whether it was to get out and walk or get out and get in another cab... I just wanted to do anything different because I knew we were in trouble. I think we could have been in that cab for a couple of hours...

"I knew we were losing ground but I didn't realize at that point that we were going to lose, lose. I just knew we were starting to lose traction.

"We kept asking people... and then I think we started saying, Do you speak English? And people would just look at us and look away and keep walking. And then the man with the white shirt on? We assumed by the way — that's how untraveled we are — that we assumed by the way he was dressed that he might be an American and we assumed that he spoke English. So we ran over to him and then I asked him and he blew us off too.

"If someone did tell us where to go they would kinda say, 'You go here.' And then another person would tell you to go in the opposite direction," John mentions with a frustrating chuckle. "And I believe the name of the bridge is also the name of that area. So, it was very difficult to find out... but the policeman pointed to the direction but — they didn't speak English — so we still didn't realize that the name of the Clue was a bridge. We just kept walking and walking until we finally found it.

"There were two envelopes there [in the Box] so we knew we were in trouble. And then the excitement of the fact that we were going to do a helicopter... because we told ourselves that we were going to do anything that we wouldn't do in our normal lives... and that's when we started running and then once we got off the bridge, and into this little square area, then we spotted the Frosties. And I didn't want them to see us. We liked them and I wanted to help them but at the same time we knew there was only one other Clue in the Box, and they hadn't found it yet. You could see us sneak away from the Frosties and they never saw us."

The helicopter ride over the spread of Sao Paulo would prove a victory for John over his fear of flying — especially in imposingly small air machines. Come to think of it, in one singular leg of The Amazing Race 9 plane-panicked John Lowe had flown two commercial airlines routes (with one connection) and a helicopter spin over a metropolitan sprawl. An entire chunk of fear had been faced and tackled in one frantic leap.

"I was excited. The whole thing was exciting," John says proudly. "But the scary part was when the helicopter actually lifted off the ground... We were losing ground there too because the Frosties had actually arrived there (Airport Dumont) before us. And they found their hotel landing coordinates right away. And, so, the competitive part of me, you know, kinda kicks in but then as soon as we got up off the ground that's when it hit me: that we're in a helicopter and this thing could just drop to the ground at any moment.

"But once we got up high enough then the beauty of the city took over because the city goes on and on and on... I couldn't see where the city ended. And I think we flew six miles and we never saw the edge of the city. Like, I assume if I was flying over New York City I could see where it would end. But we couldn't see the end! It just went on and on and on... it was beautiful."

"But then, you know, winds would hit and that helicopter rocked around. So you felt like you were going to drop. But then you'd kinda think about how beautiful it was; and it was so cool to land on the building and take-off from the building and that suite was like amazing. It costs like seven-thousand a night to rent it. It went on forever. There were bathrooms, bathrooms, saunas, bedrooms, bedrooms, it just went on and on and on and on..."

One of the more interesting things about John Lowe and what attracted so many to his Amazing Race character was his self-deprecating self-reflection. We not only got to know that John was overcome with an endless array of personal terrors but he also claimed to be "sick of my living life not doing anything." Such honesty was refreshing. And, naturally, we come to find out that John's fears and his increasingly restricted life were knotting each other in common purpose. One was helping along the other. I wanted to know more about John's supposed drab life and how it inspired him to give it all a shove on The Amazing Race.

"I think a lot of people would think I have a very full life," says John. "I have a great job, I've got great friends, and I have a lot of support. In doing this you find out who you really have for support as well. But for me there's a lot in my life that I've missed out on. You know, friends getting married... I had a very close friend get married in Arizona and I've driven to Florida about four times now — to go down in the winter time — and I figured I could wing driving out to Arizona and going to her wedding. So, I was going... and then I realized it would take me about four days to drive there and four days to get back. So that's a total of eight days to miss from work and in the end I ended up not going and it's definitely one of my big regrets that I have."

"Tons of friends have had lots of parties down in Florida and they'd go down for the weekend and I'm not able to go or haven't been able to go in the past. So I really felt there was a lot of my life that I was kind of scared to do and the major one was that I am afraid of flying. I'm afraid of a lot of things and I think as you get older you get more and more afraid of doing things if you kinda let them take over. So, I've been kind of sick of that and I've always looked at the Race as a way to kind of overcome it because I am competitive. And I definitely have wanted to travel but haven't been able to."

 I ask John about his longtime friend and Race partner Scott. John's disappointment in Scott during the taxi cab fiasco in Sao Paulo was a tangible, living breathing misery. You could sense its coarse palpability on the show. John had called Scott out on national television... he needed to get his "edge up" and "to come up with an idea or go with my idea..." This when things were slowly disintegrating. John shared some personal thoughts.

"I think that if I had a partner that was similar to myself, that..." John pauses and sighs thoughtfully. "I think in some cases when people are opposites it can work to their advantage. But I think that if I had someone more focused, like myself, to do the tasks and to compete, I could have been in a better situation."

"When you're on a team like that you don't want to be the one to come up with a decision completely on your own and to fail because then you let your team down. So you try to — even though you have a strong opinion about what to do — you want to get volume from your partner so that it's a team effort. And I wasn't getting that from him.

"So you saw there were times that I had to say, 'If you're not going to come up with a plan you're going to just do mine.'

"I think that for me, I know him so much more by doing the Race where I think for a long time I was always trying to figure him out. And I think I've done that and so it's answered a lot of questions for me. It's really shown me that I really have a full life and I have a lot of friends that love me and care about me and that will do anything for me. And it makes me appreciate my other relationships so much more."

To lighten the mood... where in Barbara Eden's name did that 'genie' stuff come from?

"God, I've been doing that for so long," John moans, rolling his eyes. "It started on the beach in Provincetown actually. Probably about fourteen, fifteen years ago. And Scott and I went to the beach and it was really just us, there weren't that many people at the beach. It wasn't like the best day. And I said, Oh, you know, I wish a bodybuilder would come along and sit next to us on the beach!

"And then I said, You know what? I'm going to make one come here with this genie, and within five minutes some — this guy must have been on so many steroids — the biggest bodybuilder you ever saw he came over the dune. And he looked around and he sat right next to us. Now the beach was really empty so he could've sat anywhere and we just looked at each other in shock that this happened.

"I've used it so many times after that and it always seems to work. So we joked that if we get into trouble we're going to pull the genie out and get through it. And that's the thing that comes into like luck and signs and everything... and I've really learned that it's, you know, just hard work. If we'd worked harder, and worked better as a team, we would've still been in the Race. So the genie got on national TV!"

And so did John. Judging from the many emails I have gotten and my own instincts when elimination came calling... there are a lot of people that, having their way, would gladly fold their arms and blink - abracadabra! — John Lowe back into the Amazing Race. John's individuality, his susceptibility and his candor made a mark on many of us who have followed the Race religiously. He was one of us... out there Racing, even with his plaintive fears dragging away at his heels. And he let us share in the experience — personally, with him, rags and all — wholly. And for this I thank him.

"The people who do the show are some of the most amazing people you'll ever meet," states John. "It's all real. It's all honest. To me it makes the world a better place because I never knew — with the little bit of the world that I've seen — I never knew that there's so many beautiful people in the world. You know, people are helping you and doing things, it's just amazing to me."

 John then laughs, "I'm hoping they'll create a show for me: Face Your Fears with J. Lowe. You come to the show with your fear and then we'll have some kind of a therapist work with you... whatever it is you're afraid of — you're afraid of spiders, let's say. I'm going to be afraid of spiders too because I'm afraid of everything! And then we'll work together with a therapist and we'll face our fears together. And bungee and parachute and hand glide and parasail and I really want to be that person, I really do."

John's eyes sparkle once again. A TV adventure that was a reality and then the possibilities stretch outward and are endless.

A shadow passes by... Memories. Emotions. Dreams. Fears. Life.

"In the younger part of my life I dealt with a lot of things that didn't seem to be completely honest, that was around me. It seemed to be that, you know, you're sort of living this life that seems to be something that it's not. And I've chosen that it's much easier to be honest and to be yourself and try to find out, you know, honestly, who you are inside, and that's really how I've tried to approach doing the Race. I didn't think there was any other way you could do it."

There is John, but not nearly as noble. Let go. And fly...


John Lowe is an accomplished artist who found his knack painting chickens. Yes, chickens. "I've been doing them for probably twenty years now, maybe a little longer. Kind of just really giving them to friends and they would like encourage me to do it. And I actually have an art show in Boston at the Restaurant 224 in Dorchester, Massachusetts..." John has recently been given two requests for commissions for his feathery artwork. Check out his creations and contact him at