Hi, I’m Ed. Some of you might recognise me from Tough Guy; I take the warm-up, hammer on stuff, and leap out at unsuspecting folk. I bellow constantly and drink a lot of rum.
In short, I’m hard to miss.
I don’t work for Tough Guy, I’m a volunteer. If I wasn’t smashing and bellowing at Tough Guy, I’d only be smashing and bellowing elsewhere. Thus, the Guild.
Nevertheless, I am close enough to the event and the people involved to shed some light on the controversial announcement that January might not be the last ever Tough Guy.
When Tough Guy announced that January 2017 would be their last event, they meant it. It wasn’t a marketing campaign, it wasn’t a shady trick to boost entries, and it certainly wasn’t a lie.
That’s not just my opinion, it’s a fact. I was there (at the farm) over the weekend when they decided to call it quits. I have also seen – and felt – the impact of the last five years from the inside. Although I wasn’t in their family meeting, they told me personally that they had made the decision to stop – and few people were hurt deeper than I.
So it wasn’t a lie or a con. It was an authentic and difficult decision made by people whose entire lives have been Tough Guy.
The Initial Announcement
On the 13th of August, Tough Guy announced their final event to the world. Immediately, everybody associated was BOMBARDED with messages: “Why is it ending?”, “What can we do to keep Tough Guy alive?”, “How dare you stop!”, “Don’t give up!”, “We need you!”
We expected that reaction, but it was still overwhelming. There isn’t a marketing department to deal with it. There isn’t a customer services team to handle the feedback. There isn’t a board of directors to discuss the “direction of the brand”. This is all being dealt with by a small family who – for reasons I fully understand and support – told the world that they wanted out, and were hit by a tsunami of NO, PLEASE DON’T GO!
I say that because I want you to appreciate the impact this can have on people. Imagine it was your family, your home, and your livelihood for the last 30 years: think about how difficult the decision to quit was – and consider what it like to get such a fierce reaction.
The Recent Announcement
On the 11th of November, Mr. Mouse responded to three months of relentless demands for Tough Guy to carry on. In complex Mouse Speak that very few people understood, he announced that IF somebody managed to complete his newly designed course properly, Tough Guy would continue for another year.
If you know your OCR history, you will recognise this as a very well established joke: Mr. Mouse claims nobody has EVER finished the course “properly” (apart from maybe Jon Albon, but he’s not human and therefore doesn’t count).
In other words, Mr. Mouse issued a challenge that nobody can meet. Nobody will complete the course “properly” and Tough Guy will retire undefeated from the world of OCR.
OR…somebody will miraculously complete the course as it was intended to be done and – by sheer popular demand – Tough Guy might come back for another year.
Now, I agree with everything you are currently shouting at your screen:
- It was advertised as the last one, so it should be the last one. Simple.
- You’ve bought a ticket based on the understanding that it would be the last one, so you’ll be pissed off if it isn’t.
- You’re flying across the world at great expense to be there, so it better bloody well be the last one.
- You’ve talked all your mates into it, because you thought it would be their last opportunity to experience it.
- You sold your beloved guitar/Xbox/cat/mother to afford the ticket, because you thought you’d never get another chance.
- This is typical of the misinformation surrounding the event and you’re sick of it.
I agree. Absolutely and whole-heartedly, I agree with you. Believe me, if I could personally reimburse everybody who feels cheated and misled by this situation (I feel your pain) and re-distribute your tickets to the people who can’t afford to be at this event (I feel your pain as well), I would do it in a heartbeat.
I want to reiterate: I don’t work for Tough Guy. If I’m there, I’m there on my own time and money because I love it; I love all of you and I want to make our event as awesome as it possibly can be.
So I’m not asking you to ignore this announcement. I’m not asking you not to feel outraged, misled, cheated, disgusted, or any of the other things you so rightly feel. I would feel exactly the same if I didn’t have insight into the enormous degrees of complexity and emotion involved in this situation.
What I am asking is for everybody to calm down a bit, and try to show a little compassion. After 30 years, this family has announced their heart-breaking and deeply difficult (yet authentic) decision to leave the sport they created – and now they’re having to react to the overwhelming response from the OCR community who don’t want them to go.
So far, their reaction has been to say there is a very, very, very slim chance that they might do another event. That’s all. So instead of flinging mudder and juggling accusations, why don’t we stick to what we know?
- It will be the 30th anniversary of the birth of OCR. It’s bigger than Xmas, so let’s make it a good one.
- It will be – partly depending on the weather – the very toughest and most renowned Tough Guy to date. I’ve done the new obstacles and they ain’t pleasant…
- In all likelihood, IT WILL ACTUALLY BE THE LAST EVER TOUGH GUY! We’ll all feel very silly if we all pout our way around the course only to realise we’ll never get another chance.
The Future of Tough Guy
In the very unlikely event that January isn’t the last ever Tough Guy, it will be because for every person who (understandably) thinks the original obstacle run should come to an end because they said it would, there are many more who would prefer that it carries on regardless.
Either way, I won’t let speculation about the future spoil the first big anniversary this sport has ever seen. It’s also my 30th birthday (spooky…), so I’ll be handing out mulled mead to anyone and everyone who will share a drink with me. I’m going to party hard, no matter what – because that’s what Guildsmen do.
It’s going to be historic, my friends, and I honesty cannot wait to share every miserable and long-suffering moment of it with you.
Your friendly neighbourhood Ghost (aka. YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE FROM BEYOND THE MUD),
Eddard X Gamester of the Mighty and Fabled Guild of Adventurers
Written by the irritating lack of light of the New Moon, November 2016.
An After Thought
Some people are complaining about signing up for an event that they “probably won’t finish”. To those people, I say I think you’ve missed the point of Tough Guy. It’s a test. None of us really know whether we’re going to finish: that’s what we’re there to find out.
If you do find it all gets a bit too much, I’ll be there to help you out…when you need it most and expect it least…