Blake Gratton was a 12-year old boy who competed on a 1994 episode of Nickelodeon GUTS against Leigh Long and Drew Nasrallah. Blake tells us about his experience competing against an all-star two years older than him who later went on to be one of the only players to score a perfect game. Thanks goes to "Toltendo" for conducting this interview.
See Blake in the action by downloading this episode here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=59RILRMU
So how did it all started with GUTS? What were the try-outs/auditions like, the process of it? Have you previously watched or heard of the show?
Well my parents heard about the tryouts somehow and asked if my twin brother Brock and I wanted to go tryout. Of course we said "yes" so we headed to Orlando, FL. We were pretty nervous because we had to go through a number of different interviews. I think we did a total of 4 different tryouts... and in a couple of them they had a bunch of obstacle courses set up where they timed us. The whole tryout and interview process took a few weeks. A couple weeks later I got a phone call asking if I wanted to be on the show. It was pretty cool.
How did the choosing of the three contestants work out?
I have no idea how they picked which contestants went up against each other. But the event took all day and they taped a bunch of other episodes at the same time. So when we did the Mogul event, when we were done with it, they would put us back in the green room or whatever it was, and they would take a couple more episodes with the different groups.
What was Drew like? What was Leigh like?
Both Drew and Leigh were very nice on the show. Drew was a bit cocky but he was also 2 years older than Leigh and I. He was 14 years old and we were only 12... so his nuts had almost dropped by then. For some odd reason I felt like I was more shy then the rest of the group. The producers kept telling us to move around and give the cameras like a thumbs up or something. Drew gave the #1 sign and I game the goofy thumbs up sign.
Briefly describe what you experienced in each event...
What sucked about me being the "blue" player was I had to go first in all of the events. So both Drew and Leigh got to watch me make the mistakes etc... I'm not complaining but it would have been nice to go last.
The Moguls were pretty cool... they put us on a knee board and let us go down this slope with moguls in it.
The water event was pretty cool too... they gave us a paddle and suspended us above the water and let us go across the pool and back. All I could remember was how nervous I was. I don't think I relaxed the whole show... haha.
The Football tossing was a pretty cool event. They suspended us and we were tied to each other so when I would bounce down, the next player would be pulling on me.
The "running across the pillars" event was my worst. They suspended me from the ceiling and I had to run across these pillars. They didn't suspend me high enough so I really couldn't run across them very easily. I blew in that event.
The Mega Crag... All I could remember was "I'm killin it" but then all of a sudden that damn smoke released about halfway up the crag and I couldn't see anything. There was a rock climbing section and I couldn't see a single thing. Both Leigh and Drew passed me, but thankfully I was able to regain some ground on Leigh and ended up in second place. That was unfortunate.
Now on the “Spill Your Guts” segment, you said you have a twin brother named Brock. Was he also on GUTS as well or on any other Nickelodeon-related game show?
Unfortunately GUTS only wanted to take one of us so I was the lucky one to go. I look back at the "Spill Your Guts" segment and laugh... because who the hell is Tony Meola... he was a soccer goalie. Anyway it's still pretty funny to watch the show for me.
You said you played soccer and were on the swimming team. Do you still play both sports?
I ended up playing tennis my whole like and trained at Bolletierri Sports Academy. I think that was the only year I played soccer and was on the swim team. I think once I found out I had to wear a Speedo, I quit the swim team. Now a days sometimes I wish I could wear a speedo.
Were events and the Mega Crag explained to you in some sort of orientation before the events occurred?
Every event was explained to us before we started it. If you ever watch the show again, watch in the beginning of the Agro Crag, every player is required to put their feet on certain boxes. If you didn't do it, you were penalized. But yeah... they were in depth.
Did you, the other players, Mike, and Mo talk with each other off-camera and after the awards ceremony?
Mike would come up to us off camera before each event and try to talk to all of us... Mo didn't really say much although they were all extremely nice. I think they were set in their routine and were probably focusing on their job.
So what has life been like after GUTS? Do you tell your friends/relatives about it? How do they feel about it?
I really don't tell anyone... but whenever the show plays, I get a bunch of messages on Facebook from people asking if I'm the "Blake Gratton from GUTS." I don't know why they try to track us down but it's pretty funny.
How was it like behind the scenes? Anything you saw that was unique?
The behind the scenes was pretty cool, they brought us lunch and we got to hang out with the rest of the kids. Parents and friends were not allowed to be in the audience, so they all sat in the green room.
Do you have a copy of your episode?
No and I need one.
Do you still think that you would've won first place if Drew haven't been on your show?
Is there anything you would like to say to Drew or Leigh after all these years? Have you made any contact after the show or even as of recently? (A couple of my friends haven't been getting good luck on searching for either Leigh or Drew)
Let's do an "old person version" of Guts and I'll whoop them.
Do you still have your GUTS helmet/shirt/medal?
I've got the shirt and the medal. But it's at my parents house and I have no idea where it would be.