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If you haven’t watched Top Shot on the History Channel, season 2 of which just concluded, then you will be bored to tears by this post; probably best just to leave now.

Also, if you think you will watch it, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, well, best to go away now. Big time spoiler alert.

Top Shot is a marksmanship competition/reality show that begins with 16 excellent shooters divided into two teams and ends with four individuals competing for the title of Top Shot and a prize of $100 K.

You have to have seen the season that concluded last night for anything else I’m going to write here to make any sense at all. So here it is:

George Reinas is the ideal American, and we’d be a hell of a lot better off as a country if more of us were more like George.

For most of this season, to me, George was aggravating as all get out, with his cocky comments about other shooters, his arrogance, his utter irrepressibility.

He was also competent as all get out, a sniper instructor who sniped the sniper challenge — “one shot, one kill” — even if that meant another contestant actually won the challenge by getting a quicker ”kill” on the target using two shots. George stayed loyal to his own standards.

George was great TV, but that’s not why I see him as the ideal American. He was great TV because he was willing to be seen. When another competitor shot poorly, there’s the interview where George says, “He sucked!” When George shot poorly, there’s the interview where George says, “I sucked!” George clearly is someone who can both dish it out and take it.

When the challenge involved dropping from 120 feet while shooting at balloons, and George doesn’t apparently like heights very much, he put on his game face and smoked the competition. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was in that episode: George starting with his laughing letting-it-all-hang-out face and drawing his hand down, leaving behind his scary game face mask. In a second he went from the jerk at the beach to a serious fighter, someone not to cross.

George was also an amazing shooter, and part of the reason I see him as the ideal American is that all his cocky talk was backed up by his competence. After all, is it really arrogance if you really are that good?

He also stayed loyal to his people, and there’s where he went from an excellent and intimidating competitor, fighter and shooter, to an ideal we all need to be trying to achieve.

In the finale, which aired last night, we see George deliberately miss a plate with a pistol shot at 25 feet, what had to be a very easy shot for him. But Chris Reed would have been eliminated immediately had George made that shot, and George obviously believed Chris deserved and needed to fight for his place in the competition. Chris was in the midst of an uncharacteristic bad run — this was the only time Chris seemed to be struggling; Chris had picked the strongest team at the outset of the competition and performed superbly all the way through; George was Chris’ first pick, in fact.

George’s loyalty to Chris inspired his decision to allow Chris a path to remain in the competition. And then Chris hit the plate, tying with George and avoiding elimination. And then Chris beat George in the next competition, using a Sharp’s rifle to shoot a plate at 50 yards.

AND THEN Chris beat Gunny Brian Zins in the very final competition to win Top Shot.

If George had hit the plate with the pistol shot, Chris would have been eliminated and the finalists would have been George and Gunny. George didn’t throw the competition to Chris; he just gave Chris the chance to stay in it, and Chris shook off his own funk and got right back in it. It was a gift, and Chris knew enough to seize the chance and not dishonor himself & George both by refusing the gift. This episode was so amazing to watch, we were shrieking at the TV.

So here’s George: bright, brash, skilled, a fierce competitor; confident to the point of arrogance; saying what he felt about everyone, including himself. At times infuriating, but always so honest that it was easy to forgive him. It didn’t appear that he held grudges, he just let it all out immediately and then returned to excelling at the task at hand. When he might have had a chance to win, he revealed something about himself we could easily have missed: a huge heart and a sense of loyalty.

I spent a lot of season 2 of Top Shot feeling quite annoyed at George, and I imagine if life conspired to make us friends, I’d still get annoyed at him frequently. But I would also spend all my time trying to deserve his loyalty and respect, because his loyalty and respect is worth deserving. George is who we want at our back (and he’s an Air Force sniper instructor, so we have him at our back!) and he is who we never want to let down.

This is what America and Americans used to be: bright, brash, skillful, fiercely competitive, confident to the point of arrogance, loud, sometimes infuriating, and blessed with honor, loyalty, and huge heart. This is the spirit we need to revive, whether we call it cowboy spirit or Jersey attitude.

George Reinas is the ideal American. I hope I get to tell him that someday!


Comments on: "George Reinas as ideal American" (10)

  1. jefent26 said:

    Well said! I apreciate your honesty and kind words! George is the kindest, funniest and most caring person I know. We are very close, I look up to my brother and congratulate him on standing up to his values as an American, Iraq Vet, a serviceman and a brother. He has a huge heart and his loyalty to protect our country and help out his friends & family is one of his many qualities. He speaks his mind, tells it like it is and stands true to his beliefs. I thank you, for writing such nice words. People will always have an opinion on George, but at the end of the day-George is George and words are words…thank you again!!

  2. At first I thought like you. Then I heard his interview.
    He’s actually a coward. His hinting that he may have thrown the last negates everything he did. By throwing the competition and not doing his best, he 1) casts doubt on the legitimacy of the result 2) saves his own face in a very selfish and un team like way. It allows him to imply that he could have won it if he had wanted to, and saves him the embarrassment (in his mind) of losing to someone else.
    If this is the behavior of an “Ideal American”, then we as a nation are in big trouble.
    I don’t believe he helped anyone, only his own ego.

    • I’m slow to reply, 32xavos, but I disagree with your assessment. I think George was just messing with our minds.

      I heard the passing comment about how he may have thrown the last shot. But nothing he said in the excellent interview on Gun Nuts Radio echoed that, so I think it was just high spirits and a TV camera talking.

      Besides, I don’t see George as a big “what if” guy. He made his choice with the pistol shot and let it play out from there.

      We are both speculating, of course!

  3. @32xavos; George said he was embarrassed that he would spend the money on guns knowing that Chris needed it for his kids school. Did you miss that because you were busy “negating” things? You’re one of those word-nerds that measures everyone with your cynical self reflecting scale. I hate to break it to you LITTLE MAN but George is cocky, blunt, huge, intimidating, intelligent, handsome, humble and honorable. If I’m wrong and you aren’t a frail little bitch man physically, just know that the rest of us see who you are on the inside. Now take your weakness and get out of this AO…

  4. I almost completely agree with the article. Throughout the whole season George irritated the crap out of me. I sometimes wanted to punch him in the face, but then figured, I’d rather have someone come and tell me like it is then some person conspiring behind my back. I’m the same way, I’ll call it like I see it. But also hold no grudges if someone calls you out and continue on with the mission at hand. Perhaps it’s the environment we were raised in or our life experiences, around LEO’s and ex-service personnel, that made us that way. But when George picked that largest target at the shortest distance, and “missed” the shot. EVERYONE knew he had done so intentionally. As soon as he walked back, Chris just KNEW it. As to the second shot, I think he “missed” that one intentionally as well. Come on, I have friends that are sniper instructors (ex-military and now LEO’s) that could make that shot with their eyes closed. Even in that episode, he did mention that he’d feel bad since he mentioned “wasting” his winnings on guns, while Chris wanted to put it towards his kids education. I think even if he did “throw” the competition for Chris, it was the honorable thing to do and I agree more Americans could learn a lot from that. I think a good friend for life is A LOT more valuable than 100k. 100k isn’t going to kick some a$$ for you when the going gets tough, a good friend sure as hell will. That’s the kind of friend I am, my friends know that if the going gets tough they can call on me and I WILL be there. And I know that the friends I do have will do the same. Thank you George for allowing Chris to go on…to beat “Gunny.” Almost every episode I wanted to punch him in the face, but in the season finale I wanted to give him a high five and a hug.

  5. My 15 year old son recently introduced me to this contestant from Top Shot. I enjoyed his candor and sarcastic humor. So tired of political correctness these days. He’s been an inspiration to my military minded son. He showed a great example of loyalty that is lacking in a world where you always gotta be wary from which angle your fellow man will be attacking to further his own sef-worth.

  6. The ideal American doesn’t belittle other people for the fact that they served in a different branch of the military or because they didn’t serve at all.

    The ideal American doesn’t form grade-school cliques and constantly snide and snark at other people because they don’t belong in his man’s man boy’s club.

    Forget it. This guy is a closed-minded idiot with no respect for anyone but himself and people exactly like him. That’s not the ideal American, and it’s certainly not the ideal military man.

  7. I just finished watching that serie on NF. What George did for Chris brought tears to my eyes. Even if the pistol shot is the only one he “threw”, he knew Chris might take him out later. This was about the most honorable, selfless, self-sacrificing thing I have every seen. My hat is off to him. You go George, I hope I have the privilege of meeting you some day.

  8. in a world filled with evils. we can only hope to overcome them thro small acts of kindness and self sacrifice. i hated george and and the way the red team conducted them selfs with civilians. if you weren’t a marine you may aswel have stayed home.i think top shot rules suck and that each competior should face elimanation atleast 2 times to make the final four.as much as i disliked him as a person the whole season george is a man that fights the evil.

  9. gagegecko said:

    This guy was an immature and disrespectful. Not something I would look for in an ideal American.

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