Survivor Island of the Idols cast assessment: Tommy Sheehan to learn and teach

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Combining his athletic skills from his personal life and social skills learned through his teaching, Tommy Sheehan has the potential to win Survivor.

There are some professions people have that make you well suited for Survivor that you don’t want to share with others. Police officers, lawyers, poker players; they have critical thinking skills that would make them top strategic threats in the game immediately. However, a teacher has social skills such as empathy, sympathy and communication expertise that can propel their game forward.

While Ron Clark used those communication skills to mastermind the Kama tribe, one of the teachers inspired by his teaching style, Tommy Sheehan, looks to be coming from a different place entering Island of the Idols. He has both the social skills and the athleticism to go far and barring a sunburn-based medevac (I can relate), I think he has endgame potential.

Everything about his CBS bio checks off the boxes you’d want to see in a Sole Survivor. He understands the importance of the social game above all others, he aims to make the game fun for himself and others around him, he has the kind of heart that hates bullying, but at the same time, he knows that he has to blindside and cut people to progress through the game.

Jeff Probst gave Tommy Sheehan a lot of praise in his one-minute cast video, saying that moms will love him and students will want him as a teacher. The fact that he calls out the teacher that helped change his life and propel him forward to be a teacher, while also following his family motto, exemplify how well he is driven to perform on this show.

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Early in the game, I find that Tommy’s athleticism will help keep Vokai stay strong in a variety of challenges. He will be needed through the pre-merge at the very least because of that, but I feel like even if he was swap screwed, he has the social capital necessary to either convince others to keep him and use him for an alliance or to pull off a flip.

Playing with the mentality of a 4th-grade teacher might be the best kind of preparation for Survivor: Island of the Idols. If he manages to go to the island and meet Boston Rob and Sandra, he will take in their wealth of knowledge and learn from it and apply it to his game. It takes a good teacher to learn and apply their knowledge to others, and I believe Tommy is capable of that.

Regardless if he goes to the Island of the Idols, I feel as though Tommy has the capabilities of making it to finale night. He has enough athleticism but not too much to make him a significant threat. He is a social-forward player who knows the strategies and how advantage-heavy the game has become. He’s a fan of the game and knows what route he needs to take to get to the end.

What will determine if he can make it to Final Tribal Council is if he makes too splashy a move (or two) too early for him to find a path to the end. Many capable players are taken out before getting to Final Seven, and often it’s a strong player either winning out to the end or idoling their way through to the end.

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Tommy needs to find a reliable partner a la Dom and Wendell for him to have a chance to sit at Final Tribal Council and win. He can become the Sole Survivor of this season, I feel; it’s all a matter of whether or not the stars align.