A national fan base is growing around South Portland resident Bob Crowley, the tallest and oldest contestant on “Survivor: Gabon, Earth’s Last Eden.”

Several online fan forums gush praise for the Gorham High School teacher

“Totally digging the physics teacher,” writes Francis_3 on www.tvfanforums.net.

“I like the old guy so far. He was a puzzle solvin’ fool,” SugarB writes on the same forum.

“This guy will go farther than I first thought and, yep, he definitely could dance circles around Yau Man (a previous contestant noted for his survival prowess)… and beat the snot of him too,” writes Kayo at tvfanforums.net.

Crowley, 57, has survived the first seven episodes of the CBS reality show and is now one of 10 people remaining out of the original 18. Episode 8 airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on Channel 13, the CBS affiliate.

Crowley’s knack for fishing, craftsmanship and all-around Boy Scout knowledge has helped his team, Kota, have plenty of food and sleep under a cozy hut. He and is team have whipped opposing team Fang in all but one of the reward and immunity challenges.

“I do suspect he could be on for a long time because he is such a valuable contributor while at camp and he has been a positive contributor in the reward and immunity challenges as well,” said Gorham High colleague Jason Tanguay.

During last week’s show, Crowley again helped his team win a reward challenge. The object of the game was for teams to throw a ball back and forth while an opposing team member tried to break the ball. Crowley tackled Fang’s player, causing him to break his ball.

That lead to a show of emotion as his team earned the right to read letters from home. Reading letters from his family, Crowley began to cry.

While he continues to excel in challenges and provide for his team, Crowley still hasn’t formed an alliance, vital to securing a longer stay on the show. The could come back to hurt him, said Gorham High colleague Sally Hatch.

“At this point in the game, things are really going to start changing,” Hatch said. “He needs to make sure he is in with the right group of people.”

Nation taking notice of Crowley

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