In June, when I made a brief stop in Paris, my wife and I were approached in the Latin Quarter by a woman asking for money. She was middle-aged (around 50), blond and dressed appropriately. Nothing indicated that she was at all needy. She spoke directly to us in English. She offered no explanation, only saying that she was not pretending to be poor. We told her we had nothing to spare — the truth, since we were traveling on limited, grad student funds. Two minutes later my wife and I admitted to each other that the situation resembled any number of scenes that play out on the Amazing Race: a team that has been stripped of their money, running through the streets of a foreign town, begging for pennies but unable to explain their predicament.

I have lived in fear of being one of the people who turned down a team on the show. Seeing the teams for the eighth season has not put my mind at ease. In particular, Linda Weaver looks like the woman who approached us. G-d, don’t let me look bad!

Anyway, my early bet is on the Schroeder family, but I hope the Paolo family sticks around.