Ninja Hopeful

The gym we train at regularly is a functional fitness gym. We do a lot of cross-training types of activities with a Workout of the Day (WOD)-circuit style everyday. For example, today’s WOD included: sled drag/hopbacks, big tire box jump burpees, rowing, farmer’s carry, plank, and squats. One thing I love about our workouts is that it prepares us to be more physically able to function in day-to-day life! Last fall, our neighborhood park had a clean up day and there were a bunch of trees that needed to be dragged to a garbage trailer a hundred or so yards away. I’m 5’2″ and 150lbs. Handling those trees was seriously not even a problem for me. (It’s funny how men respond to that). We had a 5 person work crew– my husband, 3 other guys, and me. My husband and I were able to single-handedly drag those trees, but those other three guys had to double-up with a buddy! Awesome! (Especially how nobody wanted me to be their buddy!)


Two years ago (March 2014), it had been a year since I had lost 50 lbs. I kept it off and was getting more strong and more fit than ever and I decided I needed to set a new goal. My family routine doesn’t include television aside from my husband and I turning it on when we get in bed. In that time between hopping in bed and calling it a night, though, there’ve been two main programs that we have enjoyed… The Blacklist and American Ninja Warrior. Good stuff there.

Watching The Blacklist is just… intense. Gotta pay close attention or there’ll be things for weeks that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Now, ANW is another thing that makes no sense whatsoever, but in a completely incredible and POSSIBLE way! It is absolutely amazing what these athletes can train their bodies to do! I love it!

When I first began exercising at our gym (July 2012), I was super duper heavy. The heaviest weight and the worst shape of my life. Two years ago, though, I was feeling incredible and ready for a challenge, so… I did it! I set a goal to submit an audition tape to try and become the next American Ninja Warrior for Season 7. The entry deadline was January 17, 2015 and considering the bazillion bullet points of items that had to be part of the submission video… here’s what I gave them to consider…

 

I knew the wait would be long… and it was… it was grueling to just wait… and wait… and wait. I knew when the course would be run (and was in contact with a couple of people from the casting office at ANW) and then…

 

So with that… I did just that… dried up my tears and started clawing at my goal! I trained harder and more intently than I did the year before. I knew when it came time for the calls to come for season 8, they’d be coming to ME!

So… I trained… and I waited. I wasn’t too worried about not getting a call. I thought many times over the previous year about why they might not have chosen me. I think I could imagine casting thinking I was too heavy. At 5’2″ and 150lbs, I am smaller, but heavier than a lot of the successful athletes that regularly take on the course. Maybe that was it! So… I thought dropping a bit more weight (though that had no longer been a goal for 3 years at that point)… but I did think that could help.

One thing led to another and with a devastating fire consuming 27 of our friends homes last summer, I had to spring into community service action and… well… myself kind of fell away a bit. I didn’t take much time ‘off’ training, but my training was different… weaker. I was more preoccupied with emotional stuff than with my goal on the prize at the end. I was still good, though. Super strong and still determined to submit and compete in American Ninja Warrior Season 8.

December 2015 came around and I knew I needed to revisit my essay questions and get working on a new submission video. I did and I was really happy with all I had done to improve my application and was fully confident in my application package. See and click… submit!

I knew the wait would be long again… probably about 4 months or so (course would run end of April/beginning of May). I had done the wait before and I knew what it was like. I was good.

About the end of March, I saw a couple advertisements about the beginning of the new ANW season. Still… I wasn’t concerned. I had plenty of time for the casting office to contact me and for me to then get myself to Southern California for my time to give-er-a-go!

Yesterday… May 23… Run into a colleague in the hallway.

“I have been thinking about you. Ninja warrior is starting back up. Look. Are you on it?” Definitely caught me off guard. I honestly hadn’t thought about it for a good 3 or 4 weeks and her question just gripped me… I realized the date as well as when that course would be run and I knew in that second… they hadn’t chosen me… again! “I’m not,” I said with a little bit of a tear welling up in my eye. “The season premier is next week sometime (June 1, I looked it up) and they ran that course a couple of weeks ago. They didn’t call me,”I told her. She came and grabbed me for a hug. She knows how hard I’ve worked and how badly I’ve wanted this. She felt honored to be the first one to get this news from me and told me that she was sorry I was disappointed. That was comforting and I collected myself pretty quickly and went along.

I did walk back to my classroom thinking about all of it, though. My initial thought was… why not? Last year, I thought I was SOLID. I thought my overall stats made me an appealing choice for audience appeal as well. I wasn’t like a lot of the other female competitors… forty-something year old mom, wife, teacher, who has had a health-related life-changing experience that’s ultimately led me to the goal of being the next American Ninja Warrior. Sounded good to me.

Then I thought about the ‘didn’t make it’ video I had made the day I knew the athletes would be running the course last year and I realized I wouldn’t be joining them (see above). I said something like, “God has something better in store for me.”

Well… He did. God deliberately put me into every single situation, relationship, and place I am in and have been in for a purpose– to bring Him glory. I know how grossly short I fall of that, but nonetheless, He’s chosen me for a purpose and His goals and plans aren’t always what I envision for myself. I do know this, though… it’s so much better. Makes me think of one of my favorite favorite FAVORITE worship songs right now…

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