The First Ever American Ninja Warrior
October 12, 2015
In the seventh season of the worlds hardest obstacle course, it had remained unconquered! Back again for my 3rd year in a row. Las Vegas, Nv. One of my least favorite places to be in the middle of the summer. With the temperatures reaching a scorching high of 46 celsius, it was far from bearable even in the middle of the night. Luckily the competition doesnt begin until night time and continues on till sunrise. With the heat, sleep deprivation and nerves its no wonder why this obstacle course had yet to be defeated. Talk about putting your ninja skills to the test. On the first night of the competition, I was able to assess the upcoming obstacles, although its too late to actually train physically I could begin to overload my mental muscles. The hardest American Ninja Warrior Finals in history was ahead of me and the other 100 athletes were ready to face off with the unbeatable course. Stage 1. Balance, speed, agility, coordination. Are the basis of the skills needed to accomplish this course. Although its only the first stage it cannot be underestimated. With my mind calm and ready for action, I smoothly pounced and leaped from obstacle to obstacle executing each move as intended. The main concern for me and most ninjas on stage one is the Jumping Spider. After sticking the crux landing on the initial jump I knew I had stage one in the bag. A minute later I was at the first of four buzzers with plenty of time to spare. After a historic number of athletes who completed stage one, all 38 of us moved on to the next challenge. Stage 2. With some familiar obstacles from last season, a few tweaks and turns made for an intimidating course. The second to the last obstacle Roulette Row was the Ninja Killer. Once all 38 athletes made their attempt, only 8 remained, me being one of them. I finally earned the chance to showcase my abilities on stage three and hopefully push forward to stage four and win the title along with the grand prize. Stage 3. My dream course. Eight obstacles of pure upper body madness awaited me. As I prepared mentally to calm my nerves and stay focused I kept reminding myself over and over of how this is my course and it was built for me. I am one with the course. Everything else did not exist even the water below me. The starting buzzer went off and so I went, flawlessly through each subtle movement I previously envisioned. Maintaining my breath was what gave me the power I needed to smoothly float across each obstacle. Next thing I knew I was at the last obstacle, the Flying Bars. Not only is this obstacle one of the most difficult and technical challenges but it being the last made it more nerve racking than any other moment in the entire competition. As I calmed my breathe one last time, I reminded myself I got this and that it was just like in my training, me and the course. I proceeded one movement at a time, flying through the air with a metal bar clearing five foot gaps and one foot drops violently onto little platforms. Knowing with only the slightest miscalculation it could all be over in a flash, my zen-like focus blocked out the fears and the high energy of the screaming audience only feet away. Finally sticking to the last landing platform with plenty of strength left in my arms, I knew I had just done what no other American had ever done, completed stage three. I instantly let out the biggest victory yell I have ever felt inside. A lifetime of training, pain and dedication had finally paid off. Stage 4. The Final Climb. A big part of my ninja training has been dedicated to the infamous and rigorous 75 ft rope climb. There is nothing fun about this obstacle, it is pure torture. Shortly after completing stage three and watching my fellow ninjas fall into the water one by one, I was wondering if it was just going to be me at the final rope climb or if it would end up being a race at the rope. All that had been predicted in previous years from ninjas to producers was that it would be a race at the rope, whether it be 5 ninjas or 2, it was inevitable. Sure enough the last ninja to squeeze through stage three by the skin of his teeth was none other than Geoff Britten. After Geoffs nail biting finish, knowing that he of all the other ninjas would be joining me at the rope was nothing but an honor. For the first time in the entirety of the competition, its was no longer me against the course, it was two ninja's going head to head for the title. Like in previous stages, with my stage three time being faster than his, Geoff was to proceed first on the next and final stage. With what seemed like the fastest hour break between stages, the rules of the 4th stage were than explained. Simple, the ninja with the fastest time to the top in under 30 seconds wins the title. Regardless of who gets to go first, both ninjas equally get a chance to become the First American Ninja Warrior. With the bonus prize of 1 million dollars. With that being said in all my training I have never once climbed that much rope in under 36 seconds. For the first time of the night I was a little concerned, but kept my focus and remained positive by visualising success on the rope. Every time I would hear someone say 75 feet of rope, I would kid myself into thinking it was only 50 ft and not a problem. As my fellow ninja sprung onto the rope with an insane amount of speed, I got more and more nervous knowing that I cannot climb rope that fast, his training was clearly paying off, as he neared the top of the tower, the countdown buzzer began, the fatigue at that point set in and slowed him down literally to the last second as he desperately reached for the buzzer at the top. 0.35 seconds remained on the clock. Everyone was in total shock as they applauded for the potential, First American Ninja Warrior. The crew than slapped on my body harness and rigged my rope, I delved deeper and deeper into a trance, convincing myself I can go faster, harder and stronger. The countdown was announced and I was off. Up and away I went 10, 30, 50 feet into the air zoning in on my technique and consistent flow towards the top as I had flashbacks of my training. When the 10 second countdown buzzer went off, my heart rate skyrocketed and just like in my training the body reached that point where it shuts down and can go no further. In that very moment I thought to myself, OH NO! Not now, after all this to just fail at the top. I instantly reminded myself, I got this! and somehow summoned the beast within and flew up the remainder of the rope to the top hitting the buzzer and pulling myself to safety on the tower platform. While gasping for air everything around me got quiet, did I do it? Did I time out? Am I the first? I peered over the edge at the chaotic blur of people only to realize they were screaming in disbelief. I gave the thumbs up to my loved ones and friends still lost as to the result. After assessing their reaction I concluded that I must have beat Geoffs insane time. As I let out a huge sigh of relief the reality began to set in, I had just accomplished the impossible. I became the First American Ninja Warrior. A dream come true! After an agonizingly slow ride down the tower to the ground. I was instantly attacked by the one person I desired most, my soul mate Laura. Behind her was my family, friends and fellow ninjas who all just witnessed the extravagant feat. It wasnt until my final interview at the base of the final climb that I was informed of my time up the rope. As my time was announced at 26.34 seconds I received a second dose of reality, I am THE FIRST AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR and I am a MILLION DOLLARS RICHER!!!!