What it is like to compete on American Ninja Warrior
It was such an amazing opportunity to compete on the popular television show, American Ninja Warrior Season 9. Even though they did not air my run, lucky for me, the competition experience is one that I wish to share with the world. I was number 52, and I didn’t get to compete until 3:30am. This was crazy for me as I wasn’t used to being awake during that hour and I was waiting for hours for my turn. It was 50 degrees, I know that isn’t cold for many, but for us Floridians, that was freezing! So now it is my turn and I have no idea what to expect. There were multiple cameras in my face, I am trying to control my heart rate as it is pounding out of my chest. I actually closed my eyes and stood completely still concentrating on my breathing. I ignored the crowd of people, the cameras, and my own nerves. I came back to my breath and gained complete control of my mind. I was as ready as I could be to compete on an obstacle course that I have never touched.
Competing in USA Gymnastics
I started competing in gymnastics at the age of 4 years old. I started with level two and worked my way up to level 10 training vigorously for most of my childhood. The amount of hours I dedicated to gymnastics is equivalent to a full time job that an adult would undergo. When it came to competitions, I had to perform my routines that I practiced hundreds of times over and over. The pressure you feel when competing in gymnastics is interesting because you know you can do your routines, you just want to make sure you can nail them as perfect as you can for the judges. You have to consider your nerves, the condition your body feels that day, and your ability to do your absolute best. Gymnastics teaches you obedience, confidence, and determination. It is one of the best sports out there, and I can say that because I also trained and competed in martial arts, soccer, softball, dance, and track.
Ninja Warrior vs. Gymnastics
I have competed in hundreds of gymnastics competitions, and only 3 Ninja Warrior competitions. I have been noticing the differences and similarities between the two competition styles and think this insight might be helpful for gymnasts around the world. With gymnastics, you practice your routines over and over again. You know what you are getting into when you salute to the judges. You know exactly what you have to do in order to score well, and you know what it is going to feel like to go through the movements in your routines.
In Ninja Warrior, you don’t’ get to touch the obstacles before you compete, it is all up in the air. You have zero practice on these obstacles, and even if you are familiar with the obstacle, you are competing on them in an order that you have never done before. It is 100% unpredictable and anything can happen. Realizing this fact, it makes me want to compete in gymnastics again because it made me think “Wow, I just need to do my routine”. It is so crazy to compete in something and not know what to expect. Gymnasts! Please think about this fact for a minute: You know your routines, you know what to do, and you have done it hundreds of times before. Now go out there and do what you do! Do not worry about what could go wrong, just tell yourself that you have done this so many times and trust your muscle memory to do the rest. I wish I had this outlook on competing in gymnastics when I was competing. American Ninja Warrior has given me such a perspective on competition.