This year, after years of helping other people train for, try out for, and get onto American Ninja Warrior, I finally decided to throw my hat into the ring. American Ninja Warrior was coming to Tacoma, and I couldn't miss this opportunity.
Being a business owner means that I often don't get to focus on what I want to do. I might not have a boss, but every customer who walks through the doors IS my boss. When I took on this crazy journey of opening up an American Ninja Warrior Gym here in Portland, I made a sort of promise to myself; that it wasn't about me. I needed to focus on doing everything I could to make this business successful, even if that meant not doing what I wanted to do. And that meant not trying out for the show; how could I when that meant hours of training and work that wouldn't really benefit Skyhook in any real way?
American Ninja Warrior Announced that this year they were coming to the Pacific Northwest for the first time, and that they were going to be indoors for the first time ever. The weeks leading up to filming, a lot of the Ninjas here at Skyhook got the call, they were going to be on American Ninja Warrior. Our very own Coach Israel Del Rio, and three or four of our members were accepted. It almost seemed like if you tried hard to get on, and were from this area, you were going to make it on the show. I didn't apply, but I tried hard to rush a couple obstacles to completion before Tacoma happened. We had some grainy footage from people who tested obstacles in LA, and we built one or two of the obstacles for our coaches and members who made it on to try prior to the show.
As we were working to get the obstacles done, I was being asked by everyone else, are you going to go and try to do the walk on this year? Being a walk on used to mean going and spending a couple weeks to a couple months lined up in a city somewhere across the United States, and even if you did that, unless you were one of the first walk on's, definitely under the 10th one in line, you still had no guarantee that you were going to get to compete. This year they changed the walk on process for American Ninja Warrior, and made it a lottery based system. This was far worse for the super serious Ninjas who traveled across the United States from walk on line to walk on line, but was far better for guys like me, who couldn't dedicate months of our lives to it, but could go up for a weekend. Given the new system, I was considering going. What tipped me over the edge was a request to be there to support Israel, since I had started the journey with him back when I worked out of my house coaching people for the show.
I arranged coverage for myself at the gym, and then the day of the lottery, I left around noon and drove up to Tacoma.