Despite the fact that American Ninja Warrior just finished its 6th season, this summer was the first time I had ever seen the show – AND I got hooked! For those that might not know me well – I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as super competitive or too athletic (especially when it comes to jumping spiders, warped walls, and salmon ladders). But nevertheless, I quickly became intrigued with the obstacles, the discipline, and the since of community surrounding ANW.
So … every Monday (almost) I’d tuned in to see what obstacle tripped the contestants up, to see that one competitor each week that just zipped through the course like it was a simple stroll down the street, and of course … to see if any of the female contestants would reach the final buzzer.
For those that haven’t gotten hooked, first there are qualifying weeks in various cities around the US. The top 15-ish times (those that complete the course and those that get the furthest along) move on to finals in Las Vegas. Eventually, those that make it through the various qualifiers end up at the ultimate goal – Mount Midoriyama (the final 4 stage portion of the competition). In my opinion, many of the obstacles are just crazy and require an insane amount of grip strength, athleticism, and I believe a bit of fearlessness. It should also be noted, in most cases, if you don’t complete the obstacle, you end up falling (however many feet) into a pool of water! (If totally confused, just youtube it!)
Back to this season … so after several cities and I’m guessing hundreds of competitors (many of whom we probably never see this side of TV), it was finally time for Mount Midoriyama. And, it was what happened at Mount Midoriyama that has left me pondering for weeks … (spoiler alert!!) …
No one finished! No one WON! And, not only did no one win this season … no one has EVER won in the previous 5 seasons!
Whether a goal of the producers of American Ninja Warrior or not, this show has stirred up some overarching questions – what does it mean to WIN? what is SUCCESS? and, perhaps what could be the most important question, what do you do when you land in the pool of water?
to be continued ….