Saturday, March 5, 2016

SLICE #5- American PD Ninja Warriors

 Every once in a while, when I'm laying on the couch in a post school day stupor, I stumble across a show called American Ninja Warriors. Do you know the show? A group of stellar athletes, approximately 75% male, with an occasional woman thrown in for variety, and most with rock climbing experience, make their way through a giant obstacle course, going hand over hand across a seemingly endless set of parallel bars, flying through the air to an enormous spinning wheels, then jumping side to side against these huge red diving board looking things. There is also an obstacle where they hang from a steel pole, and jump it up and then down a series of pegs. In the final obstacles, contestants leap up a ten or twelve foot wall, and slam their hands down on a giant bell.  The person with the fastest time goes onto the next round, and ultimately someone is crowned the next American Ninja Warrior. There's a hefty prize for the winner.

This is definitely not me.
When I called to apply, I was informed that teachers, and more specifically those who make their living as professional developers are not allowed to enter these competitions, because we are far too well conditioned. I might agree that was true. Take today for instance.

My alarm went off at 2:30. I slammed my hand down on the bell, and leaped out of bed for the first obstacle of the day, the dreaded early morning shower, followed by a fifty-yard dash chasing my mother's dog around the backyard in pitch darkness. This was followed by the dreaded four-hour, powerpoint-sliding marathon.

I don't think this is me. 
At 6:30 I hoisted my fifty pound weight (also known as my computer bag), onto my shoulder and dashed to the car. I slid into the parking lot, noticing a previous contestant, the head of staff development for the two block approaching the next obstacle, a two block dash around the local high school, dragging her own computer and fifty pound cart, along with an additional tablet of chart paper. Her course, as a master staff developer, had several additional obstacles, including dragging her cart and chart paper up the ornate cement stairs at the front of the building, then three additional flights of stairs to the presentation room. She was a little winded and I predicted that she might follow  several others into the watery abyss.

This is not me either.
My course was equally rigorous. It began with hoisting my presentation cart out of the back of my trusty SUV (the majority of PD contestants own SUV's because there would be no other way to haul all your competition gear), then the sweetie scramble, where the contestant crawls underneath above mentioned SUV, picking up two hundred pieces of candy that fell on the ground, when the treat can tipped out of the cart when I lifted it from the back of the SUV. I then raced to the door, then pounded for approximately 5 minutes with the flat of my hand, and then the bottom of my shoe.

And then there was an intellectual challenge-- remembering the code to open the elevator doors. This particular obstacle also included a physical element- a twenty second interval  to manipulate the cart and all other obstacles through the elevator doors, after which time the doors closed.

By this time, most American Ninja Warriors would be physically exhausted. Not true of the PD Ninja Warriors. Today I crossed the River of Tears (twice), struggled through the Technological Terror in which the computer shuts down mid-presentation, and then the charger, which worked fine at home several hours earlier, refuses to charge the computer with 17% power and one hour left to present.

Finally, the end was in sight. I dragged my cart through the elevator obstacle once again, up a bumpy ramp, and thought I was done. But nope, not quite. A young woman was somehow locked out of the building, and I received a 20 minute penalty, trying to connect with someone and get her in.

I can definitely see why the American Ninja Warriors would not allow teachers to compete.

We'd win every time.
This might be me, but it's hard to tell because the photo is just a little blurry


Unknown said...

So true! No one could keep up with Ninja Teachers!

Unknown said...

Bwaahaha! This is great. I'm sure that last photo is you.

Kyle said...

Carol- A dear friend of mine actually competed on this show years ago. She now is a literacy intervention teacher at Wyatt. You're correct. You guys kick ass.

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that my son loves this show and he's totally convinced he could go on RIGHT NOW with no training whatsoever and kick butt. I find it surprisingly watchable. I always intend to multitask when he's watching, but then I get sucked up into the stories and competition. I love how they all root for each other and support each other. And I also love the metaphor you work with here. I laughed reading this post! So true!

Carol Varsalona said...

A truly delightful post, Carol. Teachers have strength, stamina, and humor to endure.

Loralee said...

What a great post!You go, Girl!

Michelle Li said...

I laughed so hard while reading this one! Rock on, ninja!