Grandma's Ninja Warrior Diary: Being Human
The human ability to err comes through in American Ninja Warrior that I have watched. No missteps or a fixed error result in a run to glory. One simple misstep, and even the greatest warrior can fall from glory.
Last night, Isaac Caldierno, one of only two ninjas to finish Stage Four at Mount Midoriyama, fell on one of the early obstacles in the Indiana city competition. Had he lost his touch? No. Had his muscles atrophied? No. Did his strategic thinking skills fail to keep up with the ever-evolving courses? No. Had he miscalculated the obstacle? No. Did he feel sick, confused, or distracted? No. He simply took a misstep—as we all do from time to time throughout life, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally. In other words, he is human.
When Kacy Catanzaro made her way through tall poles rising from water, situated farther apart from each other than Casey could possibly reach, she did a quick calculation and jumped, managing to grab and hang on to the next pole. The commentators’ commented (not sure which one made the comment), “She’s not human.” That certainly seemed to be the case as she went on to scramble up the spider wall and hit the buzzer, one of the few to do so on that course and the only woman ninja to date to finish a city competition. Subsequently, of course, Kacy went on to fall from that glory on several competitions. She is, after all, human.
Falling from glory does not equate to falling from grace. The strength, humanity, and humility of the greater ninja community attests to this. There is always the next competition or, in many cases, “next year.” The humility of accepting one’s own humanness and the grace to suffer a defeat without being defeated imbues the ninja warrior community with an ineffable quality that everyone can learn from.
So, analyzing all this, I imagine what it means for me, should I be fortunate enough to make it to the qualifying runs in 2022? I hope to make it to the buzzer. I plan to make it to the buzzer. I will exert full effort to make it to the buzzer. But I know I am human, and every obstacle represents, well, an obstacle; gratitude for the experience and for the triumph should accompany the conquering for each and every one of them for each and every one of them has defeated someone. I know that. I also know I can make a misstep even while being careful and attentive. Most important, I know that 2023 will come after 2022 and 2024 after 2023. Idealism must be tinged with realism and gratitude; that is the stuff of resiliency, the backbone of ultimate success of any ninja warrior (or in any life endeavor).