American Ninja Warrior – I am not.


I gotta say, I’m feeling a little old this morning.

As I type this, I’m sitting on the couch, icing my knee after attempting to run through Abigail’s obstacle course she constructed yesterday.

Oh, I made it through.

But it wasn’t pretty.

I’ll begin by saying that we, as a family, watch American Ninja Warrior during the summer months. If you’re not familiar with the show, you’re missing out – people from all walks of life crushing it on grueling obstacle courses.

Abigail is not just a fan, she’s a fanatic.

She creates her own ranch style obstacle courses around here. Scaling hay stacks, pull ups on the overhang of a gate…you name it, she does it.

So, yesterday, she put together an obstacle course and challenged us all.  I was the only taker.

We started in the pond with inner tubes. We had to get across the pond and back again. The pond is a little low right now, so while Abigail was slowly paddling, I put my feet on the bottom of the pond and pushed off. My time was faster than hers and was feeling mighty confident.

Famous last words.

Next, we had to race downhill to the old chicken coop. Climb onto the roof, drop down and “monkey bar it” on wooden slats to the end of the building.

The running down hill was a little sketchy, but I made it without falling on my face. I climbed the shaky building and eased down onto the monkey bars. “Okay, Ashley, suck it up,” I told myself. “Don’t focus on the fact that your arms feel like they might just rip out of their sockets. You used to take these two at a time!” (Yeah, I weighed A Lot less and I was ten years old) Abigail sailed through this obstacle and was cheering me on. I got through a couple of “bars” (scary wooden slats that felt as though the last 50 years might have taken its toll on them) and I had a decision to make. Should I keep going or drop to the ground?  I mean, so what if my arms felt like they were about to snap off?

I chose door number three. I chose to swing off. I hurled myself through the air as far as I could manage to try to get close to the end of the building. I was pretty proud of myself until I hit the ground and felt my knee pop.


I limped through the rest of the course. Throwing flags into buckets. Climbing over a log and jumping through a tire and pool noodle obstacle.

As I reached the final obstacle, dragging my useless leg along, I watched 80 pound Abigail shinny up a rope, grab the overhang and launch herself through the air over the finish line. I sucked in a deep breath, grabbed hold of that rope and pulled with all my might. I was going to finish big! (Sadly, the only reason my feet even left the ground was because I picked them up in anticipation of upward movement.)

My horseman who had been narrating our run for us, just like the real American Ninja Warrior took pity on me and gave me a shove up to the bar. (I know our vows included “in sickness and in health”, I might should have added “ in weakness and in shame”.)

I slithered down from the bar, crossed the finish line to meet up with Abigail, who looked at me lovingly and said, ”Hmmm, maybe I’ll make it a little less challenging for you next time, Mom.”

Thanks Abigail.

So, here I am. Icing my knee. Aleve coursing through my veins. And the smell of Icy Hot wafting through the air.

Not feeling particularly “ninja-ish”.



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