Do You Want to be an American Ninja Warrior Writer?

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By Beth K. Vogt

I’m one of the 6 to 7 million viewers who watch American Ninja Warrior (ANW). I cheer from the comfort of my home as (mostly) ultra-athletic men and women jump, swing, run, and climb their way through a series of obstacles for the chance to “beat that wall!”

You’ll never see me run the obstacle course on ANW. But that’s okay because I have another aspiration. I want to be an American Ninja Warrior Writer.

ANW competitors are amazing examples of perseverance. This year, a man with one leg ran the Indianapolis qualifying course. After watching him take on the floating stairs and the rope swing and even jumping on a trampoline and successfully reaching the first of three hanging rings, I should never complain about a deadline again!

But the real reason I want to be an American Ninja Warrior Writer? I love the way contestants support one another. Each season, dozens of men and women compete against one another. When they’re not running the course, all the contestants are cheering for the individual who is jumping, swinging, running, and climbing as they strive to beat the course

ANW is in its eighth season, and certain individuals have competed enough times to become household names. They’ve also developed something that sets them apart, not unlike when writers craft taglines. Here’s a sampling of some of the more celebrated American Ninja Warriors:

• James “The Beast” McGrath – a 4-time finalist
• Jessie Graff – a TV stuntwoman who wears a Wonder Woman outfit and who was the first woman to complete this year’s course
• Joe Moravsky – a.k.a. Ninja Weatherman
• Geoff Britten – a.k.a. “Popeye,” or Ninja Brittens, who became the first American Ninja Warrior last year after conquering Mount Midoriyama

You know what else a lot of these warriors do? They wear T-shirts with slogans on them. And their families and friends and fans on the sidelines wear their T-shirts.

But here’s what amazes me: Competitors wear each other’s T-shirts — and they’re yelling and screaming for each other. One guy runs the course — other competitors wear his T-shirt. The next contestant runs the course – now all the other competitors are wearing her T-shirt. And everyone is hollering “You can do it!” and “Keep trying!” — even though success for this person means someone else could lose their place in the competition.

Crazy, right?

Crazy wonderful.

And that’s why I want to be an American Ninja Warrior Writer.

I want to wear other writers’ (virtual) T-shirts. I want to cheer for them when they are fighting to meet their deadlines. I want to holler, “You can do it!” when another writer doubts herself. I want to jump up and down and HaPpY dAnCe when they win an award – even if it means I don’t.

Who’s with me?

Beth-Vogt-Favorites-0013Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2016 Christy Award winner and three-time Carol Award finalist, Beth’s destination wedding series continues with an e-novella, You Can’t Hurry Love (May 2016) and a novel, Almost Like Being in Love. Visit Beth at

Comments 0

  1. I believe writers are the most supportive people in the world. They encourage and push and help others with their writing–I don’t see that a lot in other fields.

  2. Rebekah:
    Thanks for saying so! It was a fun article to write — especially when ANW was on. :O)
    And yes, Pat, writers can be so supportive of one another. One behind-the-scenes thought spurred this article: how sometimes competitiveness can cause us to compare our success with someone else’s success. Support is replaced with striving against each other — even if that striving is short-lived and not spoken out loud.
    This article was me stating “out loud” the desire of my heart and inviting others to saying it out loud, too.

  3. I love the imagery of wearing each other’s T-shirts! My mind is racing with applying that to other situations. Imagine if we did that literally and in our hearts for our church leaders? You’ve encouraged me to keep on encouraging other writers even when my own writing isn’t going well and to keep persevering.

  4. Karen: Yes! This certainly applies to other situations in our lives and I love how you thought of our church leaders.
    Melissa: Cheering you on as you launch out on the writing road. Go, Melissa, go! You can do this!

  5. Nice image – we’re not competing. We’re each trying to be the best we can be.

    I guess the same goes for our Christian lives as well as our writing lives.

  6. The show has inspired me to create an American Ninja Writer theme for my Practical Writing class this year. I want my students to understand many of the same lessons: everyone has his own style; it takes lots of behind-the-scenes training; if you fail, keep trying; we all have some obstacle that we struggle with, and it’s different for each of us; watch what others are doing to be successful and use their strategy. So many positive messages for writing and for life!

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