Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ninja Warrior Sweden: An unfortunate ending

On Thursday they aired last episode of Ninja Warrior Sweden and now that it's all over I can share my thoughts on how it all went down.....

Of the 125 that started Ninja Warrior Sweden 65 made it past the first course and only 17 completed the second, though a total of 25 would advance to the "finals".  Of those 25 people only three (Alex, David and myself) completed the finals Stage 1 and advanced to "Stage 2".  Here is a clip of my completion of Stage 1.

 As for Stage 2, those that watched the final got a glimpse of what happened as Alex, David and I fail on the final obstacles in the rain.  Alex had the good fortune of going first and got to attempt the "floating doors" when they where dry but it started raining on him as he pulled onto the "cliff hanger".  David and myself were not so lucky as the rain was dumping when they ushered us toward the floating doors making them impossible (I seriously don't think they are possible when dripping wet).  It was all very anticlimactic and hugely disappointing on so many levels.  Here is a clip of my run with the lame ending.

The weather had been an issue for much of the weekend but despite the varying conditions we were told they would do their best to uphold the integrity of the "competition".  There were times on earlier stages when people were stopped from running so rain could pass, tarps were put over and obstacles were dried off.  These measures of course took time and when the final rolled around they were behind schedule and production was stressed.

I do understand that there are things you can't control but whether a member of production, a participant or a spectator I find it hard to believe anyone could be remotely satisfied with the way Ninja Warrior ended.  It is such a shame to end an otherwise wonderful experience on such a sour note especially when it could so easily have been avoided.

From the beginning I understood that Ninja Warrior is a TV program before it is a competition and didn't question why it is shot outside and at night (apparently it make for better TV).  I lack the expertise to legitimately question the way things were done but I assured myself that nobody wanted Ninja Warrior to turn out well more than those calling the shots.  A compromised competition is bad TV and that was the one thing I thought they wanted to avoid but in the end that is what we were left with.

I guess I'm still a little bitter as having us do the last obstacles in the rain made them impossible in all likelihood robbed somebody of 500,000kr.  Alex, David and myself felt cheated as we joined to conquer the "world's hardest obstacle course"  but weren't given a fair chance.  Maybe waiting another hour for the rain to stop wouldn't work because the sun would be rising (bad TV?) but the one thing I just can't reconcile is why tarps were not put over those final obstacles.  Covers had been used on previous obstacles and there was ample time but for some reason it wasn't done.

Immediately after the filming I had talked to the other finalists and written a letter stating our grievances but in the end it was never sent.  The thing is I had nowhere to send the letter as everyone I interacted with in production was awesome and also bummed with the way things worked out.  On top of the fact that there was no villain, just unfortunate circumstances, there is very little a complaint would accomplish.  It was the first year and mistakes were made and while writing it as "rookie mistakes" doesn't give me much comfort at this point I just need to get over my bitterness and know that things will be better run next season.

But enough of my ranting.  It is over and done with and there is nothing I can do about it but come back next year and go all the way.

So just a few more things before bringing the blog back to posting about climbing.

First, I wanted to say congratulations to Alex as he will now get the opportunity to compete in Japan. Yes, I would have liked to go to Japan (or win 500,000kr for that matter) but he is deserving and will do well.  And props to David for killing the course as well.  He was left in the same situation as me and given the chance to take on a dry final there is no telling what he could do.

Secondly, the burgeoning Ninja community in Sweden is awesome.  I have little doubt that Ninja Warrior will take hold in Sweden the same way it has in the USA.  The community is in it's infancy but folks come from all walks of life and everyone seemed super energized, even those that knew they had almost zero chance of "total victory".  Just a great group of people all around from those that produce the show and participate all the way down to the young fans.

And that is that.  Sorry about that little rant (hopefully that doesn't affect me coming back next year). So until next back to climbing rocks.