Sunday, July 20, 2014

There's A Jerk In My Brain Sometimes

Almost ten years ago my husband and I drove from where we were living in northern Kentucky to the bottom of the state to visit my dad. As soon as we got in the door we were inundated with all the stuff he'd recently discovered. Movies. TV shows. Art books. Camera gear. Computer stuff. Video games. Whatever. It's like a taking a tour of the room of a twelve-year-old boy. This is just his way. It's better not to fight it because he might introduce you to something completely amazing.

That day, he wanted to show us an insane show he'd found on G4 Network. Sasuke, or Ninja Warrior as it's known in the States, is a Japanese obstacle course tournament that had been running on the other side of the world since 1997. My dad had like six tournaments worth of episodes recorded and we sat on the couch, completely entranced, and watched every single one of them. I still remember the names of some of those guys--Akiyama, Nagano, Yamamoto.

We didn't have cable and couldn't watch it on our own so every time we went back, he gave us some more. Then, a couple of years later, we got G4. And then, G4 started sending over a bunch of yanks to run the course. I remember those guys too--Meeuwenberg, Orosco, and later Campbell.

We watched the show as we moved from place to place and have viewed it in four different apartments and two houses. And, even though we aren't 100% behind the recent Esquire/NBC changes, we're always happy to see new episodes. We followed Kacy Catanzaro last year and loved her. So, this year, we FREAKED OUT when she made it up the warped wall for the first time. When she made history for the second time by being the first ever woman to make it to the Ninja Warrior finals in Vegas, we were literally crying. Crying. And screaming. And also jumping up and down. It was intense, folks.

Imagine my surprise when, the next day, I heard people talking about this event in the gym. And then on Facebook. And then Twitter. And Pinterest. And... just... everywhere.

And you know what my first reaction was? What my first, knee-jerk thought happened to be?

"What the hell?! This is MINE! This is my show! You people don't know Kacy OR Ninja Warrior!"
I know, Captain. I'm ashamed of me too.
And then, immediately, I realized what an awful fan I was being. I've talked about this terrible attitude right here on this very blog. I've talked about how elitism has crept into Geekdom and become a poisonous part of a culture that's supposed to be all about what we love. I've also talked about how, yeah, I understand it--I know that you feel like you've suffered through all kinds of private nerd hell only to have your special thing invaded by people who you think probably don't "get it." I understand it because I'm guilty of it. The problem comes when you start spreading those feelings around instead of dealing with them in any kind of real, grown up way. (I guess my way is being super ashamed of that feeling and then writing a really long blog post about all my feels.) Anyway, the problem comes when you don't realize what a great thing it is that everyone else likes your thing.

I guess the point of all this is to say that, as a geek, I get why you want to protect your special thing. But, you have to remind yourself (and so do I) that your special thing isn't going anywhere. No one's coming along and tearing it down or stealing it from you. They're not burning your DVDs or comic books or whatever. And it isn't being made any less special just because some ass hat at the gym knows who Kacy Catanzaro is. I'm glad the ass hat (he's an ass hat for other reasons, people) knows who she is and what Ninja Warrior is and whatever. Because that means it'll stay on longer. And, hopefully, the videos and articles will get to more people--not fewer.

Hopefully girls who are interested in sports, or who maybe didn't know they could be interested in sports, or girls who'd already decided they were bad at sports will find videos of Kacy. And hopefully they'll be inspired. Hopefully what Kacy can do, and how popular this thing has become, will help open people's eyes about what women can do in sports. I hope it goes on for another million-bajillion years and I hope they have to rock climb and play freaking pareses squares at the end of that future course.

Anyway, I caught myself being really lame and I feel bad about it. I want to be a good geek and not part of the problem. So, here's that video. Show it to every single person you know.


  1. I have that reaction too frequently for my own comfort. I do the same thing--tell myself I'm being a jerk and then correct it. :)


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