Athletes

The Zimmerman Family Project – Part 1

The last time Sandy was featured it was all about Sandy!  And now, it’s a family affair.  So many happenings and the ENTIRE family is involved.  This is the first segment of several allowing us to get to know the Zimmerman family a whole lot better.

Since our last article 1 ½ years ago what’s been going on professionally and personally?

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I’m currently in my 19th year teaching elementary Physical Education.  I have been so lucky to be teaching in a district and school that is supportive and equally excited about my ANW journey.  I have been able to do obstacles with my students in PE class and to no surprise it immediately became one of my most popular units.  As a result, I’ve been able to add obstacle course training as an after-school sport.  After-school obstacle course training filled up immediately to capacity at 30 students so I added a second session to meet the demand which also filled.  It’s so exciting to see the enthusiasm and passion our Spokane area youth have for the sport!  My dream and vision for the future of this sport is to see obstacle course training offered in schools around the country like you see with more traditional sports like basketball, football, baseball…  and students have the opportunity to compete against other schools.  As a result, I’ve been doing presentations for teachers and coaches who work with kids around the state teaching ways to break down obstacles for beginners as well as progression on obstacles, how to build obstacles, proper spotting, and safety considerations.  I absolutely LOVE this sport and despite all the ups and downs and injuries this last year I have grown so much physically, mentally and emotionally and it has been such a blast to share this sport with others!

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Shortly after filming in LA for season 9 of American Ninja Warrior I was demonstrating the trapeze for one of my classes and when I landed my right knee exploded.  As a result, I completely ruptured my patellar tendon and ACL, had a detached meniscus and a partial tear of the MCL.  The injury required multiple surgeries to fix and long, painful rehab.  To say the least there were some dark days but I made it through.  In the midst of all this something incredible happened though.  Now up until this point the kids and I had been all on board with all the ninja stuff but my husband Charlie was lukewarm at best.  What we all didn’t know though was that while we were all at school Charlie was getting on obstacles and was getting pretty good.  Every once in a while, he’d call me over to watch him complete some obstacle I had no idea he could even do.  This would continue with the salmon ladder, peg board, various laches and other obstacles and I started calling him “The Closet Ninja”.  I had qualified for UNAA regionals but with the injury couldn’t compete.  I asked Charlie to compete in my honor and he did amazing!  Charlie finally caught the ninja bug!  Now we’ve all been traveling around making fun family trips out of competing in various ninja competitions all around the country.  We spend hours as a family designing and building obstacles, playing on obstacles, helping with charities and fundraisers, running ninja classes and competitions, doing special community events and making our own courses.  It has been such a fun and incredibly bonding experience for the whole family!

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I talked Charlie in to applying for ANW this year and they absolutely LOVED the idea of him carrying the torch for me and training without us knowing and getting pretty good at it.  As a result, Charlie got the call! He ran the course in LA for season 10 of ANW.  Of course, we can’t say how he did until it airs in June but it was a blast and I’m so, so proud of him!!

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