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Allyssa Beird reflects on the focus it takes to reach long term goals

In a world of instant gratification, she’s playing the long game.

Allyssa Beird’s calm and rational perspectives on American Ninja Warrior never cease to amaze us. This is the woman, who, after clearing Stage One of the National Finals, becoming only the second woman in history to do so, coolly looked at the camera and said, “Well that’s what I came here to do.”

Her attitude didn’t change for her season 11 return in Baltimore. Coming off a strong season 10, with a very short run in the National Finals, Allyssa took some time off from training, traveled, and returned refreshed. Her run at the Baltimore Qualifiers didn’t get her to the buzzer, but it got her darn close, almost completing Crank It Up.

Allyssa spoke with us about what it’s like to return with a renewed focus on her goals and how American Ninja Warrior helps teach an important lesson to her fifth grade students.

“Last year was actually my best year so far in terms of City Qualifiers and City Finals and, unfortunately, ended with my least successful Vegas run. But I think every year, I’ve been able to pull a different piece of the puzzle together. So I have all the pieces now, it just has to come together in one season.”

“I think it’s something that kind of comes and goes in waves, where some days it’s like, ‘Well, I fell on obstacle one, how am I not going to do that this year?’ And it’s a little bit, not scary, but like, ‘What if it happens again?’ And then, ‘I’m better than obstacle one, right?’ So sometimes it can sow some seeds of doubt I think. But I think mostly being a Ninja, anything can happen. So one false step, and the season’s over. And just realizing that everything that we trained for all year is to prepare us for all of the obstacles.”

“This season is really just making sure that I am focused on a couple of the goals that I have been wanting to accomplish the last couple seasons, specifically a City Finals buzzer would be amazing. That’s been on my mind for a while now. And obviously breaking into Stage Three in Vegas would be awesome.”

“My goal is always ... Let me back up for a second. I ran cross country in middle and high school, and every single race that I competed in, in those years, I PR-ed, so my time was better every time. So that’s definitely something that I’m going for on the courses here. So I think for City Qualifiers and Finals, I think I’ve done that so far pretty well. So I think just continuing that and showing that progress sometimes is slow, but continual, and headed in the right direction.”

“I think (Ninja Warrior) it’s become sort of a term where you have ... you know, kids look up to basketball players and the NBA, pro sports. So I think it’s sort of taken on its own realm of that. So there’s a sense of pride in knowing that, as a Ninja, I can inspire others to get active and try new things and overcome obstacles.

I think in trying to inspire my students where, we live in a world that is very instantaneous in terms of gratification, and things come to us very quickly, technology’s great, but when we’re working hard towards something in big goals, things don’t come quickly. So being able to show them that, you train for a year for this one shot, sometimes it goes the way you planned, sometimes it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean you stop training, regardless of how it ends.”

“When I cleared Stage One (in season nine), I think I expected to feel more of this overwhelming emotion, and it was just like, ‘Huh, there we go.’ So I don’t really ever anticipate I guess a specific emotion, but I think just really focusing obstacle by obstacle, making sure I’m visualizing things, and I know that I can hit a City Finals buzzer, it just hasn’t happened yet. So hopefully that’ll be this season.”

Allyssa did break into the top 30 for the night, solidifying her return in a few weeks for the Baltimore City Finals.