In all his years, Brandon Mears has never hit a City Finals buzzer…until now.
The Towers of Power, Brandon Mears and Dan Polizzi, have been chasing buzzers on Ninja Warrior almost every year since Season Five. Although they have hit a combined 11 buzzers during their Ninja Warrior careers, neither had ever hit a City Finals buzzer…until this season in Cincinnati. After both Brandon and Dan hit buzzers, we had a chance to ask Brandon all about it.
Moving on to the Vegas National Finals together with Dan Polizzi:
“That was huge. Me and Dan had been trying forever, and it’s never been a thing of like, ‘Oh, we weren’t strong enough, or one guy was more.’ It was just these dumb mistakes we kept making. It was not good. And I’m like, ‘How many more years is this show going to allow us to keep doing these little silly mistakes?’ At some point they have to be like, ‘These guys are just never going to pull it off.’ But this year everything fell into place, and we really practiced on just making sure we take our time, where we’ve made silly mistakes in the past, just to get through. Even if it takes a couple more seconds, a little more energy, at least we’re getting past that obstacle and not making that silly mistake. That’s what we’ve really practiced on and drilled on. That’s what we put to the paper this year, and it really worked. We’re both super powerful. We always get down on ourselves thinking we’re not strong enough. But when we compare our workouts to what we were doing the year before, we’re always stepping it up. We’ve come so far with how much power we have.”
But it turns out that Dan wasn’t Brandon’s only positive influence on the course this year. There was another guy on his sideline, and Brandon didn’t want to let him down…
An emotional Brandon explained,
“I was kind of bummed out to not hit that (Cincinnati City Qualifier) buzzer…because I’ve always wanted my son (Ashton, age two) to see me hit the buzzer, not on TV, but in person… I played with cameras the first night. I really wanted him to see me. I wanted to interact with him.”
Moving on to City Finals with Ashton still on the sideline:
“I was feeling weird before I ran. I almost felt like I was going to fall on the first obstacle. I was trying to get those negative thoughts out of my head, because I’m very self-defeating a lot of times. Sometimes I just don’t believe in myself. I was always a very small kid when I was growing up. I never had a lot of self-confidence, and I felt that coming back before I ran. So I had to really push that out, and kind of realize that a lot of this is not so much physical for me as it is mental.
So once I was able to get my mental game, I got up on stage. I saw Ashton, saw my family there. And I was just like, ‘It’s go time.’ And once I got through the first obstacle, I’m like, ‘Well, you didn’t fall on the first obstacle, so now it’s time to go to work.’ And I went to work, and I didn’t even think about every obstacle too much. I just saw what was in front of me, and I just did the task at hand. And then next thing you know I was at the top of the Warped Wall. And then I was on the Salmon Ladder. And then I was on obstacle eight. And then I was on obstacle nine, literally on the second to last Spinball Wizard, and I’m like, ‘My fingers are peeling, but I’m not going to fall. I can’t, I’m right there.’ So I did one swing. I was going to release, and I realized the platform was too far. So I had to do one more back swing. Literally on my back swing, I felt every single finger peeling, and I felt every muscle fiber in my body just tense up. And I just did one final swing, and I was able just to hang on. When I did that, I got to the platform, and I don’t know if you’ll ever see it on camera or not, but I was almost in disbelief. I was like, ‘I’ve done it.’
Making it to the last obstacle, refusing to give up:
“I looked over and Ashton was crying. I was like, ‘This is it. I’m not going to fall now.’ I got on that Spider Climb, and I almost fell. I was exhausted. I’m just thinking to myself, ‘If you fall right now, you’ll never forgive yourself. So give it every bit of energy you have in your body.’ As I was climbing that Spider Climb, I could feel every muscle fiber just fatiguing at the same time. But I was just absolutely refusing to give up. I went to another place, and next thing you know, I was climbing on top of the platform and hitting the buzzer. I’ve never felt that kind of energy before.”
The reward at the end:
“I could see, even though I was so far up, I could just see Ashton still clapping and looking up. And he was in disbelief. He’s right at that age where these may be his first memories, and I want to be his superhero. I want to be that guy he looks up to. That was a really cool experience. Really, really cool. I’ll never forget that.”
Brandon will try to make some more memories when he takes on the National Finals next!