Andrew Marr applied chalk to his hands and shook off the excess by running his fingers through his hair. With finesse, he jumped from a small trampoline and made a small leap, grabbing a small sphere swinging from the ceiling of his parents’ garage in Oakville. He moved his way across the garage, grabbing on to two more spheres, each increasing in size.
The obstacle — Cannonball Alley — is one of many that the sixth-grader from Queen of All Saints School has mastered as a ninja warrior competitor. Andrew will make his television debut, competing in the second season of “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” on Universal Kids TV. On the show, 9-to-14-year-olds in different age groups go head-to-head to see who can finish an obstacle course the fastest.
Obstacle course competitions have been a “good experience, because it’s pushed me, and further motivates me,” Andrew said. It’s also encouraged another interest of his: building. He began piecing together his own obstacles in his basement as a second-grader, eventually moving his work to the garage. The next step is to build a backyard course featuring 12-foot-high posts and about a dozen obstacles. He’s used mostly his own money to purchase tools, equipment and other supplies to build obstacles.
“I’m going to aim the course toward speed,” he said of his latest project. “That’s all American Ninja Warrior Junior is — it’s side-by-side races on a course.”
Andrew has played CYC sports, including baseball, soccer and basketball, but ninja warrior competitions is what he’s focused on now. “I like that it’s a solo sport,” he said. “It’s like any other sport, where you try to improve your skills.” He’s since participated in about a dozen and a half other ninja warrior competitions in St. Louis and around the region.
During practice, he sometimes stops to reflect and talk to God, especially if it’s a challenging technique or obstacle. “If I’m in a mad state, or if I’m angry about something that happened, I’ll just sit there in silence and think about it,” he said. “Normally this happens when I’m practicing in my garage.”
Andrew’s interest started with American Ninja Warrior, the adult version of the show. He began occasionally visiting a gym in St. Charles, and now practices with the elite team at Ultimate Ninjas in Chesterfield at least twice a week. He competed a few times in St. Louis before making it to the show, said his mother, Jen Marr.
He was among 140 kids chosen out 11,000 applicants to compete in the second season. Andrew and his mom and two siblings traveled to Los Angeles in July for taping. There, he got to meet several adult ninja warrior competitors who were there as mentors. He also enjoyed meeting kids across the United States.
“I met a lot of new people from different backgrounds and different religions,” he said, including one other competitor from St. Louis, Jeff Baumgarten of Chesterfield.
“It was a good experience,” he said of being on the show. “It pushes me now. If I wasn’t on the show, I’d be training once a week, going to a competition maybe once a month. It’s motivated me. My next goal is to do a backflip.”
>> American Ninja Warrior Junior
Andrew Marr will be
featured on American Ninja Warrior Friday, March 27, at 5 p.m. St. Louis
time on Universal Kids. For channel information on tuning in locally,