Erie's Lady Ninjas
There's a group of women in Erie who meet at least twice a week to have some fun. It's nothing like a book club or a coffee klatch. These women are flying through the air, climbing up walls, and balancing themselves on boards and steps.
The women take ninja classes at Sinai Sports on West 15th Street in Millcreek. Monica Dvoranchik founded Sinai Sports with her husband five years ago.
"My husband is not from Erie,” says Monica. “He was trying to find a way to become part of the community and he said, 'How about we start a business?' My children right away said, 'An American Ninja Warrior Gym!”
Monica and her family are longtime fans of the television show American Ninja Warrior. On that show, athletes from across the country compete against each other on specially designed obstacle courses that test their agility, strength, and speed. Monica says Sinai Sports is the only gym in the Erie area that offers ninja training.
"It's fun. You don't even know you're working out. You're with a good group of supportive people and you're trying to conquer obstacles. Before you know it, you have muscles,” she said.
I visited a Wednesday morning Lady Ninja class. On that day, the Sinai Sports obstacle course had the athletes moving through the air by grabbing rings. Also, they worked their way across the floor balancing on thin rails and pipes, and squishy steps. After that, there's a ramp to climb.
Carlie Gade has been involved in ninja training for the past three years. She remembers her first day on the obstacle course.
"It was exciting and I felt empowered by doing it. I mean, you're doing things you didn't think you could do,” she said.
Sarah Beaver has been attending the Lady Ninja classes since September. She comes to the gym twice a week. At first, she couldn't even hang from a ring. Now, she goes from one ring to another.
"Which is quite exciting. Now, I'm shooting for a third ring,” she says.
Sarah loves the classes so much, she invited her mom, Christine, to join. It took some urging.
"I said, 'Maybe if I was 10 years younger.' That was my first response,” says Christine.
Christine did show up for the class. On her first day, she was climbing up a net and running up a ramp. Monica says no one should be intimidated.
"Because the community here, the Ninja community, is very supporting. We accept all ages and all abilities. and we meet you where you're at. If you come in and you can't hang from a bar, we're going to cheer for you when you hang from that bar,” she says.
Sinai Sports sometimes changes its obstacle course to adapt to the obstacles shown on the television show. The gym also offers ninja classes for children. To learn more about all the classes, log on to sinaisportserie.com.