Jessica Lee Ebert is a regional finalist for American Ninja Warriors
For more than a decade, Jessica Lee Ebert had dedicated nearly every waking hour of every day to her family and her career.
A native of Honesdale, she attended Wayne Highlands, graduated in 2002, married her high school school sweetheart, became a mom and threw herself into work at Bold Gold Media.
All in all, it was a pretty idyllic existence. And, while the good days far outnumbered the bad, Jess grew restless. She knew there was something missing, but couldn't quite put her finger on what that might be.
“I just wanted to do something for myself,” she said. “After having three children, I wanted to get my body back. I wanted to feel strong and healthy again.
“That's kind of where it all began...”
Jess laid the groundwork for what would become the biggest adventure of her life (so far!) during childhood and adolescence.
She took gymnastics classes at the Wayne County YMCA, which paid big dividends when she became captain of the football and wrestling cheerleading squads during her high school years.
Following graduation, though, the focus of her life necessarily changed. After all, she had a family and a career to consider.
She's a Ninja!
Jessica has been a fan of the NBC series “American Ninja Warriors” for quite some time now.
For those who may not have seen it, “American Ninja Warriors” is a weekly competition features hundreds of contestants.
The gist of the show is that each competitor tries to complete an extremely difficult obstacle course.
As each episode progresses, these courses become more and more challenging, the result being that few if any of the contestants make it through to the end.
In fact, as of this writing only two entrants have ever completed the entire range of courses and achieved “Total Victory.”
Jessica became hooked, watching with increasing fascination until one night she turned to her husband and said: “I can do that.”
Jeremy Ebert, who was an outstanding wide receiver in high school and college, quickly agreed.
“He told me to go for it,” Jess said.
And so, with Jeremy's wholehearted support, she began planning her quest to become an American Ninja Warrior.
Jessica resolved to try and make her dream come true a little less than seven months ago.
She attended her first CrossFit class on September 10 and has been going gangbusters ever since.
“I really want to thank my coaches for all their support,” Jess said.
“Ellie, Ashley and Dusty have given me so much support. They helped me believe in myself and really bolstered by confidence. I wouldn't be where I am right now without them.”
She's quick to point out that training five, six and sometimes seven days a week can be a lonely process. However, the friends she's made along the way have helped her tremendously.
“Crossfit is so much more than just something I do to get in shape,” Jess said.
“The people at CrossFit Honesdale at the Garage have become like a family to me. I can't even begin to tell you how important the hours I spend there with them means to me.
“The camaraderie and togetherness are amazing. I'm a definitely a better mom, a better friend, a better wife and a better person because of them.”
On Her Way
According to Jessica, the biggest initial challenge she faced was just getting American Ninja Warrior producers to notice her.
The show's organizers divided the country up into six regions. Jessica is part of the Northeast Region, which is headquartered in the city of Cleveland.
Each potential competitor was required to submit a video highlighting their physical fitness, athleticism and overall qualifications.
“There were more than 77,000 submissions just in my region,” she said. “It really is like a needle in a haystack. You have to find a way to stand out.”
Of those 77,000 videos, only 100 were picked to make the trip to Cleveland May 7-9. Incredibly and happily, Jess was among those chosen.
“It was amazing!” she said with a laugh. “I was so happy. I wanted to tell everyone. I couldn't believe it. That was a really, really good day!”
Jess will make the journey to Cleveland that first week in May. Once there, she'll begin the competition in earnest.
The ultimate goal is to survive and advance to the National Finals, which will be held in Las Vegas in late June.
Jessica and Jeremy Ebert have been together for 11 years now.
They are the proud parents of three beautiful children: Shane (11), Jackson (3) and Killian (1).
She is the daughter of Barbara & Thomas Theobald, Elvin Schwab & Joy Schwab.
“My entire family has been so incredibly supportive of me,” Jess said. “They're always there when I need help. I can't thank them enough!”
She's also genuinely grateful to her friends, co-workers and bosses at Bold Gold Media.
“They're been wonderful,” Jess said. “They supported me the whole way and I'm very grateful.”