Stephen Graham Jumping into the Spotlight
Stephen Graham (he/him) is a freshman Exercise Science major and commuter student at Bridgewater State University, however, when he isn’t studying Graham is likely flying through the air like a superhero.
In the world of sports, basketball, soccer, and hockey don’t interest Graham, he is more inclined to performing superhuman feats like swinging from one bar to another 10 feet or more away from each other or running up 14 foot tall walls. Stephen Graham is a ninja. Ninja is an up and coming sport in the United States that stemmed from the show American Ninja Warrior. It involves obstacles of speed, strength, balance and skill.
“I do ninja because it is a great way to stay in fantastic shape, while also having a blast. The adrenaline rush I get from it compares to no other sport in my experiences,” says Graham.
Graham started doing ninja at a young age and has not stopped since. He started training at TA Fitness Weymouth and moved to the Plymouth branch when it opened in 2020. There he then began working and eventually coaching other young aspiring ninjas. “Ninja has changed my life by giving me something to always fall back on. When other parts of my life get very stressful, I always have ninja.”
Lucas Reale, (he/him) former BSU student and 5 times American Ninja Warrior Competitor, coaches Graham. Reale says “Stephen’s biggest growth has come from his confidence and ability to put everything together. He’s always been super capable athletically but now he’s really getting out there and performing at his best.” Reale is also a former BSU student and is excited to see how Graham continues to grow in the sport and continue to influence the community at TA Fitness; “Stephen has been a huge part of growing the gym. He has put in the time and effort to make sure both adults and kids have great experiences here. Whether it’s coaching classes or running open gyms Stephen is a huge part of our community here.”
Stephen Graham loves passing down his passion for the sport to the younger generations of ninjas. “Every year at finals I get to watch my kids, who put so much effort into this sport, and see all their hard work pay off,” says Graham.
Stephen wants to continue improving his sport, “I want to be the most smooth and consistent athlete I can be, and to place highly in high pressure competitions.” Even though season 8 of the World Ninja League just started he is already fulfilling his goals. At his first competition at Vitality Obstacle Fitness Stephen took first place completing 9 obstacles, while 2nd and 3rd place could only complete 6 of them.
Last year Graham took third at World Championships, it is one of his favorite memories of the sport. “This was when I truly felt like I was coming into my own character and being the athlete I work so hard to be,” says Graham about his performance there.
For him Bridgewater State University is the perfect school for him to be able to balance his love of the sport of ninja and continue to succeed academically. “I balance school and ninja by disciplining myself to get all my school work done, even if I have to wake up early in the morning, because then I get to do what I love, which is ninja.”
Keep an eye out for Stephen Graham, he may very well be the next American Ninja Warrior!