By Alan Pergament
This is a blog about two athletic guys named Patrick originally from South Buffalo and their television appearances.
One is an international star, the other expects to get his 15 minutes of fame in nine or 10 days.
Let’s start with the lesser-known athlete, Patrick Hall, who now lives in Orchard Park.
The owner of Hybrid Fitness on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, Hall has his 7-year-old daughter and his clients to thank for his expected appearance on an upcoming episode of NBC's "American Ninja Warrior."
To be honest, the chance that I'd watch "Ninja" is about equal to the chance that I’d powerlift 200 pounds at a fitness factory or do 100 sit-ups a day.
But if you watched the Stanley Cup playoffs, you undoubtedly saw several of NBC’s promotions for the series, which has a two-hour premiere Sunday on cable’s G4 channel and at 8 p.m. Monday on the broadcast network.
The show features contestants who try to solve an obstacle course that is more difficult than watching the movie "World War Z" without laughing at some of the incredible in-flight predicaments that Brad Pitt survives.
Sorry if telling you that Pitt survives is considered a spoiler. I figured that was a no-brainer.
But back to Hall and "Ninja," which Hall said started 15 years ago in Japan.
In a telephone interview, Hall, 36, said he competed in the Baltimore regional in April after qualifying with the help of an awesome audition tape that has had more than 13,000 hits on You Tube.
His clients at Hybrid Fitness persuaded the 5-10, 178-pound fitness trainer to enter and the show's producers were impressed by the human interest story that he told in his audition tape.
"I used to do steroids," the Timon graduate said of his days as a bodybuilder. "My whole self-identity used to be about my physical appearance. I lost touch with what is really important. When my seven-year-old daughter was born, she made me rethink things and I changed the way I work and the way I
train my clients. I'm focused on health and conditioning and less focused on aesthetics."
"All my clients said 'You should try out for the show,' " added Hall.
So he tried out for the show and qualified. He can't say how he did. There are no guarantees but he expects the episode he is in to air July 7, on cable and the following day on NBC.
"It is the most physical test I’ve ever put myself through," Hall said of the course designed to wipe people out. “It was remarkable. It was a blast.”
Speaking of a blast, that best describes the past week for Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawk star who was named the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs after his team defeated Boston for the title in game six on Monday night.
Besides getting his trophy, the South Buffalo legend was awarded an appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Wednesday night.
In the process, Kane illustrated how much he has grown in front of the cameras as well as on the ice. During Letterman's fawning interview, Kane appeared relaxed, respectful, classy and funny. I'm sure he made his hometown proud when he mentioned he took the Stanley Cup to Buffalo and a Jimmy Buffett concert when the Blackhawks won it in 2010.
He got a laugh without even trying after telling Letterman that he should see the locker room after games to see the toll the physical play has on players.
"From ice bags to IVs to guys getting shot up," said Kane. "It's quite a scene."
I doubt the NHL loved that line, but it got an audience laugh that surprised Kane.
Then Kane was part of a scene orchestrated by Letterman. He was sent outside the show’s theater with the Stanley Cup, posed for the show's camera and was hit by a water spray that was part of a recurring gag that night.
Kane took it all in stride as his hair and his suit got wet. Funny stuff.
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