This past summer I was casted to appear on a new series called THE SELECTION.
So my friend sends me this casting notice through Facebook and it looked perfect for me. I wish I saved it. I don’t remember exactly what it said but something about having what it takes to endure special forces type training. It got my attention right away. It was a chance to prove to myself that I was stronger than my past. I never applied for any TV show or even thought it might be something I wanted to do but I was having a bad day at work so I started filling out the application, hit send and went back to my tedious job. The next night I was reading my daughter a bedtime story and the phone rang. It was someone from the production company who wanted to talk to me, I thought HOLY SHIT!!!! I was shocked I got a call. From then on everything happened so incredibly fast, too fast for me to think. I just kept doing whatever they asked never thinking I would progress past the next step. I started relentlessly training. I had no clue what I was training for so I did everything. At the time I was working as West Point United States Military Academy. My closest friend was an Army Ranger and my lifting partner was a Lieutenant Colonel so I did most of everything they said to do. I trained with no sleep, I trained without eating, I did land navigation, map reading, compass reading, relentless swimming, underwater breath holding. I practiced being cold, I practiced being hot, I practiced being calm (never got that down). I did countless pull ups, push ups, sit ups and ran until I almost passed out I even jumped out of a friggin helicopter the day before I left for the show. I trained so much I barely had time to think about what I was doing. Next thing I know I am on a plane to California thinking: Am I really doing this? I am about to go somewhere, where I don’t know what I am doing and I don’t know anyone and I am just going? I am seriously crazy, who does this?
Regardless, I was really excited. Paranoia set in on the plane, there was so much secrecy involved in the process. I remember looking around trying to figure out who could be potential competitors. When I finally got to the hotel there they were, the most motley crew of athletes I had ever seen and here was me, a 40 year old Mom from New York. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? my brain was screaming at me. I wanted to run screaming for the hills but I couldn’t. I WAS HALFWAY ACROSS THE FRIGGIN COUNTRY! GOOD JOB JESS!!! Then I wasn’t sure if I was more scared of these people or being on the show. There were 40 of us and 30 were being selected (no pun intended) to appear on the show. At first I kept to myself and just studied and trained but, after a couple days I relaxed and got to talking to these crazy people. I couldn’t believe their backgrounds. There were American Ninja warriors, every flavor of obstacle course racers, football players, basketball players, powerlifters, cross fitters, bodybuilders, swimmers, ultra marathon-ers, (I didn’t even know what that was – they run 100 mile marathons). My brain started screaming, 100 MILE RACES!!!! DID YOU HEAR THAT JESSIKA? THAT DUDE JUST SAID HE RAN 100 MILE MARATHONS, GET OUT NOW YOU ARE SOOOOOOO OUT OF YOUR LEAGUE! But I just smiled and acted like I knew what the hell was happening.
Fast forward to the night when we are selected (again, no pun intended) to either go on the show or go home. At that point I was so terrified of the instructors that I met during the PT test I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go or not. There we all were lined up waiting to find out our future. At that point many of us were questioning whether or not we even wanted to proceed. I stood there waiting and as the line got shorter and shorter I knew I was about to find out if I was going. I was sure they wouldn’t pick me, I am a 40 year old Mom. Oh God here it comes…..I GOT SELECTED!!!! GOD Jesus take the wheel……here goes nothing. I muster up every nerve I have and get in the van with my insane athlete posse and off we head to camp. Nobody knew whether to be excited or scared. All I knew was I had no idea what was about to happen and it was completely out of my control.
To be continued…..