Dreams Come True at the Arnold
What an epic adventure, filled with a hellish journey, adrenaline rushes and the realization that dreams come true. This is the story of how I got to Columbus, Ohio to commentate with Fawnia Dietrich on the largest pole dance live stream to date on BodyBuilding.com. It began with a phone call from Lindsey Kimura. She asked me, “A.m., do you want to commentate on BodyBuilding.com’s live stream of the Pole Championship Series at the Arnold Sports Festival and if so, are you available?” and I’m like “I mean… Yes! Yes, of course!” She tells me she has to ask them first, so keep it on the DL and she will get back to me in a few days. You know when something amazing happens in your life and you remember when and where you were when it happened? Well I was on my way to the subway for that call. I stood outside the entrance in the freezing cold to finish that call. Once we hung up, I decided that I already had the job. That they were going to say yes. I sat on the subway on the edge of my seat as erect as can be. I zoned out and imagined myself there and day dreamed about it for 20 minutes straight, just like that. A few days later Lindsey called me… they said yes! But I already knew that. 😉 Jump to the day I’m scheduled to leave. That day it was snowing outside in NYC, heavily. But it was just snow, no winds, no real storm. I checked my flight status – On Time. I left at 11:00 a.m., went outside and got a cab. When we reached the airport there were about 10 ambulances, firetrucks and cop cars every where. I could over hear people talking “ a plane skidded off the runway.” Turns out at 11:00 a.m., a plane landing at La Guardia airport went skidding off the runway and almost went into the water. The news was there, the airport was chaotic and ALL flights from LGA and even JFK had been cancelled for the day! The next flight was a 6:00 am the next day. Wanting to avoid the cost of a cab ride to and from the airport, and also realizing I would have to be up at 3:30 a.m. to catch a 6:00 a.m., I figured “I’ll stay the night in the airport.” I make a facebook post, a friend saw it and invited me to her house near the airport for the hours I had to kill. So I stood in the taxi line for an hour and fifteen minutes. By the end, I think the beginning stages of hypothermia was setting int. Finally in a cab, I was headed to her place where it’s warm and comfortable and a cheap cab ride away. Such a life saver. I got up at 3:30 a.m. and on the way to the airport find that the flight is delayed six hours! This was Friday, the night of the live stream. The night of my dreams coming true! So, okay, Columbus isn’t that far away. I will still get in with a few hours to spare if it’s not too long of a flight. So I asked, what time does this flight get in? And she said 8:30 p.m., gets in late due to the connection in Detroit. “Oh no, that can’t happen. I need to be on camera at 8:45 p.m.” Very kindly, she got me the last seat on an 11:00 a.m. direct flight but says, there is no guarantee it will leave on time. Right then I remembered, “I have a friend driving to Columbus today”. It’s only 4:30 a.m. at this point, maybe she hasn’t left. So I contact her, and made the decision to leave the airport to meet up with her at Penn Station as she said “Yes, we can fit you in the car and will get there in the afternoon. We are taking a train to Trenton to meet up with my husband and drive from there. Train leaves at 5:30 a.m.” Next step was to run outside to a cab, run through snow covered pavement, while pulling my suitcase behind me. My lungs were burning from the freezing cold air. My boots were slipping in the slushy snow, slowly seeping water onto my socks. I reached the cab and the driver kindly kicks out his current passengers as he can see that I’m frantic. We start driving and I buy a train ticket on the way. But the 5:30 a.m. train was cancelled, so we had a get on the 6:10 a.m. instead. Almost at Penn Station and she calls me, “I was wrong, we rented a very small car, you won’t be able to fit!” F*#k!!!!!!! That was when I finally start crying. Because now I had to go back to the airport and see if they could still give me the last seat on that 11:00 a.m. direct flight. Of course when I get there, she said no, they gave it away already. My heart sank and there was a pit in my stomach. I started to think I wasn’t going to make it on time. Maybe I should give up? All of a sudden, leaving from JFK was an option. I would like to remind you, at this point, it is only 5:45 a.m. on Friday. They tell me, “You can get the 9:00 a.m. from JFK, but you will have to fly stand by. But you have a guaranteed seat on the 2:55 p.m. that gets you in at 5:00 p.m. to Columbus.” So next I find myself on a shuttle between airports (Where later I realized I accidentally left my Beats by Dre Headphones behind). Get there, wait around for fours hours as this flight was delayed an hour. I figured, if I had to wait for the later flight, I would shave my legs in the bathroom at the airport. I could do my make up in the taxi ride to the hotel. Whatever, I will make it work! At the very last minute, Hazaaaah! They had a seat for me on the morning flight! As I walked down the jet way, I was literally yelling, “Yes! Oh my God, Yes!!!! Finally!” Let’s cut to – I’m there, at the hotel. I have plenty of time to rest, plenty of time to shave my legs in the shower like a normal person. Fawnia and I were back stage of the Arnold Sports Festival’s main stage where we are up close and personal to amazing, transformed human beings. Their bodies were magnificent, like pieces of well crafted art as they were preparing to compete or had just finished with medals around their necks. Arnold was walking around, being interviewed and taking selfies with hot girls. (To learn more about what the Arnold Sports Festival is, click here.) We went on camera to introduce the Pole Championship Series (PCS) and Pole Dancing. We then sat in a room with sound equipment and headphones on and talk about the one thing we love most in this world… pole. I thought about Irmingard Mayer the whole time. She said to me several weeks before I went “You need to be on point, meet people, be prepared and do what you do best.” I was so grateful for that small pep talk and it stayed with me the whole weekend. I was so grateful that I made it there. There were so many cameras, such a large team of people all working on the filming and the streaming. It was inspiring to me to keep on doing what I’m doing with United Pole Artists and UPA.tv. The two days after that, I had the opportunity to emcee the performances on the convention concourse. We had to educate the audience on what they were seeing and direct them on how to learn more, how to try pole dancing. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages. We had all types of people watching the demos on the concourse, kids, men, women, other sports competitors, all kinds. There were about 200 people watching the demos at one time. It was such an incredible experience seeing pole dancing be a part of such a large sports festival. This year’s Arnold brought 200,000 spectators over the weekend. I got to sit up front and watch the Strong Man contest, the Bikini Fit Model Contest and of course my favorite, the Body Building contest, which is the main event. I screamed and yelled for them the same way I would if it was pole dancing. We then sat and listened as Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a speech on his event. How he and his partner have been putting it on for over 20 years and he’s never missed a single one of them in Ohio. It was motivating, inspiring, a night to remember for ages. I wanted to tell this story for a few reasons. One, the journey out there was like a nightmare. The only good parts of my journey was staying at my friend’s house for those several hours while waiting out the storm and being able to have a crazy story. The other reason is for this… It was hard to get there, it was like I was being tested. How bad do you want it? How much will you put up with? It taught me to never stop, never give up, no matter how hard things get. I don’t know about you, but things can get difficult sometimes and there are days that “quitting” crosses the mind. But if you push through, if you keep going when it’s the darkest, the light on the other side is so bright it will bring tears to your eyes. They say things happen for a reason. I believe that snow came pouring out of the sky for a reason, the plane skidded off the runway and my flight got cancelled to teach me a lesson in life. To be grateful, to keep trying and to follow my dreams forever. I hope this story can and will help someone, even if it’s just one person. We all need some motivation at times. We all need to be reminded of what’s important. For me, in this life, what’s important is maintaining my happiness by doing what I love. So there it is. That’s all there is. Love for my work, my friends and family, my experiences in life and for myself. Thank you to pole dancing for giving me this life and all of you in it. Facebook.com/AmDaviesUPA www.mfeo.tv/amdtv A very special thank you to Lindsey Kimura, one of the founders of Pole Championship Series, for inviting me to such a wonderful event.