Pitt’s “Vampire Professor”
Even Pittsburgh native Brianne McLaughlin, a silver medalist in women’s hockey during the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic games, was anxious before her first bout with the course. Not used to competing without her hockey squad, McLaughlin trained with Steel City Parkour and said she planned on leaving the rest to the same instincts she uses on the ice.
“It’s just me out there. But like hockey, even though if you have nerves you get in the game, the second the puck drops, you just go and do it,” she said. “So I’m hoping I’m able to do that here, once I get on the first obstacle I’ll just calm down and make it through, I guess.”
If the scale of the obstacle course didn’t strike the rest of contestants’ nerves, then the backdrop of towering, industrial-looking Carrie Furnaces added an epic feel to the event. At more than 90 feet high, the furnaces loomed over the fan-filled bleachers and the rest of the “Ninja Warrior” setup.
Pitt alum Scott Carslaw, a former gymnast, said he suspects that the locale might even become the backdrop for the season finale. Although he entered “Ninja Warrior” through the walk-on process, waiting in line for more than a week to earn his shot at the course, Carslaw was thrilled to compete in front of the setting.
“I think that this is gonna be one of the best backdrops of the season,” he said. “The Carrie Furnaces are giving us such a unique background, no other city has given it.”
Brady expects to be back at Pitt as the professor of Vampire: Blood and Empire this fall, which will be his first time teaching the class since the show dubbed him the “Vampire Professor.”
For those planning on taking his course, Brady said he’s always been happy to discuss his ninja expertise with students, as long as it doesn’t interfere with academics.
“[Students] ask me about it, you know I try to tell them that I’ll be happy to talk about the TV show, maybe in office hours or something,” he said. “I don’t want it to compromise the integrity of the coursework.”