October 26, 2014

Elyria
Mostly clear
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A one-time ‘American Gladiators’ hopeful


NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Fifteen years ago, Brian Chulik competed for a spot on the “American Gladiators” Live Tour.

The North Ridgeville resident finished sixth and became an alternate, but he never gave up his dream of becoming a gladiator.

This year, the 39-year-old middle school science teacher at Rocky River Middle School tried out again. He didn’t make the cut to appear on the show, which NBC is resurrecting Jan. 6, but he’s glad he made the effort.

“I want to be the type of person who motivates others to achieve more than they think they could. So many athletes today fall into the trap of using illegal drugs/steroids to ‘win at all costs,’ yet they fail to see the example that it sets for kids,” Chulik said. “They don’t realize how their individual goals are hurting kids who look up to them. I am far from perfect and learning every day, but I want to be ‘one of the good guys’ and set a good example.”

At age 24, Chulik got into a car with his father, Charles, and friend, Chris Jackson, of Elyria. Their destination was the try-outs for the “American Gladiators” Live Tour, which were being held in Cleveland.

The show’s producers, Chulik said, would often tour the country to look for competitors through qualifying feats of strength, agility and quickness.

“I remember my father saying that we should not even go because we had no chance whatsoever. Chris finished first and I finished sixth out of more than 500 people, including some ex-professional athletes,” Chulik said.

In order to maintain his physique  as a bodybuilder, Chulik, a former staff member at the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Home, works out as often as he can either at home or at a local fitness center.

“It is my hope that people see that exercise can be a tremendous tool in staying in good health and maintaining an excellent quality of life,” he said. “I am a former nationally certified trainer. I still have a part-time business at the North Ridge Racquet Club in North Ridgeville, but do it on a limited basis since teaching is my priority.”

Staying positive is something that’s important to Chulik, who self-published a book, “Brian’s World: Personal Perspectives and Insights from the Mind of an Ordinary Everyday Philosopher” in 2006.

The book explains some of the tough times Chulik has lived through — including his mother’s death at the age of 44 and when he suffered a spinal injury after colliding with another player during a softball game in 2002.

“Sometimes, it is only through tough things that we take big steps in our growth as individuals. I guess it is human nature to appreciate things only after some sort of tragedy happens,” Chulik said. “I think that as people we don’t always have to be the best in whatever we do. Rather, we should continue to do what we can each and every day to make ourselves better while helping others along the way,” Chulik said.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7155 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com.