Category: climbing

My neck hurts like hell. Thanks Mom!

Seriously folks. My neck really hurts.

I didn’t sleep wrong or hurt it doing some weird kind of head-bob dance move. I don’t dance.

Nope. I hurt it looking up. Granted, I was looking up for several hours. I was not at an air show. I was at a climbing gym.

We have been trying to find something physical that will spark some passion for my oldest daughter. It hasn’t been easy. Soccer, gymnastics, dance, tennis, soccer again…. we tried just about everything that is open to a suburban middle-class family. I mean we tried everything!

Then she asked to have her birthday at a climbing gym. Or maybe my wife suggested it, and my daughter agreed. The spark was immediate. Her friends had fun, but she took it personally. Each route was a challenge.

For Christmas I “gave” her 5 trips to the climbing gym. We would have gone anyway, but making it a gift put a little bit of a shine on it. It also allowed us to buy one less gift.

Since she only weighs 50 pounds she can’t belay my 195# frame, so all of our time at the climbing gym is dedicated to her doing the climbing. I don’t mean an hour or two. I mean 4-5 solid hours of me holding the rope and looking up. It’s hell on my neck, and she refuses to come down until she is 50′ up at the end of the route.

I wish I could count the hours that my mother spent, freezing in the ocean driven fog and mist, in the stands of the Little League field where I played for years and years or the hours spent making sure dinner was ready before driving me to practice at one of many fields. I will never be able to count the hours she invested in my life.

Thanks Mom. Thank you very much.

I watched my daughter fail – repeatedly – this weekend. Most inspiring thing I’ve seen in a long time

Local climbing gym. Oldest is really getting into climbing. We all start with the same fear, “I can’t fall because I will die.” Falling is scary, really scary. Now she has gotten to the point where falling is nothing. Of course she hates it when she misses a hold, but she is not afraid to fall and be caught by the rope she knows will be there.

2+ hours in, and I ask her what route she wants to climb. She takes me to a really difficult area. It’s not a kid friendly route, but she wants to give it a go. She struggles.

Shocker! She even asks for advice. After learning how to make a dynamic move  – and using 2 such moves she gets to about 10′. She fails.

This is a kid who won’t start a 4 sentence book review until she has “the perfect opening sentence” and will wait for hours until she gets it. She fears failure.

But she swings back to the wall to try again and again. She asks me to lower her so she can try a different tactic. What? Lose precious height that has been gained? Not this child. Yes, this child.

She tries again and again and again, falling every time. Finally I lower her down.

She did not succeed. She did not get above 10′ on this route.

But she is smiling. And laughing. And taking a break, “so we can try that one again.”

I love watching her fail.

and yet not fail at all….