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My first bouldering comp!

June 4, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for sappy sports moments.  I am not ashamed to admit that watching Rudy or Cool Runnings is usually enough to send a few crocodile tears down my cheeks.  This article made me cry yesterday.  The thing I am most looking forward to about the World Cup this summer (besides watching the US beat England!) is the inevitable montage at the end, wherein some editing crew will show all of the joys and heartbreaks of competition, most likely set to some crappy U2 song… and I will love it!  Yesterday I had a chance to live out my own sports montage.  Or at least I tried to…

I decided to enter a bouldering competition yesterday at Climb Nashville to have a little fun and see how my bouldering had improved over the last 5 months.  I didn’t have huge expectations for myself, but I set the modest goal of not coming in last place. One of the great things I found out about bouldering competitions is that there is a pretty supportive vibe from all of the climbers.  You have guys cranking on some really hard problem right next to a climber like myself, and everyone is trying to help each other by offering tips and yelling encouragement.  It’s not so much a competition as much as it is just a bunch of people having a good time and trying to climb as hard as they can.

So, where does my slow-clapping moment come in?  After close to 2.5 hours of climbing, I had only managed to climb 4 boulder problems out of 5 that could be counted towards my score.  With half an hour left in the comp, I needed to climb one more problem to stay out of last place.  I get on the problem, and the first few moves felt really good.  Nothing too hard.  This is going to be a piece of cake.  I put a few more moves together, inch my way a little higher, and all of a sudden I find myself face to face with that same damn yellow smiley face that tried to take me down last week.  That’s right, this time he was back in the form of the last handhold before the top of the problem.  All that was left for me was to pull myself up from his yellow, plasticky forehead and achieve my goal of unabashed mediocrity!  Much easier said than done.  Eventually, the PA system came on with the announcement that the comp would be over in 3 minutes.  This was it…  Time for me to go out there and win one for the Gipper!  Time to remember the Titans!  Time to prove once and for all that Ducks fly together!  I start climbing, and in a few seconds find myself staring deep into the eyes of a jaundiced lunatic.  I stop for a second, set my feet, take a breath, and get ready to throw my last move through the burning pain in my forearms.  I hear a guy below me say “Come on man!”  I think to myself, Is this the man who will start my slow clap?, and I throw as hard as a can.  Unfortunately, what came next were some really pitiful flailing and a flawless demonstration of the effects of gravity on a 195-pound male.

Ok, so I came in last place.  But all was not lost.  I had a great time and climbed as well as I could possibly have climbed.  And remember, Rocky lost in the first movie.  There is another comp in a month, and I say bring on the Russian!  

In absence of actual pics from the comp, just pretend I looked like this...

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