It’s late and I’m sitting inside of a clubhouse filled with 46 kids and only 1 other adult. There’s so much going through my mind that I’m unsure where to start this blog post or where to take it. I’m hoping that something will just flow. It may or may not be about climbing…this is your forewarning. There’s been a lot going on since my last post in April. I’m kicking myself in the butt for waiting this long to write because I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who only writes a couple times a year. I want to be consistent with my entries. At the same time, there’s been a ton going on in my life and it’s difficult to keep up with everything. Sometimes certain things need to be put on hold. But alas, I’m back.
I’m currently in Atlanta coaching the pre-youth nationals training camp. This is my second year in a row traveling to Atlanta to help 40+ kids prepare for the SCS Youth National Championships. It’s a pleasure to be here although it’s tough work. I see the dedication these kids have, all of them, from 8 years old to 18 years old. They come from different backgrounds, from all over the country; they have different climbing styles, likes/dislikes, tastes and styles. They are all different in their own ways. But they all have something in common…they love climbing and are here to improve physically and mentally so that they can give all they can give to accomplish their goals. It’s quite inspirational when I take a step back and realize the mass amount of kids we have here all striving for improvement.
Our schedule leaves little time to chill: wake up 9am, leave clubhouse by 9:45, begin training at 10am and end at 1pm, eat lunch from 1-2:30pm, mental training from 2:30-3pm, training from 3-6pm, showers, dinner, hang out and bedtime at 11pm. It’s busy, but they are psyched. And when I see their love for what they are doing, it gets me psyched. There are a lot of kids training with us, fifty-something. Quite a few more than last year, which is awesome. I recognize that I will not be able to make a difference for each of them, but if I help/inspire/get through to at least ONE of these kids, then I will consider my time here successful.
On July 5-8 I will watch each of these kids battle their routes in the National Championships. So many of these kids believe that the coaches’ expectations of them are to podium and/or win. But that is not the case for any of us coaches. I’m inspired, motivated and proud of ALL those athletes who simply try their hardest and fight until the end. If they learn nothing else during these next 2 weeks, hopefully they do learn that all we want in the end is for them to enjoy climbing for climbing’s sake and not to give up. I’m constantly reminded of how climbing teaches some good life lessons. Lesson 1: enjoy what you do…life is too short and precious. Lesson 2: but don’t give up even if you feel uncomfortable or dislike something initially. There’s always something to learn and grow from uncomfortable/distasteful situations.
After only 3 days of this training camp thus far, that is what I’m reminded of. I’m a coach here, but I don’t think those kids realize how much they teach/inspire and/or remind me of important lessons in life that I may lose touch of.
In 2.5 weeks I will go back home to Colorado. I’ll be excited to go back to the mountains, train on my normal schedule, and do some rock climbing before I head back here for another training camp.