While most Americans celebrated Thanksgiving with their beloved families and friends eating delicious turkey, stuffing, and cranberry relish, I had the opportunity to travel to South America for the first time. This trip wasn’t for myself though, it wasn’t to travel and see the countryside, to experience a different culture or anything like that. This trip was for ‘work,’ although I don’t consider it as such…it was to go coach our Youth US Climbing Team at the Youth Pan American Championships, an event that only takes place every couple years.
Youth PAC took place in Santiago, Chile this year. A city/country that I ended up loving immediately. I can’t really explain why I loved it so because in all honesty, I didn’t have much time to discover the area. It was GO-time as soon as we landed in Santiago. But perhaps it was, in the end, because of the people who were genuinely happy, enjoying life and living in the present. There’s something to be said for the weather as well…it was absolutely perfect. I live in Boulder, Colorado, where, as you may know, the weather is dry and sunny 98% of the time, but it was different in Chile. I would step outside and literally feel fully relaxed and completely content after taking a single breath of the perfect temperature(d) air. Regardless why i felt that way in Chile, i fell in love with it and I’d definitely go back sometime in the future.
Enough about the weather though…lets get to the true business. The US brought 50 athletes, from ages 11-19, to represent our country in Lead, Speed and Bouldering. The competition was 4 days, and while myself and the other coaches expected to stay at the venue all day, each day, we did not expect the work load that was handed to us. In four days, we coached for 64 hours. That is a lot of emotional and mental support to feed the athletes, their parents, and between the coaches. Despite this work load, I will say that this was my favorite event to coach because all of our athletes arrived with exceptional attitudes and they all gave everything they had while competing. I was thoroughly impressed with our team as a whole for accepting and dealing with only the things they could control…their climbing and their attitudes.
It was a successful event even beyond their attitudes though. Out of the 90 available medals to the athletes, we brought home 45 of them…over 50%!!!! This goes to show that attitude (not just strength!) is everything in the game of competition. CONGRATULATIONS TEAM USA!!! I look forward to working with you all in the near future 🙂