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Individual and proud

Submitted by hardgrituk on 2004-01-27

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I'm 15 live in the Lake District in England and my life evolves around my climbing. I am currently doing genearal education degrees at school called GCSE's and have picked Physical Education as one of my specialised subjects to study.

Thats a little bit about my background and the heart of this explanation.

I live with my parents. My father is a highly qualified Outdoor Instructor, and was the one who introduced me to the sport. My mother is a teacher and is highly supportive of my love for climbing. I have a small group of friends who i usually hang out with at school, and I enjoy their company. I spend most of my school time with these friends, apart from my lunchtimes. I make use of this time to train hard for future competitions down at the climbing wall. I spend virtually every lunch hour of my five day school week here, cranking on plastic and improving my technique, training my vital climbing muscles.

I usually do this on my own every day, and have felt my climbing to be improving vastly. I do this for a reason of improving for competitions, but most of all because i couldn't think of a more enjoyable way of spending my lunch time. I love to train, wire problems, crank on plastic, achieving personal aims. No one seems to understand this; my friends, teachers, enemies, and even the leisure centre staff look at me slightly odd. The only people who understand the logic of this and understand my enjoyment of such things are fellow climbers. They often ask, "What is the point in climbing?" My reply is, "If you have to ask you will never know." Then they look at me funny and walk away shaking their heads.

What I hate most is that my PE teacher seems to hate me, he ignores me in class, and shouts at me when I miss the soccer ball. I put this down to not being on any football teams, rugby teams, and performing bad in class. The only reason I chose PE was so that it could lead into becoming an instructor like my father. He also was one that didn't understand my love for the sport and my well being.

I believe this all changed on the day I demanded a chance to show my PE teacher something. I told my head teacher I wanted to put a presentation on at an assembly. He agreed reluctuntly, so I went forth in my plans. I wanted to try to show the essence of the sport, impress them in what we can do, and make them understand why I do what I do. I collected pictures of bouldering, trad climbing in dangerous positions, people cranking on hard sport routes, upside down ice climbers with funny faces, mountaineers high in the Alps and portaledges high up on El Capitan. I showed the clip at the start of Hard Grit where someone takes a huge fall at the start. I also showed the footage of Bring the Ruckus on the Dosage video. I did this all on a huge screen, and almost forced them to watch it.

I showed it one Wednesday morning in front of my whole year, invited my PE teachers, and all the people that didn't understand. There were about 350 people watching this thing, most of which didn't understand climbing. I stood on the stage and presented it through a microphone, trying to show the spirit of our sport. I explained the standards of climbers, tried to explain why we did it, and tried to stun them with showing the dangers of what we do. I finished the presentation by saying "climbing rarely makes sense, but nearly always feels right", and got a big round of applause!

I received many a comment, like "Wow, I never knew how dangerous climbing is!", and "Good presentation, I'm sorry for hassleing you about it", and some others along those lines.

I went to the climbing wall that day as usual to train, and found my PE teacher waiting for me along with a bunch of my friends. They asked me to do this and that, so I did and basically tried to show off (admittedly). They were stunned at what I could do, and saw a side of me they never imagined. It is now a about two months on and at least seven people have started climbing and enjoy it like myself.

I am so happy in what I have proven, and wish others would see the same. Climbing isn't just a hobby, it's a passion. Once you get caught up in it, it's always with you. I am so proud to be a climber and enjoy the climbing community. After my trouble, I've decided that I don't care what people think of me and my passion, I personally know what people are missing out on and sometimes chuckle at their soccer obsession and their fashion worries. I walk away grinning and go and remember climbing and its brilliance.


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I know exactly how you feel. I'm 16 n I've climbed for years and recieved some r8 abuse. I live near Sheffield and none of my mates understood it. I'm not a pro but i'm bout a 6C indoor lead climb. One day my teacher took us all climbin and well you know how it feels when their faces drop as you zip up a route. Anyway keep climbin mate.

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