The room is packed, the MC is encouraging the crowd to make some noise and show their enthusiasm for the competitors as the first two appear, making their way to the routes. Just about all who see me there ask me if I am competing or suggest that I should compete. I am not sure why they believe this. Perhaps because 100 years ago I was a strong climber. But that was a lifetime ago... at least it seems like a lifetime to me.
I encourage and guide the youth I coach, I hug and try to uplift, and celebrate my friends as each competes on these routes.
"I was surprised by how many tears I saw this morning." remarks one fellow coach.
I am not surprised. Competitions are like mini versions of our life which we create and shore up with successes. Not doing well at a competition leaves one feeling like they will not thrive within the community and perhaps will be placed on the lowest rung of value in the eyes of their peers.
Of course, most have not taken the time to consider why they are competing. Most are simply responding to the same question or comment I get as a person within the climbing community... "you should compete."
I am a thinker and I have considered "why I climb" and here is what I know. I enjoy connecting with someone. I enjoy the process of trying to unlock the secret that will enable me to get to the top. I enjoy sharing that discussion and trial and error with someone who like me also wants to grow in their potential. I enjoy the creative process and the focus required to put the pieces together. And I love sharing that with someone who seems as excited about the process as I am.