Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Showing up, getting up.

The last blog article prompted some really good words from people, thanks for that. I started writing this in response to those comments, it grew into what follows...

I will NEVER look down on anyone in the gym or who is just breathing hard because anyone who has simply shown up and truly tried has done a great thing. All of us are athletes when we're moving, the relative level of that athleticism is far less important than the act of moving. I have been very unfit, injured, depressed, stressed-out or just plain non-functional an annoying amount of my life. I've also been so psyched and motivated that nothing else but the session mattered. But no matter where you are mentally or physically just showing up in the gym or simply breathing hard is a statement of hope, an expression of, "I'm gonna fucking try." And that's cool. Most of the "developed" world is devolving into couch ornaments, so anyone who just shows up to breathe hard is truly a hero in my book.

In the gym I train at most regularly there's an older lady who comes occasionally. She moves slowly, stiffly, but she's my hero because she moves, and because she's in there. I sometimes think of her when I'm a bit stiff or tired, and I know she would still go, so I do too. There's a great group of young kids who train so hard that I often train at the same time just to watch them and try and to keep up with their energy. There's an older guy (well, not much older than me!) who has taken low-income living to an art form; he's too cheap to buy a chalkbag, but he's my hero because he's in there. When I see a truly fat person running or just hiking up a hill I invariably want to start cheering from the bottom of my heart out loud, but I don't 'cause I don't want to scare 'em or make them feel bad somehow. Some little pretzel dude running along like a damn gazelle? That's cool and all, but moving athletically with an extra person strapped to you? Now that's an athletic accomplishment I can't dream of but that truly inspires me. Maybe these people don't "train" in the same way I look at it, but they are busting a move, and that's powerful. Winning isn't always about winning something. Often it's about just showing up, and anyone who shows up and does his or her best is my hero.

But if anyone is actually training to be better at whatever level then I want them to not waste the time I have doing useless repetitions of useless exercises. I also believe time spent doing any sport should be fun, exciting and challenging. If it isn't some combination of those things then nobody is going to keep at it. There must be a million barely used treadmills put into landfills every year. The following edited lyrics from Fugazi sum up a lot of things in my mind:

I am a patient boy
I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait
My time is water down a drain

Everybody's moving
Everybody's moving
Everything is moving,
Moving, moving, moving

Please don't leave me to remain
In the waiting room

Sitting outside of town
Everybody's always down
(Tell me why)

Because they can't get up
(Ahhh... Come on and get up)
(Come on and get up)

But I won't sit idly by
I'm planning a big surprise
I'm gonna fight
For what I want to be

And I won't make the
same mistakes
(Because I know)
Because I know how much
time that wastes
(And function)
Function is the key


I hope everyone found what was needed today, be it sore lats, time with their kids, or just a smile out of something new in life. Now I gotta go train, thinking about all this just got me too fired up. Get up!


Andy Aakhus-Witt said...

Couch Ornament! I haven't heard that one yet, but I love it.

I often receive the impression, that the Doctor’s idealized human, stemming from all the products of medicine, science, and engineering, is a nearly blind (but still capable of keen sight by means of ingenious lenses), grossly obese, intensely flatulent, diabetic (producing copious amounts of honey-sweet urine, but thriving nonetheless by means of a high-fructose corn syrup diet and pig insulin), multiply handicapped, weak-hearted, and utterly invalid man; this man lies in an unbelievably comfortable chair (the whole day long) while he attends to his favorite programs as they punctually appear on his newest boob-tube, while heeding no concern at all for the various physical exertions that supposedly shaped and molded the human body which he so ungraciously owns.

The Wall-E chair is the illustration of this impression:
Wall-E Chair

Wall-E Chair 2

But I might controvert myself, since I highly value the mental and physical demands of paragliding, yet a pod harness closely imitates this Wall-E chair too!

PG Harness

Andy Arts said...

Ya Boy,

Anonymous said...

It is about having fun.. that is all it is..
thanks for not slagging fat people because other "climbers" do on their blogs..
Not cool

JD LeBlanc said...

Wg, Why does it happen, most of the time, climbers flake out and say "climbing is just for fun"?
For some it is, but for those of us who have the unfortunate part of being a climber first and all the other life stuff second, it's a lame response.
We should care, we should fight "words and actions" for what we believe is the correct thing. The Democrats and Republicans have differing ideologies - they yell, scream, toss some f-bombs at each other, because they feel their way is the best. The great thing about climbing is that the big picture pretty much dictates the little one's. Traditions are set and most often followed - methods evovle and become traditions.

Look at the heel spur thing you were a huge part of, in bringing down their usage and method and being non-traditional. It meant a huge deal to you and many others that were claiming ascents with huge things off their heels that they could hang out on for hours!
If they had actually trained and followed the traditions in climbing they would have either been able to climb the route or not. Physical or mental, just no artificial aids.
I still think knee bar rubber pads are AID and if you can't use your knee as is, then don't use the knee bar, pull through. Alex huber did this at the knee-bar intensive "jailhouse" crag of SoCal and he sent all sans-knee bars. Climbers like people look for shortcuts, just like politicians and business people, when it comes to the front like with Madoff or George W. it justs let's the informed know that they cheated and required that to excell - rather than actually putting in the true efforts and having success or failure - but either is respectful if it was an honest trained effort.

For all those who are fat, out of shape, less talented, less time, hindered, or simply not strong, but get out and giver-liver, then full power to them, more so than the "professional" who needs aids to get ahead rather than simple training to make the next stage.

In today's world on sport style climbs/routes/mountains, if you need aid, it ain't an ascent - there is always some other climber who could do it without aid, so it should be aid free to be a true ascent.

just can't resist! leblank

Danielle said...

Hey couz!
Nice blog. Even nicer because I was about to be lazy and skip the gym today, but nahhh, I'll be lazy another day. OFF to the GYM

P.S. miss you. Hopefully I'll get to see you sometime soon? I saw that you are doing a "maryland show" which got me all excited.. but I see now that it is in Boston? BOoo

Love you,

L said...

great post!