Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Power of Youth

I've been paddling and climbing more than normally with youth of late. I've also been watching videos, reading blogs, and somehow "exposed" to a lot more youth than normal (not counting the two-year old that normally terrorizes my house).

And you know what? I like 'em, especially in contrast to some of my generation. My generation was too dark, too pissy, too steeped in nonsensical holdover Victorian ideals, and over-read in Nietzsche and Sartre (plus a few others). I'm going to write more on this 'cause I think it's time to take a hard look at the dark motivations of so many climbers and paddlers in my generation.

I'm going to give one example to illustrate the point: When we ran class V back in the 80s we ran the drop once, and called it done. We would never have enough to run it again, why bother? We had survived, we had triumphed, we had overcome our fears, and running it again would mean maybe it wasn't so bad-ass. Kids today? They run laps on class hard V drops just for grins. They set good safety that might actually do something, and they take the drops seriously, but they go up and run stuff again and again. Because it's fun. And that is the difference between light and dark, running out of fear and running for the joy of paddling moving water. Cool, the kids are better than alright, they're inspiring the hell out of me.

Ah, one more example. My generation starved ourselves to climb hard. Today's kids smoke (not all, and not Nicotine), eat organic burgers, drink microbrews and send way harder than we ever did. Who do you think is having more fun? Yeah, I'm going to bet Sharma has had a hell of a lot more fun than Karn (no disrespect to Jim--I modeled a large amount of my early climbing life off of him, surely the greatest compliment one can give, and still think of his climbing regularly).

Now I gotta go train, 'cause I'm not a kid, and 'cause I like it. Hell, I'm going to do an extra set just for the sheer joy of it. Bring it. The lightness of youth.

4 comments:

Peter Beal said...

Hi Wlll,
I liked your post on this topic!

http://www.mountainsandwater.com/2009/08/power-of-youth-from-will-gadd.html

Isaiah said...

hahaha, I love it! As one of the youth, I don't get why people were or are so mad. I think it might also be easier for us. When someone is climbing 5.14 and 15 I feel like I should at least be able to do 12s.

ianL said...

Excellent observations Will.
Another way to witness this power is to spend some time at a mountain bike park, and watch the kids clean stunts time and time again!

Ted B said...

With respect though it isn't purely about how a 'stunt' is tackled or a climbing problem 'attacked'. It should be as much about an appreciation of the landscape and environment in which the fun is being had. Too many 'kids' see the landscape as a big amusement park - one that doesn't have litter (garbage)bins !!