Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Relationship on the Rocks

It started about 2 years ago when Aimee was 5. We were at a local park and she wanted to play on the jungle gym. Instead of having a ladder or net to get to the top of the slide the gym had a mini rock wall with beginner handholds. Aimee was fascinated with this and I noticed that she was compelled to climb it over and over again. The slide was just a means to get back to the rock wall quicker; the fun part for her was the climb.

One weekend I had to watch the kid while my wife worked so I took her to the
Phoenix Rock Gym
in Tempe.

The place is cavernous. All of the walls are 30 to 40 feet high, most are rated climbs, many with over vertical ascents. Aimee looked teeny in comparison. Excitedly she donned climbing shoes, a chalk bag and a climbing harness. After watching a short training video we were ready to go. It was amazing. Aimee was fearless. She was able to scale a 30-foot vertical wall in about two minutes. Some of the more experienced climbers are amazed to see how well she was doing at such a young age. About a year ago there was a group of men climbing right next to us. The man on the wall saw that he was just about to get passed up by a little girl. One of the guys down below shouted, “ Hey you are about to get your but kicked by a little girl.” By that time Aimee was level with the man. Both looked at each other for a second then raced the last 20 feet to the top. The man made a critical mistake with his footing slipped and fell. Aimee never looked back and easily made it to the top. The group of men slinked away in embarrassment. Since then we have been back about two dozen times and she continues to get better.

Today she tried something that she had never attempted to do before, cracking and jamming. It’s a technique where the climber jams their hand or foot into a crevice to gain a hold to climb. In doing so she injured herself and sprained her wrist. Rather than crying and giving up she asked what I could do so that she could continue to climb. I found some athletic tape at the front counter and wrapped her wrist. We got another 4 climbs out of it.

Jill has gone with us on occasion but for the most part going to the gym to climb has been our thing and has helped build our quality time together.

1 comment:

OKDad said...

Aimee is awesome.

Fun having daughters that rock, isn't it?

C has been taking tumbling lessons and after 4-months at it, she's doing running round-offs to a back flip.

It's so cool to see your kid develop confidence as well as motor skills that you wish you had.