Sunday, March 10, 2013

Birthday Challenge Fun

It isn't a challenge if you're not challenged.  That's the point of a Birthday Challenge - you need some element of training and it has to be hard.  And FUN.  A year has past since John-Pio's last Birthday Challenge which appears to becoming an annual thing.  He's been going to Boulders Climbing Gym since he was an infant in a car seat, harnessed up when he was 9 months old, and has been climbing in some form ever since - mostly bouldering.  In fact, he was always afraid to go UP, so he never did get to the top of any climb on rope.  EVER!  Two weeks ago during climbing team training, he admitted he felt dejected and unmotivated because he couldn't successfully participate in the climbing game that involved drawing a cool picture if you made it to the top.  That must have done it in for him, poor kid.  So that's when my mom-voice-of-strong-encouragement kicked in and I said, "If you want it, you have to go after it.  And once you get it, you'll feel amazing.  I'm not telling you to do it now or tomorrow or next week.  But that's a very good goal for you and I want you to get to the top because I know you'll feel amazed."  And that was that.

When he went to team last Wednesday, I told him to have fun because I knew I would be doing the same.  In the middle of training, as I was coming down from my climb, Brad and I noticed John-Pio was three-fourths of the way up the wall with his climbing coach belaying giving him words of encouragement.  She put a blindfold on that boy and sent him up to ring the bell.  Nervously and tentatively and seemingly on the verge of panic feeling around for his next big jug, he had just one more move to make and I had just one more breath to take and he'd be ringing that bell.  Yes!  He made the move and rang the bell.  It really was a moment of triumph.  He made his first climb to the top in spite of his fear of heights, and I got to witness it silently hoping that this might mean he'd do the same outside on real beautiful rock. 

Today's Birthday Challenge was a bunch of different things: push-ups, sit-ups, plank, burpies, jumping jacks, dynos, and running.  But the real fun was witnessing him climb up the wall blindfolded eight times, each time with more ease, more ingrained muscle memory, and more strength.  And definitely more fun - challenging hard FUN. 

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