It was the week of doing sports-that-I-did-a-lot-years-ago-but-stopped-and-boy-am-I-sore-after-trying-to-relive-former-glory. My back still hurts from it.
First was climbing – on real cliffs – outdoors. On real rock. Thing about real rock is: it’s hard. As in, I banged my knee, and only realized later that night, after I got up to leave, that It Hurts.
It was better in a couple of days though.
It had been about eight years since I climbed outside. But it all came back, like riding a bicycle. I didn’t lead anything, I let Erich do that. I did top-rope his routes though, which were about 5.8 or 5.9 in difficulty (which is really not all that difficult in the climbing world).
Things I can still remember to do without killing myself or my partner: tie in, belay, clean gear off the route. Those things are easy and I’ve done them in the gym in the intervening years. Skills that required a little more searching of the memory banks were: securing myself so that I can clean an anchor, safely setting up the rope at anchor so my belayer can lower me, setting up a rappel, and rappelling itself (whee!).
We did three routes total after work Wednesday, on a sunny cliff that catches the evening light on Mount Wells. Those three routes were enough to give me sore trapezoids and forearms for two days. I loved every minute of it.
Best of all, I was climbing with the guy who first taught me how to climb sixteen years ago, when we were both living in Regina, SK. It was delightfully strange, both of us sixteen years older, but still being just who we are.
Well, I think we’ve both mellowed out a lot since then. Which made it even nicer.
Second was playing softball, which I did Sunday at a nice diamond near the house of Lauri, a colleague of mine, and her husband Chris. They invited a bunch of friends co-workers and family for a Labour Day Weekend ball game and BBQ and they couldn’t have picked a better day.
I had nearly forgotten how much I used to love playing ball in the summer sun. I practically grew up playing ball. After I graduated from high school I played on a fairly competitive beer league for a couple of years. We had actual practices and even won a tournament or two. I have a pretty good throwing arm, I can field really well, but I never did get proficient at hitting the ball.
Just before I went over to Lauri and Chris’s I had tea with Roger and Jim, plus friends Trevor and Ken. We were talking about how people who play team sports as youngsters (or who played music in bands or orchestras, or who sang in choirs) seem to be better at forming relationships. I avowed that I never was great at team sports, but I did sing in choirs. It wasn’t until I got out on the ball field and started throwing the ball, making a few outfield plays that I remembered the fun I had practicing and playing with the team when I was a young adult.
Thing about softball is: you can form teams and just play and have fun. Lauri and Chris host a lot of international students in their home, and there were a couple of Chinese and Korean students, plus some friends who are recent immigrants from Russia, who had never played before.
We formed into two teams: the Hot Dogs (theirs) and the Slurpees (mine). The Slurpees – well – we, uh, sucked. I think we scored maybe 3 or 4 runs, while the Hot Dogs scored about 20.
But we had a blast. And that was all that mattered.
Photo by Brian Lary