The Rodeo and the Paparazzi

I had a short week of “rest” between comps. This really entailed a visit from my parents, a full work week, and of course some precious toddler time. I try to make sure my kiddo gets some fun outings that don’t involve climbing, so I took him to a museum and the zoo. Onward to Hueco! I was pretty excited to get to Hueco this year. I was doing an Instragram takeover for Asana and running the Asana booth. Fortunately, my friend Joelle came along to help support me and run the booth. My climbing day was pretty solid. My score card included Speedbump V7, Shower Cap V9, Fern Roof V8, Daily Dick Dose V7 and Stegasaurus V7. This is certainly a good day, but I had some unfortunate falls on Baby Face and PFOS, so alas, I came in 2nd to the always strong Kyra Condie. We finished just 10 points apart, but those 2 non-sends kept me from the top of the podium. But truthfully, the purpose of this blog is to talk about the most interesting experience this year.  Cameras. I have never really considered myself a proper “pro”, nor has anyone else, but I got the “pro treatment” over the weekend, and I discovered that is comes with a tremendous amount of pressure! If you haven’t experienced this before, imagine this: You are sitting at a boulder problem that is hard for you, but that you think you can do. There are 3-5 photographers all poised to catch that magical moment when you send. They are positioned in uncomfortable places and sweating in the heat. They have been holding up heavy cameras and lugging around gear all day! You step up, climb half-way, then fall. What do you do? Normally, you take a break. Eat a sandwich. Socialize. And then 10 minutes later you try again. But today, you have the pressure of the camera-men. They don’t say anything other than kind words of encouragement, but you can almost feel them silently pleading with you to send so then can relax their arms or step down from the balancing act they do with thousands of dollars on a precarious perch.  So, what do you really do? You become a human machine gun. You fire the moves over and over again desperately hoping one of the attempts finally hits the mark. But we are all climbers here. Come on. You know what happens when these kind of attempts are made? You get sloppy. You get tired. Your skin wears thin. And. You. Don’t. Send.

Now, I am sure the real pros don’t sit there thinking about the well-being of the photographers. They probably don’t wonder if they need a bathroom break or a drink of water. They probably aren’t concerned that it is impolite to not send. Toward the end of my day, I was flailing around on something that probably wouldn’t be so hard in normal circumstances, but there I was. Machine gunning the thing. Finally, the photographers wandered off. Maybe they were taking a pee break? And what happened? I took a break, and then I sent. They walked back as I was packing up and realized they missed “the shot”. A look of frustration mixed with general exhaustion crossed their faces, and then we moved on. That was the last problem I sent for the day.

So, lesson learned? I don’t really know. Maybe it is that I like flying under the radar? Maybe it is that I need calm down and simply learn how to be photographed? Maybe I just need a weekend of climbing with just my hubby. Or maybe I need to take a break from social media, #s and all things that seem to consume me and get back to the root of what I love. Trying hard on rock. I am not sure.

One thought on “The Rodeo and the Paparazzi

  1. It’s really fun reading your thoughts on the Rodeo and great job in the comp! I think you are just a kind person 🙂 I wasn’t thinking too much about the camera-people, but more because I figured that any pictures of me were secondary to whichever pro athlete was around. I didn’t have any camera people following me when there wasn’t a pro in the same area, but I also found it kind of stressful and overwhelming when they were there! I think I tend to get anxious when there is a large number of people around the same boulder and there is a pressure to execute… amplified when there is a camera as well!


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