Transplant Athlete
Monday, March 05, 2007
  She is Only 4 Years Old And Its A Real Fine Way To Start

I wasn't really into mainstream sports as a kid. I played soccer, which my buddy Rich used to refer to as "that commie sport...", but I didn't really like Baseball or Football. In High School, I made the JV team one year and played intramural another. To be honest, the intramural was much more fun. I tried out for the ski team, but couldn't make the cut. I even ran track one spring, and hated every minute of it.

It wasn't until I participated in the Outdoor Skills Club that I really felt at home. I liked camping and hiking, but the center ring for me was kayaking with climbing a close second. I had a love for kayaking but also great respect, maybe it was fear, I don't know. The same thing with climbing, Its been said, "I have a fear of heights, that's why I climb."

In high school I climbed outdoors (mostly at the Delaware Water Gap - there weren't any gyms back then).
Shanen Gianotto, Doug Sweeney, Byron Phelps, JJ, and Me
Then in college, it was the outside of the old gym.
me and pAULie climbing Stevens GymMe and pAULie climbing Stevens Gym
I know, not the most flattering pictures of me. Around this time, a gym opened in NYC and another opened in East Rutherford, NJ and I haven't climbed outside since. When I moved to VA, I climbed at a bunch of gyms as far south as Fredericksburg and as far North as Columbia, but mostly at Sportrock in Alexandria.

I took Q to the Sportrock in Sterling this weekend. It was a bit tough for her, most of the the bouldering walls were slanted a bit back from vertical and the footholds were ultra small. She did an amazing job and she was so much fun to watch. I know every parent thinks their kid is special, but she seemed to have an innate feel for the moves, this might be her sport. A woman at the gym asked how old she was and when I told her that Q was 4 she said she wished she had started climbing that early.

There were a bunch of guys in the bouldering area, hanging horizontally, dyno'ing, and slamming to the floor rather dramatically. Q loved that and kept asking me to back up so she could "Fall down." We spent about 2 hours there and about a half hour before we left she kept asking if she could use "the ropes." I hadn't rented a harness for her, so I couldn't belay her, maybe next time.

I feel really good about exposing her to other sports. I can't wait til she's big enough to kayak. When she's old enough to snowboard I'll send her to Chris Klug's camp. Of course, RJ will get the same treatment.

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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