Wall-Climbing: The Perfect Sport for Non-Sporty People (like me!)

When my brother was born (we’re only eleven months apart), it became apparent to my parents – and anyone else, really – that he and I were polar opposites of each other. I could go through many of our differences with you right now, but perhaps what always stuck was how he excelled at any sport that people threw at him.

Give him two hours with anything.

Two hours with a basketball? He’s dribbling, three-pointing, and maybe even stealing your ball.
Two hours in the pool? He’s most likely doing laps already.
Two hours in bowling? He’s getting a lot of gutter balls at the start, but soon he’ll be striking and sporting a winning grin on his face.

On the other hand, I am by the corner reading.

Growing up, however, I noticed that I’d be a bit faster than my brother when it came to wall-climbing. Hence, say hello to the only sport that matters (to me). :))

I never took it as a serious sport, but just something I liked doing when mall activations were available. There used to be a wall-climbing place in Powerplant Mall when I was younger, but it didn’t last very long.

Around May of this year, right before I bagged my current job in Virlanie Foundation, there was an open invitation to wall climb by some kids at the local church I go to. Having a lot of free time then, I said I’d be there immediately.

Have you ever done that before? Do something you haven’t done in years?
It’s sort of like meeting an old friend: there’s excitement, slight apprehension, but overall it’s a pretty good feeling. :)

It’s too bad that my university didn’t offer wall-climbing as a sport, because I would’ve made a bee-line for it. If you’ve had enough of Manila’s most popular sports (basketball, football, and boxing perhaps?) — then I would highly recommend wall-climbing.

Here’s 3 reasons why:

1. Affordability

So the reality is, things don’t come for free. (Unfortunately). But you can invest in things that might be worth your while. Wall-climbing for an unlimited time cost me around PHP300 – cheaper if you have a student ID – with gear, climbing shoes, and basic guidelines given by a staff of Power Up Gym.

Not too shabby. :)

2. Good workout

Sure, you’re not doing a lot of moving around, but wall-climbing is excellent cardio. Personally, I’d rather do this than run, bike, or swim — also great activities to get your cardio up. But what I really like about climbing is that it really doesn’t just give you physical benefits, but a lot of other things, too. Here’s 13-year-old Ashima Shiraishi laying it down for you.

I like how climbing taught me about fear. There was a particular wall I couldn’t finish, and I remember needing to face the terrible truth that I needed to regroup and go down (I was just a few pegs away, too, so it was a pretty big hit to the ego). Truth be told, the second attempt was a lot scarier than the first. Things like, “This wall is going to beat me again” or “What if I fail again?” kept replaying in my head. And I remember just going at it again and saying. “Keep going,” I would tell myself, “Stop thinking.” And my supporters, the local staff, would tell me: “Don’t slow down!”

So it’s not just a good physical workout. There’s something about being your own mental and emotional coach, too. And when you conquer a wall, mehn, it feels pretty amazing.

3. Friend-friendly


So this is a pleasant surprise: wall-climbing builds awesome rapport.

I always thought that wall-climbing was a more solitary sport, but I was happy to be proven wrong. Liam Cura ended up being very patient with me, and very encouraging as I climbed the walls. As a belayer – I’m not sure if that’s the right term – he was as supportive as can be. “Naj, there, that peg on your left foot. Push up there.” Or things like, “That was really fast, wow!” So, I guess, when you are counting on someone to hold your weight as you climb the walls, it’s definitely going to build something akin to trust. Thanks, Liam! :)

And then there are times when your arms feel like lead and when your legs feel dizzy, so you need to park your behind on the benches. In wall-climbing, resting is part of the package. Because of this, you end up speaking to your fellow climbers about your interests, common friends, and life in general.

On the photo above, that’s Nate and Eunice. I actually just met Nate through wall-climbing. So high-five for new people.

You might want to consider wall-climbing for your next team building activity.

This here is Liam (belaying) and Eunice (climbing): When you start from the bottom and reach the top? Bliss. :)

In conclusion:

Indoor wall-climbing is your friend. Give it a go!
I wish that I had taken this as a serious sport when I was younger. I bet I would’ve kicked butt.
Nowadays I feel like a washed-up old lady, and I’ve lost too many training years already HAHA.

Still, I’d love to do it for fun. I heard from my new climbing friends that there are actually tournaments for these things, and wow it would probably be so nice to actually have a sport. :)) So, if you have a sport that you feel is closely linked to you, I guess I would say: keep at it. :)

The sport gene went to my brother, and that guy still plays basketball to this day. It’s part of his life, just like how reading is part of mine. Now that we’re in our twenties, I wonder if I’d still be able to beat my brother in climbing walls. (I bet he’d say no. :)) )

But, time and again, I get chances to wall-climb, and it always feels like an adventure.

Abiding in joy,

Najee

PS. Do you have any sport recommendations?
Leave me a comment below!

Power Up Gyms can be found in 3 locations in Metro Manila:

1. 690 Tandang Sora Ave, Old Balara, Quezon City 932 7273
2. Centro Atletico, North Road cor West Road, Cubao, Quezon City 412 7480
3. ROX Bonifacio High Street, BGC, Taguig City 856 4638

You can also contact them here: powerup.climbing@gmail.com

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