John Sherman

John Sherman

John Sherman is the Godfather of American bouldering. Without his broad shoulders to stand on, Daniel Woods would be toproping 5.7 right now.

Stone Master
Metolius

John Sherman: October 2010 Blog - Bundles of Joy

You’re starting up on your on-sight attempt of Joy To The World. Things are going well up past the courtesy clip and the next several pre-hung draws, the moves playing out just like in the video you studied. Your husband tells you not to forget the drop knee, now right hand to the crimp. All of a sudden your darling 10-month old Honeysnookums starts wailing like a banshee dipped in napalm. You. . .

a)      think isn’t he so sweet, he’s cheering me on
b)      figure he’ll settle down in a few minutes
c)      ignore him and concentrate on the chains up there, just 8 more clips...
d)      grab the chains, clip them, lower off and hurry over to your pack, pull out your dumbphone and start tweeting to both your friends who for some reason decided to go to a different crag far far away today
e)     all of the above.
 
If you answered yes to any of the above you are a lousy parent. The proper answer is f) abandon the attempt, lower immediately to the ground, apologize profusely to your fellow climbers while you pick up Goobywoobie and take him out of ear shot of the crag while you gave him a bottle, change his diaper, rock him to sleep or whatever.

You show up to the crag with Snugglebunny, aw shucks she’s such a sweetheart. Oh she’s feeling fussy. WAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! Isn’t that cute. Snugglebunny has. . .
 
a)     pissed of the other fifty climbers at the crag who
b)     now hate your guts, but
c)     you are completely oblivious to the cries of anguish and
d)     stuff your head in the guidebook looking for something hard, but you know, soft.

Thank goodness you could get away this weekend, Boy the crag is sure crowded with people looking to escape the stress of work and family and have a fun-filled day. 

Waaauuuggghhh. WAAUUUGGHHHHH! WAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Poopiewhoopie has notched it up a bit after his crying has been ignored for 10 minutes. Now he sounds like a fork in the disposal plus jake brakes plus church bells and a drag strip on Rocket Day and a thousand nails screeching down a blackboard all pumped through a hundred Marshall amps each dialed up to eleven. Climbers two crags away can hear him. Everyone can hear just him and nobody else. Everyone that is except his parents. “On Belay.”

“Hhhnnhhh?”

WAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUONGGGGGHHBELAHHHHHHHHHHHH.”

“WHAT?”

WAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!.

Up top of the crag a block is dislodged. A climber cries out a warning. ROAAAAAAAAAAUUUUCKGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

Oh isn’t he a peach :) Next thing you know. . .
 
a)     the belayer’s head next to you explodes like a sledgehammered watermelon misting you with pink pulp. Next his brake arm is severed off. Last night’s Tarantino flick seems mild in comparison
b)     what’s left of his body crumples to the ground yanking his now unbelayed partner off the rock
c)     said partner flies across the leader under him, wrapping his rope around the latter’s neck
d)     WAAAAAAcUUUUUUUrGGGGGaGGGGcHHHHHHHk goes the climber’s neck but at least the rope twisting around his broken neck has slowed down the other falling climber enough that
e)     WWWWWAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAUUUUGHHHHHHH!
f)      he survives hitting the ground and then later excels in playing scrabble with the blowpipe for his wheelchair controls.
 
Fortunately this doesn’t have to happen because if you’re the climbing parent of a toddler you realize that. . .
 
a)     if I can afford a climbing gym membership, I can afford a babysitter
b)     it’s time to get even with your parents and drop the kid off with grandma and grandpa while you go climbing
c)     if I carpool to work and cut out two double jamochafrappachinos out per week I can afford day care, not to mention I’m saving thousands on my new tax exemption
d)     if I can afford to fly to Kalymnos, I can afford to help out the huge Greek unemployment situation by hiring a local to watch the kids and read them Aesop’s fables
e)     the second your kid explodes everybody at the crag hates you and that hate rises exponentially with every minute you ignore the outburst.
f)      half the climbers at the crag are wondering if strangling your child would be considered justifiable homicide
g)     the other half are worried it might be a parole violation.
 
Your kid is crying. Is it:
a)     in pain
b)     hungry
c)     unhappy
d)     basting in a stinking shit-filled diaper
e)     having an awful day
f)      getting sunburnt
g)     being bit by insects
h)     despising you as much as every other person at the crag now despises you
i)       all of the above.
 
Yeah, I know you promised all your climbing partners that parenthood wouldn’t change your devotion to the sport. You’ll just bring Junior out with you. “Yep Lil’ Buddy here has been out at the crags since he was seven weeks old,” you proudly exclaim to your dwindling posse of partners. Well cheers to you for putting climbing first and parenting second. Now that we’re focused on climbing, do the right thing for your sport, the safety of your fellow climbers and the well-being of your child.
 
a)     get a nanny, or if you can’t afford that
b)     hire some climbing bum to belay for a day so one parent will always be free to tend to the child. If you’re unwilling to do that then
c)     quit climbing, or
d)     put the kid up for adoption.
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