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The good, bad and the ugly. Francesca Metcalf reports on the highs (and lows) of the past month

The good, bad and the ugly. Francesca Metcalf reports on the highs (and lows) of the past month
March 01, 2011 -  Francesca Metcalf    

The last couple of weeks have been full of surprises, good and bad. First was ABS Open Nationals where I placed 2nd.  I wasn’t really expecting to do that well. Truthfully, I didn’t really know what to expect at all.  It was a great comp and I had such a good time. To have climbed that well was a great personal achievement. At the Youth ABS Nationals I went in to semi-finals in 3rd place all because of one hold on a slab – I need to work on slabs!  At semi-finals, the top four climbers, Isabelle Faus, the two Youngwerths and I, flashed all of the problems, so the placing didn’t change at all for us.  At finals, we all got the first problem. And then… the dreaded slab. On my first try I barely got off the ground. My next try proved to be much better – I somehow managed to finish the problem.  No one else in my category or any other category that had been on that problem finished it.


The third problem was a good one and I made it to the last hold before the finish jug.  I didn’t like the hold much so I climbed down to two rather good holds and just went for it.  I didn’t quite get the finish hold, took a pretty big fall and landed on a weird spot on the mat. As soon as I hit the ground I knew something was wrong- there wasn’t a lot of pain, just extreme discomfort, something definitely wasn’t right. I looked at my foot and it was basically at a 90 degree angle from my leg, and wouldn’t move from that spot. I was taken care of by EMTs: they made me wear an oxygen mask, tried to cut off my shoe before my foot swelled up too much (very sturdy Teams, they are not easy to cut off) (this was the only time really I cried, because I was so upset to see my shoe destroyed, and the scissors were sharp) and eventually they took me off in the ambulance.

Once I got to the ER people started to text my mom to tell us I had won, which was so sweet of all of them. Everyone’s thought was that my ankle was broken and I would be going to emergency surgery, but luckily it was only dislocated. After some x-rays, they gave me some stuff to kill the pain and proceeded to pop my ankle back in place. The doctor that did it was really nice, although he made it seem like it was going to be way worse than it actually was. Compared to how uncomfortable it was before, it was almost a relief, but that could just be the pain killers talking.

As soon as that was over someone texted my mom and told her that I had won The North Face Young Gun Award. That was probably one of the best moments ever.  I am so touched and proud that USA Climbing and The North Face think so highly of me, I was not expecting it at all. I was really bummed that I couldn’t be there to receive the Young Gun Award in person, but the satisfaction definitely overpowered the gloom, and the pain.

My family was planning to go from Denver to Bonaire (an island near Aruba) for a week, but we had to cancel the trip because my parents didn’t think I’m coordinated enough to walk on the beach with crutches.  We came home on Tuesday and I went to the doctor yesterday.  He took more x-rays and didn’t see any breaks either, which apparently is very unusual for ankle dislocation. I’m having an MRI in the next couple of days and hopefully, with some time and PT I’ll be back in a few weeks.



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