As over 3,000 spectators, most of which had no experience or knowledge of climbing, screamed their lungs out in cheer for each competitor as they powered their way to top of Vertical Solutions custom climbing walls situated in a shaded corner of Central Park’s Sheep Meadows, Jason Danforth said something over the microphone that I will never forget: “People have been climbing for hundreds of years.
This–right now–is what climbing looks like in 2011.” And with that one sentence, the entire breadth of the day was summarized in more ways than one. Elite level climbing had been presented to the general public smack-dab in the middle of one of the most fast-paced steel jungle’s on the planet–New York City–and they were psyched about it.
In fact, the event made such an impact on Manhattan’s Saturday afternoon, that the New York Times gave the competition its own section header in the paper’s Sunday Edition (the largest metro and most acclaimed Pulitzer price winning paper in America) and a slideshow on its website (the most popular news website in the United States).
I think that Neil Armstrong’s quote in reference to landing on the Moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” roughly encapsulates this past weekend’s genesis of a new competition era. NE2C and the rest of us are certainly not working towards traveling into outer-space, but the challenges we face in making climbing popular enough to be broadcasted on major network television as if it were the coveted Super Bowl are equally daunting.
Great job competitors. And Vasya Vorotnikov, once again, showed us exactly how large and in charge his cajones are.
Behind The Scenes:
Head Setter Chris Danielson (a freakish mastermind whose complicated depth of knowledge within movement is retardedly fathomless) and his right hand man Jeremy Hardin (a physical specimen/robo-man with a massive personality and equally large breadth of ability) blew me away. I went into the event knowing I was a decent setter that could work hard and get the job done, but after watching these guys perform, my list of things to improve on pretty much doubled; of which I am thankful for.
Now, I could go through the entire setting process and all that; this problem did this, this round did this, and this dingle did that dingle, but I’m too lazy right now to re-hash the entire comp and we already did all that in person. So, let’s get serious. As a team we faced many challenges. Here’s a list:
1) Ladder Challenge: Chris Won (He matched the ninth rung as substantiated below.)
2) Endurance Pool Challenge: Jeremy Hardin Won (I literally threw up my lunch for 10 minutes after the race–ride or die.)
3) Lazy Tag: Jeremy Hardin Won (Jeremy is so intense that if his lazer beam wasn’t working properly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he just strangled us instead to win. Nice job Shooter.)
4) Sit to Hand Stand: Dave Won (OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!)
5) Air Hockey: Chris Won (Turns out Chris has pretty ridiculous hand-eye coordination with a puck. The liters of Diet Pepsi he drinks everyday may be responsible for the performance enhancement of his game.)
6) Kiddy Tube Challege: Jeremy Won (We went into the kid section of an arcade zone and proceeded to race each other up one of the tubular slides. Jeremy got 7.1 seconds. Impressive. We were all pretty close though I think.)
And favorite quotes:
“AHHHHHHH FICK!” – Jonas Buamann said this every time he fell at the World Cup in Vail, which was like twice. So, now we say it.
“What happened?” – A cashier’s response to Chris when asking for a receipt at Pop’s Deli.
“Put your big boy pants on.”- Jeremy said this. It put me in a pouty mood. Love you Hardin.
“The clydesdale.”- In reference to someone.
A few last lines. As usual, the setting team was comprised of quite the eclectic mix of human beings.
Setting Crew: Jeremy Hardin, Jeremy Bini, Max Zolotukhin, and Me (And I cannot thank Kyle McCabe and Kynan Wagner enough for the time they put in at Central Park).
MVP Forerunner: Sarah Shaw (You are an invaluable monster crusher to this the whole shabang.)
Studs: Kary Williams and Paul Jung (Thanks for helping at the Cliffs!)