The Piano Man and the Climbing Gym: a Recipe for a Climbing Community

Now Paul is a real estate novelist Who never had time for a wife And he’s talkin’ with Davy, who’s still in the Navy And probably will be for life

-Billy Joel, Piano Man

I love the great story teller musicians, and Billy Joel is one of the best.  

As I listed to Piano Man a few weeks ago; listened to the individuals: the waitress practicing politics, the business man just trying to chill; I realized that I could just as easily be sitting in our gym watching the climbers. Much like an episode of Cheers or The Office, the climbing gym is a grouping of many different personalities from multiple facets of life.

And it is so fascinating for me to just observe it all. 

Because if we listen to the media and watch the unending news clips, memes, fake news, and politicians, it feels very much like our nation is in greater chaos than it has every known.  One thing is for sure, 2020 will go down in the history books a tumultuous year at best.  Maybe some of it is good, likely much of it is harmful, and definitely all of it leaves many feeling anxious, angry, disillusioned and maybe even hopeless.

Until you sit back and watch the climbing community in a gym.  

I have.  I do.  And what I observe are radical liberals, staunch conservatives, feminist, traditionalist, gays, lesbians, individuals of deep, deep faith – every faith, and just about every color imaginable . . . laughing, cheering each other on, offering belays and generally not giving a second thought to all the political, social, and personal unrest in the rest of the world.

It’s not that they don’t care about those issues or that they never join the protests or engage in the conversations at hand.  It’s just that, like in the song or the sit-coms, here they are family. They are community. Here it is ok – as Billy Joel would say – ‘to forget about life for a while.’

I know, I know.  These are challenging times.  Changing times even.   The world may never look the same.  But people, people will still be the same.  People will still need a community and an escape and friends to weather the change with.  And so, we’ll be here . . . to keep you “feeling alright”.

Rejecting mediocrity,


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