On sposorship. A frat boy reflection

by We didn't write this

Dear readers,

I have come to bad time in my life. My last sponsor switched me to pro deal status. Do you know what that feels like? It’s like having your parents come into your favorite bedroom and saying “honey, we love you, but you gotta start paying rent.”  Messed up, right?

I asked myself, why?​​?

The answer came quicker than a sorority girl on prom night. Its simple.

Your climbing ability ranges from 1 to 10. 1 is your grandma on the rocks and 10 is Adam Ondra. Your ability to spray ranges in a similar fashion. Add your climbing score to your spraying score and if the sum is greater than 14.999999 you have yourself a sponsorship. Figure 1 illustrates this phenomenon graphically.

 Figure 1

The free shit zone

But, lets terantino this shit and go to the beginning. I remember being a young whipper snapper, fresh out of high school. The setting is the Salt Lake City trade show. The pro (an?) tagonst is a young Grigoriy, with pimples on his face and a badge on his neck. I was on top of the world. In my hands: a ticklist of 5.14s.

Long story short, I convinced everyone I was the shit. Back then, my climbing was at a 8 and my spray was at a 10. 18 baby. Bring on the free booze, sunglasses and ladies.

Actually, my climbing wasn’t really an 8. It was a 6 that is increased to an 8 through the Bad Gear Coefficient. The BGC is simple. If you climb in Mad Rocks, wear socks with your shoes or otherwise make rock climbing unncessarily difficult for yourself then you may multiply your climbing ability by 1.333333333. An example: Doing 12c New River Gorge slab isn’t anything groundbreaking. Doing 12c New River Gorge slab using MadRocks, however, is damn near impossible and certainly magazine worthy.

But lets get back to the story.

The summer ended fast. Which I was happy about. Seriously, I fucking hate summer. Girls in sun dresses, bikinis; I hate all that shit.

I was off to Dook University. I joined a fraternity.

My climbing ability plummeted. It went 8 to 7 to 6. But I didn’t give a fuck. I just stepped up my spraying to a full on 10, and wham bam thank you mam, I was still a solid 16.

However, darkness aproached fast. Like all assets, spraying ability depreciates. Sooner or later, your spray, if not backed up by acutal climbing numbers, becomes pointless. Things were getting dangerous. I was on the brink of becoming a no free gear chump, like you.

I tried everything. My first course of action was to climb routes using really bad beta and taking the up grade. I learned the technique from an old friend. He goes out and skips jugs, knee bars and other obvious rests. Then, he upgrades his sends two letter grades and comments “climbed it skipping the rest and not using my left foot. Not because I couldn’t do it the practical way, but because I COULD do it the harder way.”

And so I went, sending 5.11s with my left hand tied behind my back and logging it as 5.13.

As my frat boy climbing ability teetered lower than a 6, I had to step my spray up even more. The next bullet in my arsenal was the genious “first redpoint attempt” card. This silver bullet kills the fucking vampire. Basically, every time you send a route, just claim it was your “first redpoint attempt.” Even if you worked the rig 18 times, you can still claim this fact. If you do this enough, your confused sponsors will think you onsight everything. Its fucking brilliant.

I tried sending dialed sport routes on gear, I started a blog; it just wasn’t working. My climbing was teetering below that 4.99 threshold and sure enough, my ass got dropped.

Unsponsored. Dumped. Fuck.

So lets Terantino this shit again and go back to right now. I left the frat boy life beind. Here I am, at the New River Gorge, the epicenter of rock climbing in the universe. Life is easy here. Its just a bunch of dudes, not many girls, kegs, people ICING each other, late nights, unsafe living conditions and hungover mornings.

Peace, love and spray,