It was a no-brainer for us then to choose Matt for this month’s member spotlight, 7 QUESTIONS. As our member of the month, Matt will also receive a $100 shopping spree from our friends at The North Face (875 North Michigan, Chicago). See what Matt has to say about his idea of a perfect day, his support of affordable healthcare and his love of Batman.
1. Why do you choose to climb?
The challenge of pushing my mind and body to move and think in different ways. It’s a wholly cerebral experience that can bring me to a focused, almost meditative state. Personally, I love to test those ever-changing limits and try for new goals. While the routes have holds that don’t move, every human body is different, and there are a myriad of ways to send a route. I love studying routes and predicting what moves to make. There are always ways to push yourself. On top of that, it’s a fantastic full-body workout. The rewards you get may seem small, but each move, each send, represents all that time spent training and strengthening my body and mind to work in unison.
2. What has been your main challenge as a climber?
As much as I complain about being short with a short reach, my main challenge is my mind. It is me vs. Myself. Always. If I focus enough and on the move I’m working on, and then the next move, then the move after that, there is nothing else. That fear of falling doesn’t even enter my mind. It’s sometimes tough to achieve that zen-like state, and then to maintain it. Being able leap these mental hurdles consistently is the addictive challenge that constantly brings me back to climbing. Or maybe I’m just stubborn.
3. What is your idea of a perfect day?
A perfect day would be about 37 hours, give or take a few minutes. Ideally, my friends and I would be celebrating a victory where quality, affordable healthcare is provided to everyone so more people can have the freedom to enrich their own lives. It would be a mix of helping people and relaxing with good company outside in a place I’ve never been before where everything we experience will be new, including unicorns and (friendly) dragons. A perfect day would be rife with challenges and chances for me and those around me to grow as people.
4. If not climbing, where would you be?
Either in the hospital helping people get better/studying or on the ground fighting for social and health justice (which is more or less the same thing on different levels). It’s not just because I’m a medical student, but working towards and achieving that common goal with like-minded people charges me. I kind of have to be doing something all the time. If not any of that, I’d be playing volleyball! Yet another sport that’s not suited for tiny people. I think there’s a theme here …
5. What do you enjoy/appreciate most in the BKB community?
You already said it. It’s a community. I enjoy variety, and the people at the BKB community help to provide that. With the steady stream of social events and the open personality of many climbers, it feels like a place to relax and hang out. It’s really easy to meet new people when discussing the beta for a route or cheering people on really tough routes. Climbing is a great sport to center people around. The regular Friday night meetups offer a good stable group of people to see and introduce into climbing. Furthermore, as a student, having a workspace to get studying done with ready access to a gym to break is integral for my mental sanity. It’s just a community that promotes productivity.
6. Who or what inspires you?
I draw inspiration from everything around me. Batman. How he does what he does on 2 hrs of sleep a night is beyond me. Maybe he’s just efficient with his time. Plus, he’s Batman. My patients inspire me. They remind me to never take for granted my position in life. My parents inspire me. The hardships they’ve experienced to get to where they’re at to give me and my siblings every opportunity possible blows my mind. They’re still learning and challenging themselves at the end of their careers. I’ve known them all my life and there are still things they’ve done in life I’m finding out. Makes me wonder if they were spies in a past life …
7. What motto do you like to live by in your life?
Being able leap these mental hurdles consistently is the addictive challenge that constantly brings me back to climbing. Or maybe I’m just stubborn.