Steve and The Wall

This weekend I took my four younger kids to Breckenridge to hang out, recharge, and connect. One of their favorite activities was climbing the rock wall at the Breckenridge Rec Center. In addition to swimming, this provided hours of challenge and fun.

One of the highlights of the whole trip, not just the wall, was the rec center employee who oversees the wall, Steve. Steve is kind, patient, and a phenomenal teacher. He was also fun. He mentioned that in the winter he's a snowboard coach. Notice his choice of words. He didn’t say a snowboard instructor, he said coach.

There’s a difference. An instructor teaches you. A coach guides you. His approach was evident in how he encouraged and nurtured my children as they clung to the wall, him belaying and coaching from below. He taught them, gave instruction, motivated, and it was easy for the kids to connect with him.

They had so much fun the first day—Steve being a major part of that—we returned for a second time, that one being unplanned. But it gets even better.

Steve was on his way out the door, done for the day, when we walked in. I asked him if he felt comfortable with any of us using the auto belay, to which he responded that it would take an additional certification. So in an instant he made the decision to stay past his shift and let us climb. Why? Because that’s his character? Yes, he’s giving and kind. I also think it has to do with his passion for sharing his passion of rock climbing with others – yes, I put that correctly. He has a passion to share his passion.

I think he could tell how the kids were impacted, and not in a pompous way. I think he simply saw that they were excited and he couldn’t turn that away. He stayed an extra hour so they could climb. He stayed an extra hour so he could guide them, encourage them, and teach them. He stayed an extra hour to help them achieve hard things they didn’t know they could by pushing themselves. And I’m forever grateful for it.

Because more than just climbing the wall, they saw things of which they are capable, things they didn’t know they could do. They developed their skills. They gained confidence that they can do things they thought were out of their reach.

And that’s a big deal to this dad.

Thanks, Steve.