It was old home week last night at the Tallahassee Rock Gym. For those who don’t know, the Rock Gym was the brain-child of a couple of friends back in a time I like to call the early nineties. They sold it to a young buck with a dream, and he is still making it happen, giving North Floridians a chance to learn the skills necessary to travel far away and scare the shit out of themselves.
I used to work there, but it was more like charity really. The Torso would pay all of us rock grommets to sit down there in either kiln-like heat or damp cold and teach people how to belay, and to spray out the rental shoes with Lysol. I have nothing but the fondest memories of the place and it served as my headquarters for many years.
Last night we were back in there climbing with vigor. Four of us that date back to the conception of the place were running laps up the wall and lamenting our blown-out fingers at the end of the night. The place was packed with babies (20-somethings) grinding out torturous boulder problems and politely making way for us grizzled first ascenters to have our fun. There were messages on a marker board from folks who graduated and moved on, or just moved on. They said things like, “This place will always be my home” and “TRG Forever.”
We played a little woulda, shoulda, coulda in the parking lot, but really, there is a lot to be proud of for the progenitors. They created a thing that survived. A new generation thinks of it as nothing but theirs, and they own a part of its history too.
How many of us get to do that?