Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Moffattrocity

A couple of weeks ago I went out, got mashed and then, for the first time in 5 and a half years got so ill I was bed ridden for an entire week. Bad timing as I was meant to be giving a presentation on the Monday and if I was my tutor I think I’d guess I was just skiving. Also and much more importantly that weekend it was the ‘We love Jerry Moffatt’ the facebook groups AGM down in Sheffield. Unfortunately as I was ill it was left up to fellow admin, Ross Hunt to persuade Jerry to join our group. For whatever reason, he failed. Really I think he just pussied out of asking but at least he went. Jerry would love being part of a group in his honour.
From my bed I tried to do my bit, sending friend requests to all the Jerry Moffatts already on facebook. A few days later I received a message from one of them. With baited breath I opened the email entitled ‘who are you’. It read “I dont know you and you are trying to be added as my friend”. For a moment I panicked. The last thing I wanted was to upset Jerry. Luckily, a few moments of further facebook stalking revealed I’d got the wrong one. This raj was from Dumbarton! Phew. Relieved I replied “I'm sorry Jerry, I thought you were the real Jerry Moffatt. Obviously not!” (the) Jerry, if you read this, please join our group.
The week was spent in bed bored and wondering why my signed copy of ‘Revelations’, Jerry’s autobiography, hadn’t arrived. Penny had already gotten hers. What if my pre-ordering had been in vain and I was to receive an unsigned copy?!!?! Unthinkable, I slept through the feeling of apprehension. And then just as I was getting better, just as I was about to start the spirit crushing catch up at uni, just as my life was about to get busy, one signed copy came through my door. Everything was put on hold.
Basically, I really enjoyed reading it, the whole thing. Being a geek I couldn’t wait to read about the first ascents of Revelations, Masters Wall, Liquid Ambar and Dominator but surprisingly, without a doubt the best bit of the book is the section on his comp career. Ultimately it’s just a classic tale of mind over matter. I didn’t realise, but to begin with Jerry was mince at competitions and so hated them. It was only because he’d told everyone he was the best for so long that he felt he had to persist and conquer them. He got some book and worked on his head and became unstoppable. Everyday in his training diary he would write:
“I am the best competition climber in the world. I always succeed. I always flash 8a. My footwork is precise and efficient. I move on rock fast and gracefully. I have plenty of time to work out moves because my recovery is so good. I can de-pump anywhere. I am the strongest, fittest climber in the world.”
...and he was. After one competition Jibe Tribout, obviously pissed at not winning, goes over to Jerry and says “Yes, Jerry, it is true. For the moment you are the best.” Shortly after this Jerry lost interest in competitions.
I suppose to an extent this is just some hippy crap, where the underlying theme is that you can do anything as long as you believe you can. But, much as this pains me to say it, I think it’s true. I remember a few years ago, on one of my first trips to Kilnsey, psyching up to try and flash Comedy. Iain Moody had just cruised 2/3 of the way up it before giving up, claiming he was pumped. I remember thinking ‘Iain’s a lot stronger and better than me, but it would be just like me to burn him off’. Needless to say I fell off at the second bolt. I was pissed off. Maybe that was a bad example. I really believed I was going to cruise it but I didn’t but around that time I had a really good run. I wasn’t really that strong or fit but I was genuinely surprised when I failed on anything. I suppose that doesn’t make me look like a very nice person but ultimately, when you’re at the crag it’s a lot easier to hide being a dick than being a shit climber.
I think people don’t like confidence because it comes across as competitiveness. Really confidence is being sure you can do something others can’t. When everything is competitive this won’t suit you if you’re sub standard. But confidence of any worth relies on others inadequacies so that you can succeed where others fail. Similarly people don’t like driven people because they turn themselves into the confident who believes they can succeed where you failed. In other words, that they’re better than you. At university being a nerd, asking questions and generally taking an interest makes the tutors think you’re a smart one. Seeing as how the tutors can’t be arsed actually marking things, they just make up the marks after skimming through to make sure you went along the right lines, if you’ve told them you’re smart they’ll probably guess an A. In climbing the more you tell people you’re going to succeed, the more people start to believe you. When other people start thinking you’re going to succeed it reinforces the belief in your head that you’re going to succeed. If you believe you’re going to succeed you’re a lot more likely to. I find the same with girls. I go dry for a while, fluke a shag and then go on a roll for a while until something knock my confidence, then it’s back to being dry. Hmmm....