I’m Thomas Lin, 16, and I love climbing. I’ve been climbing for the past 6 years and competing for last 5. As a junior in high school now, I have been to youth nationals 4 years in a row, and I am going to Yeti Elite Nationals for the first time next week (November 9th-13th).
Since I was really young, I’ve been climbing all over the house (as little kids do) — climbing on the counter to reach dishes, stemming between any two walls I could find, etc. But my first time climbing in a climbing gym was when I was 10 at my brother’s friend’s birthday party (at RockreationLA). I felt a bit awkward since my brother (Zac) and all his friends are 4.5 years older than me. Since I couldn’t hang out with them, there was only one thing to do there: climb.
Zac ended up enjoying climbing so much that he joined Rockreation’s competitive climbing team (Rock Warriors). For years, Zac and I played basketball and soccer which meant I was never able to be on the same team as Zac due to our age difference. I joined the climbing team when I was 10 to be on the same team as Zac. From then on the rest is history — I competed, enjoyed climbing more, quit basketball and soccer, and focused on climbing. I’ll never regret it!
Climbing helps me focus and relax. When I’m on the wall, it feels like I’m isolated from reality — free from my burdens and stress. However, this wasn’t always the case. I used to be incredibly stressed for competitions — I wasn't able to focus, I would shake, and wouldn’t make good decisions on the wall.
In order to deal with my stress, I learned mindfulness meditation, breathing techniques, nutrition, and noted what affected my body both good and bad. Now, every aspect of my life incorporates these relaxation and focus tricks. When I’m overwhelmed by school or life in general, I stop and relax. Climbing has allowed me to be mentally prepared for any challenge thrown my way.
Ping pong and playing in the school band are amazing. There is a ping pong table at school and the group I’m in plays every break. While in a hybrid virtual school program, I still go to school but solely to play in the band. I play Bari Sax — an 11lb, 4ft tall saxophone. Just like in climbing, the band community is full of smiles and fun.
You are able to do anything in life. Whatever you choose, do it well and be ready to commit to it!
The shirts and tanks are so soft and the designs are amazing. A teammate glanced at the DS vendor stand and said, “damn that hoodie is sick!”. Then he proceeded to buy it. Oh, also the connection DS has with the community.
You can find Thomas on Instagram at @hatsom1.
Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Stories here.
We hope you have enjoyed these sneak peeks into climbers' lives. We're on a mission to share diverse stories about rock climbing. Let's push the boundaries of who we know as climbers. Let's use our energy and passion for the outdoors to love our environment and inspire one another.
Have someone you think we should feature? Send us a message and let us know!
Until next time!
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November 24, 2022 7 min readRead More
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