I have received email saying that I am (really just technically) eligible to be nominated for the USAC Young Gun award, because I competed more than 3 years in both ABS & SCS. The criteria for selection include “demonstrates a leadership/mentorship role that takes places outside of the climbing gym” and “demonstrates service to others by volunteering within their community“. I have little do “demonstrate”, but it is not the point. The point is that climbing as sport is so different from other sports, in a good way. In other sports only result/score matters, for example, pro soccer players do not “volunteer within their community” to cut grass in a park for kids to play pickup soccer game; pro swimmers do not clean community swimming pools or teach kids at the beach how to swim in their free time.
More to the point. In last issue #332 of Climbing magazine climber Joe Kinder says:
I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am as a pro climber, having lots of free time to climb and do exactly what I want to do … But at the same time I have a little guilt … I hate the idea of just climbing for myself. Putting up routes allows me to feel perhaps a little less selfish …
He “has a little guilt”, is he earning millions as pros in other sports? I do not think so. While those millionaire pros are showing off who buys more expensive house/car/whatever-stupid-expensive-junk, he feels a guilt because he has time to climb. I think climbing attracts nice people, seriously.