Anyone who knows me or has seen the picture of me in my first post (you know the one of the handsome guy), may have realised (I have been told I look older) I'm a teenager (However normally I'm told I look younger), and recently I have been pondering why I know so few teenagers older than 16 down at my local centre.
Up to the age of 16, there are plenty of young climbers because climbing centres run clubs, but after this age many tend to drop off the radar. But why? (Clearly not because they are spending hours looking at funny cat pictures.)
Unfortutanly I feel that I could go on for hours about this topic and well since you've read this far you may as well read the few I have come up with:
Climbing with a club is expenisive and means you may have to put up with lots of little kids, something no teenager wants to do when they want to focus on something.
Girlfriends and Boyfriends - You get one and all you do is spend time with them, it draws your attention away from everything (in most cases), you don't climb cause you're too busy eating somebodys face.
Om Nom Nom Nom Nom!!! (Technically that's face rape, Ed.)
You get frustrated and fed up - Us teenagers are a hormonal bunch and if something isn't going our way more often than not we have a strop and give up. For a while we work hard to get good, but a sudden blow like loosing in a comp when you've been doing well or just not pushing the grades you want can actually cause a lot of young people to give up in a lot of sports rather than persevering.
Exams and homework - As we all know school gets harder and more demanding as you get older (until you get to uni and then apparently something called alcohol and more time than is good for you is added to the equation) and lots of teenagers are either pushed by their parents to work hard and given very little leniancy towards their social life or they mess up at time management and don't find time to climb.
So since I'm probably the only teenager reading this, I guess everyone else is asking - how does this affect me!? I'll be honest. In terms of your climbing it is probably a good thing, there aren't loads of moody/hyper/noisey teenagers at the wall for starts (however there are students), we aren't showing you up and climbing something better than you (you probably pretend this doesn't happen) and the centre will do more to accommodate adult climbers as there are more of the them.
However I think there is something in having young climbers around, yeah we are annoying, but without us who you going to pass your beta onto? Who are you going to insult for been young!? Who's going to be the next climbing generation!? I think a lot of the older (and by older I mean older than me guys, not 'old' old) climbers I climb with actual like having me around, I'm nice, I want to learn from them and at the end of the day I just want to have fun and do what I love, like any teenager. Nothing should stop a teenager enjoying those days and I think it is a shame I know so few teenager climbers, because how am I going to get a girlfriend if I practically live at my local wall and there aren't any single teenage girls there!?