Name me a child—or adult—who doesn’t like Spiderman. I have one: my mother-in-law, Malu Mendez. She dislikes spiders. No, make that hates spiders. Anything brown and web-like and crawling with eight legs, she stays at least 957 feet away. But Spiderman? Because of Jana, her grandchild, she’s willing to catch a glimpse of the movie.
Spiderman is in Cebu! No, make that Spider-men. They number hundreds. Young and old. Some as young as four and some as old as 50. They come in different shapes, short and tall. They all share one passion. Crawling. Vertical crawling. They love to stare up the ceiling, plant their four legs on the wall and climb.
Spider-men. Wall-climbers. The same species.
The first time my daughter Jana, now eight years old, tried wall-climbing was two years ago. Jourdan Polotan, the muscleman of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), invited John Ligan and Ferns Uy and our children to Metrosports.
At first, Jana trembled at the sight of the wall. It stood 24 feet tall. She sat frozen. Then here comes her dad to the rescue… just like the superhero… Spiderman. Never mind the sweaty palms and Ferrari piston-pounding heart beat, I crawled up, up and away. Aha! I told myself.
Jana laughed. She laughed so hard. Why? I found out later: she said I looked like a giant lizard! Then she tried it. Right hand up, left leg up. Step by step, she reached the summit. Fast forward…
Today, Jana is Spider-woman. Since that first climb, we’ve been back every month or two; in each visit, she climbs at least 15 times! Wall-climbing is exhilarating. It’s fun. Here’s why…
1. Wall-climbing builds courage. Believe me, as a first-timer, it’s scary. And that’s the point. To take a risk, to try something different. In life or in business or in wall-climbing—you’ve got to be scared, at first. If your heart’s not pumping full blast, then you’re not taking a risk. Let’s say you’re halfway up—at 12 feet—and you look down. You want to climb down. You don’t. Instead, you look up and aim for the sky. You climb. Once the summit is reached with your bare hands, you grin and scream, “Yes! I made it to the top!”
2. Wall-climbing means child bonding time. John Ligan climbed with his daughter Alison. They did it together, side by side. What a sight! You’re hanging up on air, your daughter’s looking at you and she’s got that worried look, but you smile, give her instructions and say, “You can do it!”
3. Wall-climbing teaches perseverance. I’ve seen Jana shouting the words “Falling” (the signal for you to be lowered) and wanting to stop midway when her instructors urge her on and say, “Almost, Jan… you can do it!” She pushes a few more climbs and makes the top.
4. Wall-climbing is to feel relaxed. Same with life. Even when you’re hanging on to a small form of clay, you’ve got to breathe deep, not look down and not get panicky. Stay cool. That’s a motto in life and in climb.
5. Wall-climbing is safe. In Metrosports (called Vertigo Wall Climbing), look for Tony Go, the head instructor (assisted by Bernie Yu and Jack Culi). They’re a good team. Their English is perfect. They’re polite. They don’t just hold the rope to make sure you’re securely fastened. They teach you. They give you tips. They demonstrate. We asked Tony, who had been wall-climbing for 10 years, to give us a demo. He slipped on his special shoes, covered his hands with powder, and walked vertical. He climbed the most difficult wall—the same one you see on TV with those spiders hanging upside down.
Rates? Reasonable. In Metro Sports, for non-members, it’s P110 for four hours.
Back to Jana: After 109 or so climbs, I no longer tremble watching her brave the 24-foot summit. My only fear? It’s when I climb and she calls me by another name and not Spiderman…. Daddy lizard.