I was so excited to hear about the opening of Memphis Rox earlier last month. Back in college, I started climbing my junior year after taking a rock climbing course for P.E. credit at a local rock climbing gym. I’ll admit that I detested my very first day climbing. I could barely complete any routes, I felt clumsy trying to maneuver around, and upon getting home that day, I had soreness in muscles I didn’t even know existed. I absolutely hated it. Despite that, mostly due to the course fee I had paid and the 18 hours of climbing I had left to complete…I went back. That second day was totally different.
I continued to wobble around and ram into walls, but climbing clicked for me that day. As soon as I got into my harness or stepped up to that bouldering route, everything else on my mind in that moment ceased to matter. All I could think about was which way to move my leg or arm next and how to keep my body moving. Learning to let myself drop and fall back from walls to start all over again was not only physically but also mentally refreshing and challenging. Climbing was such an awesome relief from different stressors in college and I’m overjoyed about having Memphis Rox here.
After learning more about what they stand for and the mission of Memphis Rox, I’m not only overjoyed but grateful! Climbing at the old climbing gym I went to in Michigan definitely felt a little off sometimes…I was usually the only non-white person there whenever I went to get my climb on. Memphis Rox is mindful of this and seeks to be an inclusive gym by making fees flexible and working on a pay what you can system. They offer the option of volunteering a certain number of hours if you can’t pay the admission or membership fee. Rock climbing can get expensive very quickly, creating a barrier for people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who would love to participate, but simply don’t have the money for gear rental, admission, or membership fees.
I’m so happy that they’re not only mindful about this, but also being proactive and making sure this amazing sport is accessible for anyone who wants to get chalked up and out climbing.
I signed up for a monthly membership as a “Hero” and got a $10 discount from the monthly membership fee because I’m a teacher. I haven’t had a gym membership since September when my old gym suddenly shut down. Memphis Rox has a fitness area with free weights, cardio machines, and barbells and locker rooms. Hello new fitness haven! They have a pay what you can juice bar with food as well. Before leaving I swung by to get a smoothie and got the hidden veggie smoothie. So yummy.
Rock climbing proved to be a great positive force in my life back in college and although it’s been a while since I’ve climbed (my arms are still sore from that Sunday climb as I type this on Tuesday), I’m so excited to get back into the climbing groove and support this wonderful place.
If you hate it your first day…go back again. See ya there!