I am a Climber - Sang

My name is Sang Nguyen and I am a Climber.

How has climbing changed your life?

Climbing is now my way of getting a good and hard workout in for the day. It’s taught me how to utilize my entire body in ways I’ve never used it before - engaging every bit of muscle and will power to finish a climb, and it helps with problem solving in some cases which leads to better brain function and creative thinking (at least that’s how I see it). And climbing never gets boring because all the routes are different and changes every time (indoor climbing anyways). It’s been a great way to continue to discipline myself to get better and get stronger as a climber. So I push myself to be the best that I can and challenge myself to try harder grades. It also helps break me out of my comfort zone. I’m not usually afraid of heights, but when I’m really fatigued and already high up on the wall, I panic and get scared to fall. I’m still learning to trust in myself, the mats, and the people around me to assure me that I’m safe.

Climbing is a great stress reliever for me, too, because before I would come home from work, drink a few beers, smoke my brains out, and that was that. I didn’t like any other form of exercise because it didn’t interest me enough, so I leaned onto these other vices that “helped” relieve my stress and anxiety because it was easier. With climbing, I can take out all of everything I’ve bottled up for the day onto the wall. While I’m on the route, my focus is there on the wall - everything else I experienced beforehand goes away and I feel free. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people through this sport and have learned a few tricks here and there for climbing too. I’ve been grateful for this sport because of the community that comes along with it. Climbing is the common denominator amongst us and it is the ice breaker in some conversations, but then it goes deeper and stronger connections are made. I think that’s the best thing about this sport.

What is it that brought you to the sport?

I actually came across climbing on a whim. I was just coming out of a low point in my life and felt like I wanted to try something different, something new. One Saturday, my friends invited me to go try out climbing for our first time at one of the gyms here in Austin, and we all enjoyed it a lot. We ended up going almost every weekend, we all bought climbing shoes, we watched youtube videos on climbing, and we haven’t stopped climbing since then. Climbing has been a big part of my life and I don’t know what I would do without it

Who is someone that inspires you?

In terms of the climbing world as a sport, there’s quite a few people - Alex Honnald, Alexander Megos, Adam Ondra, Tommy Caldwell, Daniel Woods, Keenan Takahashi, Nina Williams, Magnus Midtbø, Louis Parkinson, Hoseok Lee - just to name a few. Although, these are all professional climbers and they inspire me to continue to challenge myself as a climber. But the person that’s had the most influence on me lately in life, in climbing, as a person, a friend, and in faith is Angie Johnson. I met her through a climbing group connected with our local church here in Austin. If anyone knows Angie, they know how kind and welcoming she is with everyone she interacts with. She has taught me and shown me what it’s like to welcome and include everyone in climbing as a sport and in life - no matter what their background is.

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