Local Limelight: Sydney McNair

At this point, it’s no secret that our head setter, Syd, is a pretty rad human being. Not only does she set some of the most fun and challenging routes this side of anywhere (our totally neutral and unbiased opinion, of course *cough cough*), but she’s also a Mad Rock athlete and keeps our young crushers on their toes as the head coach of both Club and Team EVO. She’s done a bunch of interviews with the likes of Tick Tape Tighten and Crux Crush, so for our chat with her, we decided to do things a little differently – we didn’t ask her about climbing. Prepare to meet the mastermind who dreamed up your proj:

Where are you from originally and how did you find your way to EVO?

I’m originally from Seattle, WA. I came out to NH to attend Plymouth State and get a degree in Athletic Training (NOT personal training). While in school, Hilary (EVO founder and CEO) contacted me asking if I wanted a job setting and coaching. I told her I would be interested and I guess the rest is history, as they say.

If you had to do a sport besides climbing, what would it be?

Hmm, hard to say, climbing is the one sport I’ve done where I’ve felt really comfortable with myself and within the community. But I guess if I HAD to choose…perhaps gymnastics or skiing. I did both as a kid and enjoyed them.

Favorite color?

Currently turquoise or purple.

If you could have dinner with one famous person (past or present), who would it be and why?

Maybe…Jiro Ono. One, I love sushi. Two, I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi and really appreciated his dedication and philosophy to his craft. Pretty inspiring.

Food you absolutely cannot live without?

Oh man, that’s tough – I really, really love food and it’s so dependent on my mood or the season. Sushi might be at the top of the list, along with sourdough bread and curry (like I said, I love food).

Favorite movie of all time?

Gladiator is one of my top picks for sure.

Favorite book?

Little Sister by Kara Dalkey – a shorter read, but a book I used to read over and over.

What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received?

My old coach, Tyson Schoene, who is now a good friend of mine, once told me to do what is right for me, even if that means walking away (at least that was the gist of it). That was kind of a game changer for me because this was back when I was 16 or 17 years old and it was such a foreign concept to me.

If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

A large cat of some kind, like a cheetah or a tiger…they’re powerful, agile and their movement is quite beautiful.

Next concert you’d go to if money were no object?

I’ve never been to a concert (beyond my sister’s choir concerts) and perhaps as strange as it may sound, I’ve never had much interest in going to a concert. Large groups of people and loud noise is not my thing.

Favorite way to spend a day off?

On my days off, I like to sleep in and bake or cook.

Celebrity crush?

Ha! Interesting, not something I’ve really thought about in a while…umm, who is funny and attractive? Justin Timberlake? Zac Efron? They’re probably on someone’s Hot 100 list, right?

Absolute favorite dog breed?

Right now, Texas Heeler, they’re a cross between an Australian Shepherd and Australian Cattle Dog. So you might get the merle color of an Aussie, with the shorter hair and slightly smaller build of the cattle dog.

Favorite Netflix binge?

Criminal Minds. I watched all 11 seasons on Netflix, I would not recommend watching them when you’re home alone at night in an empty house, especially if you have a very active mind. I did this once and was then terrified that some creepy face would be staring at me from a window as I was turning off the lights to go to bed.

Most embarrassing moment?

Well, I’m sure I’ve had a lot, but one that always comes to mind is from when I was very young – maybe 6 or 7 – and I had just learned how to ride my bike without training wheels. I was riding around my neighborhood with my family and a neighbor waved at me while I was riding. Well, I wasn’t paying attention, I was smiling at them all proud about riding my bike and I ran right into a parked car. One, terrifying. Two, mortifying. Clearly it has stuck with me. Haha.

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