If you climb at EVO, you probably know Steven Barry—he’s that guy who’s always climbing…only now…he’s not. Almost three weeks ago, Barry was in a jiu jitsu tournament when he hyperextended his left elbow, leaving him with an injury serious enough to stop this serious climber from climbing. We spoke to him during this vulnerable time:
Steve. Let’s start with what it means to you to be a climber.
That’s a whole different blog post… a different can of worms.
Okay we’ll talk about that later. Let’s jump right into the injury.
My left elbow was hyperextended during a jiu jitsu tournament…not much, but just enough.
That was just mere hours before your baby was born, correct?
Umm she was born 24 hours later, but, yes…hours.
I guess that’s a whole different can of worms. Let’s talk about that later. What kind of annoyances have you been experiencing, living with an injury?
Well, I have to take my shirts off differently. Also, this might sound weird, but I’m right handed and for the past few years I’ve been practicing using my left hand, to balance things out. I can’t do that anymore because a lot of things hurt; changing, opening doors, driving doesn’t always feel great. Sometimes I do this thing where I drive with my knee. Riding a bike isn’t fun anymore, either, which is sad.
A Bike Similar to Steve's
So you can’t practice your ambidextrous behaviors?
It’s more of a desire than an actual behavior.
Right. That’s tough stuff. How has this impacted your climbing? That must be the toughest.
It makes me sad and frustrated. It also makes me feel the need to refocus my energy on a different physical pursuit.
Have you cried?
How long do you anticipate not climbing for?
8 weeks total.
Wow. When was the last time you went that long without climbing?
(Long pause) 2009.
You mentioned you’d like to refocus your energy on some of your physical pursuits…does that involve chasing your baby around?
Kind of. She doesn’t move much. But if she did move, I would chase her. I am somewhat committed to racing a half marathon in October. Not running. I know I can run a half marathon. My intention is to race it. That’s kind of where my refocus has taken me…my temporary refocus, just for clarity.
So you’re not going to become a marathoner?
That is correct. Absolutely not.
What do you miss most about climbing?
My climbing partners and the time spent adventuring with them outside. Or, just sharing a session with them at the gym.
What kinds of things do you have to tell yourself to get through this hard time?
I basically repeat the same thing all day: if you just don’t climb now, you can climb later. When I’m coaching, I tell the kids that ultimately, our goal as climbers is to work on endurance so we can climb longer. Climb better to climb longer. I kind of use that thought process to back my injury statements about myself.
I like it. Anything else we should talk about?
I guess honestly I’m somewhat fortunate to be injured when I am. I’ve been told that there’s no better time to be injured than right after you’ve had your first born.
Are you going to teach your baby to climb?
We’ll talk about that later.
Yeah that’s a whole different can of worms.
Can I take a picture of you pretending to cry?
Should I put chalk all over my face?