Growing up, my parents always advocated the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle. They were supporters of academic and physical achievements – from encouraging me, and my brother, to succeed in the classroom and on our playing fields. I liken my mom to having the spirit of a truck driver. After school my mom would pick my brother and I up and drive Charlie (my brother) to hockey practice and me to the climbing gym. She learned to belay (manage the other end of the rope) while I climbed so that I could maximize my workout and time efficiency while there. During weekends, she would drive or fly with me to wherever it was in the world that I needed to be. For instance, when I wanted to break on to the international competitive scene when I was 12, she sought out the most experienced climbing coach in the country at the time: Vadim Vinokur, and she would drive me up to New York City every other weekend from DC, and back, sometimes leaving at 4am in the morning and returning at 2am the next day, just so that I could have the opportunity to be the best that I could be at my sport.
We all have our own role models and people that we look up to for unique reasons. I look up to my mom for her independence, her intellect, her strength, and her dedication. Thank you, mom, for encouraging me to be comfortable with who I am and for teaching me to create my own path.