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Second Place Ain’t Nothing to Scoff At

I never imagined I would be a rock climber. I never imagined the summer after law school would be fun. And I never for a second thought I could grow enough to place in a national competition, but it happened!

It’s hard to put into words when you podium finish in a national competition (let’s be real…so I’ve been told.) But it must be even more of a challenge when the conversation is veiled under layers of a recent graduation from Harvard Law School. Oh, and the looming New York bar exam that soon follows. And not to mention the intricacies of training in a sport that was “picked up” only a few months prior.

Jieun both found and joined Brooklyn Boulders Somerville in spring 2017, largely due to the mirrored studio within the facility in which he could further practice dance. A close friend of his introduced him to the sport of climbing, and with the facility being only a brief 10 minutes from his house, “a series of small events stacked up and eventually blossomed into a truly amazing experience.”  

A couple months into my membership, I figured I should take a climbing class so I could learn to climb better. Due to some scheduling conflicts, the trainer – Alex – asked if I wanted to do something called a Beast Index Trial instead of a climbing lesson. It was apparently a fitness test that the gym encouraged its members to take, and I figured why not. It was only 30 minutes long, but I couldn’t walk by the end of it. Alex had to carry me to the lounge.

After nearly passing out from exhaustion during the Beast Index Trial, Alex encouraged me to try out for a competition called BKBeastmode. BKBeastmode is a fitness and climbing competition that pits qualifying two-person teams from the BKB Somerville, NYC, Chicago, and Denver gyms. I was very wary at first about overextending myself but finally decided to give it a shot and try out for the Qualifiers. I thought, at least it would give me a good reason to exercise and get away from bar studies.

Alex encouraged me to cut out unhealthy habits out of my lifestyle in preparation for the competition. I started working out and climbing every day, eating tons of vegetables and fruits, sleeping at 10 PM and waking up at 6 AM, and even stopped drinking altogether.  

I also met Michael, who is simultaneously one of the strongest and friendliest people I had the pleasure of meeting. He became my partner for the BKBeastmode Semi-Finals and Finals, and we trained until exhaustion nearly every day leading up to the competition. Mike also knew I just started climbing and really sucked at it, but graciously helped me with technique and forearm training.

I never imagined I would be a rock climber. I never imagined the summer after law school would be fun. And I never for a second thought I could grow enough to place in a national competition, but it happened! I’d love to thank some people/places for this experience. To Jeffrey, for introducing me to climbing. To Alex, for pushing me to compete and being an excellent trainer overall. To Michael, for being a badass partner. And finally to Brooklyn Boulders Somerville – for the inspiration, the opportunity, the growth, and the wonderful community.

(And now, time to study for the bar…)

 

Jieun took the leap. From student to savage, he found friendship, fierce confidence and memories to last many lifetimes.

Now, the choice is yours. Or are you a bystander?

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