Sports are hard. Everything everyone does here requires some amount of skill – pretty serious skill that takes a lot of time to acquire.
There are soooo many barriers to even starting to get good at something here. You have your work schedule, the fact that it’s really hard to get motivated when you’re hungover, you just can’t seem to find the perfect day to wash your hair and your friends are all really good at it already, and when you go with them, you just feel like the newbie who is holding everyone up.
With all of those barriers, there’s still one more: Having the right gear. If you don’t have the right gear for whatever you’re doing, you’re going to hate it. You’ll feel like the only one who is just too clumsy or not athletic enough to do it. If your gear sucks, you’re going to suck.
Get good gear, and make it easier on yourself. I’m not saying you have to drop an entire year’s salary on it (though you easily could), but don’t be trying new things on gear that gets in your way and makes it even more difficult than it already is! If you do, you’ll hate it so much, you will come up with reasons to hate it that have nothing to do with the sport. You’ll go on rants about hippie climbers, reckless snowboarders, snobby skiers, drunken boaters, idiotic stand-up paddle boarders, obsessed fisherpeople, whatever. Don’t be that guy. Just get the gear and have some fun.
— Lacey Black Hate it
Part of this has everything to do with my own jealousy, shortcomings and insecurities. When it comes to outdoor, gear-laden activities that almost define this region, I want to do all of the things. Often though, it’s simply a matter of gear – knowing what to buy, affordability – keeping me from not only doing the thing, but from all the social and health benefits as well. And then the resentment flares when I learn of yet another activity people do here that requires gear. Like stand-up paddle boarding, which I didn’t know existed before I moved here two years ago. I saw someone on the Animas apparently canoeing on her feet on what looked like a surfboard. All I could think: Great, yet another activity I have to feel bad about not doing.
I got the same insecure feelings once at Lemon Dam. A friend and I were merely hiking up the trail in the snow, everyone else swishing or clomping by on skis or snowshoes. I started to resent the gear, as if the quality of the nature we are privileged to live in and near is only as good as the equipment we strap to our feet and bodies.
And don’t get me started on those yawn-inducing gear snobs, those diminutive in spirit and grace who define themselves and judge others by the brand, quality or assumed holiness of their gear. They make me never want to pursue any outdoor, gear-laden adventures, just so I can avoid crossing paths, having to rip from their bodies whatever amazing gear they worship, barbarically mangling before their eyes the physical embodiment of their snobby gear elitism that I thought I’d seen the last of in seventh grade.
— David Holub