Rock Climbing at the Special Olympics, Led by Sophie and Ray? Maybe Someday.

If it were up to Ray, I’m quite certain there’d be an X Games version of the Special Olympics.

He’s my daredevil. The guy hikes Camelback Mountain in the dead of the Phoenix summer; tosses himself and his mountain bike down South Mountain; and last week, he insisted on soloing a climbing route that had recently made the news because the kids who tried it required a mountain rescue (complete with firefighters and a helicopter) to get down.

He’s nuts. And that’s part of what makes him such a good dad. My dad is great, but the hilly-est surface he’ll attempt is a golf course, and he didn’t even force us (much) onto one of those, growing up. Ray hasn’t taken our girls on much outdoors (yet) and I do worry about the day he starts, but for now we’re all content to hang out at the Phoenix Rock Gym.

I don’t normally go along for Ray’s rock gym excursions — partly because the place is swamp-cooled,  mostly because I prefer to hear about the girls’ adventures once everyone’s back on the ground. But yesterday we all ventured forth. Annabelle scurried to the top of a couple of routes — she’s amazing — and for the most part, my job was to keep Sophie out of the way of other climbers.

But Ray did put Sophie in a harness and climbing shoes, and coach her up the wall. She did really well, reaching for the holds like a pro and getting herself all the way off the ground several times. Best of all, she was delighted — cracking up and calling for me to watch, which I did.

Ray’s convinced she’ll be at the top of the wall by the time she’s 6. That, I’m not sure I can watch.

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