Language Barriers

I was talking to my friend Rich who had just asked me if I was going to the climbing gym that morning.  I had to tell I was not because I was on my way go play a disc golf tournament.  The next time we were talking he was asking me how it went and I had placed middle of the pack in my division but what I was trying to think of was how do I explain in a way he could understand how hard of course it was I had played.  Now for the disc golfers here I can say I shot an 84, +14 and it was 926 rated and par on the course is usually 1000 rated but to a climber none of that means anything.  I ended up describing to him that the course was probably 5.13c ie its really hard.

What I have come to understand in talking with people in different sports and outside of the sports I play and there is a definite language barrier that makes in hard to explain what I actually do.  How do you explain how hard 5.12 is or how good 970 golf is.

The language differences do not end at just the skill or difficulty it takes to do it.  The things we actually do have names that are complete jargon that are far outside of the lexicon of the general public,  anni-forehand flex, offset-tips-crack.  These phrases mean whole lot to a small subset of people and to everyone else they are left to the imagination.

We develop our own language to describe what we do. Its helps make our tribes inclusive.  The language forges a bond with us.  Its not a bad thing it solidifies the community.  At the same time it makes it hard for new people to come in and understand whats going on.

At the end of the day I like the jargon it is fun to part of the tribe, but it just creates a barrier between two groups that I really enjoy and hard to share the experience across those lines.




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