Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A New Expedition

“The true journey of the expedition is the journey of the mind.” (Dahle, 1) Instead of opening with a description of the expedition team and the lengthy preparations involved, No Horizon Is So Far opens describing the immense mental battle involved in any expedition. This sets the book with a very different tone from one moving chronologically through the journey. I love nature. I love outdoor adventures. But my answer to whether any of these adventures would be worth it is no. Maybe it’s not that simple. If I knew that when push came to shove I could go back to my pre-journey life after, than yes, it would be worth the pain during. But of course that takes half the point out of the question. When reading the first chapter of this book, however I began to admire this lifestyle. Bancroft writes, “We were battling for every inch.” (Bancroft, 4) Maybe it’s because I’m an avid sports fan as well as a sucker for motivational sports movies, but this quote really made me relate more to the journey of mountaineering.
It reminded me of the inches speech, which I’ll post along with this blog. Somehow that one quote made the “worth it” part clearer for me. It’s not about the final product; it’s about each inch. The mountain is kind of like the other team. They are not our enemy, because without them we couldn’t play. We respect them and at the same time want to defeat them. Beginning the book this way made me see their journey in a different light than the others, and made me very excited to get the chance to meet Ann Bancroft. You go into one of these expeditions with the possibility that you might not succeed, which in my mind makes you have all the more to lose. I have yet to finish Bancroft’s book, but with this start I am looking forward to continuing to hear her narrate the journey.

Al Pacino's Inch By Inch speech from Any Given Sunday

I don't know what to say really.
Three minutes
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
we heal
as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.
We are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me
we can stay here
and get the shit kicked out of us
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I uh....
I pissed away all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately,
I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?

(replace football with climbing or adventuring or sail-skiing or whatever)

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