I train for bouldering at Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus, Brooklyn. It is a scene, as is a lot of Brooklyn.
On a weeknight there will be up to four or five people waiting to try any given problem. There are a selection of hipsters in skinny jeans, newbies on groupons in basketball shorts and rented shoes, people from CRUX with name tags and matching t-shirts, and then there is Ashima Shiraishi a ten-year old with straight across bangs and a big smile. She sends problems in her warm up that I struggle on for weeks.
Ashima is a child in the twenty-something world of the gym. In between problems, you can see her wanting to turn and talk to other climbers lounging on the mats, who kneeling are the same height as her. But as an adult climber what do you say to a small 10-year-old and how is it not creepy when you start talking to her?
But there she is smiling, and humble, like a 10-year-old, who can kick your ass on any problem.