An unheard of sport?
Jonah Kreitzberg, a senior at South Eugene high school, has had experience with serious competition in a sport that is still unheard of to many people. A member and captain of the “Crux Kazoos” climbing team at the Crux Rock Gym in Eugene, Kreitzberg has competed on a national level for three years in a row, and here he gives insight on how climbing has influenced his life.
“It’s super, super dope,” Kreitzberg said, recalling his experience at Nationals.
Last year was his third consecutive year of qualifying for the national championships.
“You’re going on kids who are just wicked strong, and everyone’s life is absorbed by climbing. And, it’s also very humbling because usually in the gym, you’re used to being one of the people who’s more confident and better. But [that’s] not true at all at Nationals,” Kreitzberg said. “You get crushed. There are some kind of mean people, but it’s mostly just really fun. Everyone is just really nice and relaxed. And in terms of sports, it’s probably the most relaxed sport.”
Besides climbing with a team, Kreitzberg helps teach programs for younger kids at Crux. “He finds joy in climbing by teaching other people,” team coach Eric Givens said. “Jonah is a very committed and dedicated climber. He is a very loud, emotional, and visceral climber.”
Others agree about Kreitzberg’s commitment to the sport.
“He’s a capital ‘C’ climber,” Crux employee and friend of Kreitzberg Hayden Banks said. “His hair pleases my eyes.”
Besides climbing, Jonah enjoys hanging out with friends, watching John Green educational videos, and reading.
“The community aspect of climbing is really cool because it introduces you to ‘dirtbagging’ a little bit, which is basically, the idea of anti-materialist, pro time-over-money kind of stuff. And, so, being involved with that community has obviously positively shaped my life,” Kreitzberg explained. “And, also, then outside of climbing, it’s probably going to be like, probably going to have to marry a climber, you know? And have some like climbing kids, and travel around climbing,” Kreitzberg said.
Kreitzberg feels he has found a life’s passion.
“I’ve started realizing that I don’t like taking more than a few weeks off climbing; I get antsy. I’m a pretty lazy person in general, so I’ll use the ‘try hard’ that I have in climbing and apply that to other circumstances,” Kreitzberg said.
Kreitzberg also feels there is value in the activity beyond the climbing gym, and that it is more than the stereotypes people think they know.
“Outside of climbing, [for] college applications, it’s really great. Sometimes it gets a little bit rough because you have to explain that it’s more than just smoking weed and sitting beneath a cliff.”
In addition to climbing, Kreitzberg is in the thick of his senior year at South and all of the milestones and activities associated therein. Students interested in rock climbing may consider visiting Crux Rock Gym or checking out the rock climbing class offered through P.E. at South.