Among a sea of soccer, football, and basketball players, the Tran brothers have found a less conventional sport. Their physical activity of choice is scaling walls. Junior Minh-Quan Tran and freshman Minh-Son Tran rock climb several times a week, expending time and energy comparable to those in school-affiliated sports–but with an added risk.
“It’s really intense,” Minh-Quan said. “It’s got a thrill factor, because it’s more dangerous than a lot of other sports. You can injure yourself really easily, but that just makes it more fun.”
While many view rock climbing as a hobby only fit for occasional birthday parties or workplace bonding exercises, the Trans do it in a far more competitive environment.
“Standard competition, right now in boulder season, is usually about six climbs,” Minh-Quan said. “They’re pretty difficult, difficult enough that you probably won’t finish all six. And you get scored based on how far you get on each one and how many times you fall. You have four minutes for each one.”
Minh-Quan and Minh-Son compete on behalf of their gym, Mesa Rim Climbing & Fitness. Team members range from six to 18 years old, and although the sport is individual, each of their performances contribute to a team score.
“We train together,” Minh-Son said. “When we compete, we don’t compete together, because it’s not a team sport, but we represent that team.”
But for the Trans, rock climbing is more than a hobby to fill the time. It has become a bonding experience for their family. In fact, the oldest Tran brother, who graduated from MC last year, introduced his siblings to the sport.
“My oldest brother Minh-Khoa joined the rock climbing club, so I started going to the gym nearby, and that’s where I got into it,” Minh-Son said. “Then I joined the team of the gym we went to.”
Their parents also provide rides and help out at Rock Climbing Club events. Now, even with the oldest off at University of Alabama, the Tran family comes together for the sport they love.