As a long-time gamer, I've always found physical exercise to be a strain, a pointless exertion with no real reward. Team sports have never been interesting since my individual contribution is a fraction of the total. Tennis, badminton and the like mean you have to either get coaching to get better or you play against someone my level, but my level's always been utterly rubbish, so finding someone with an interest in going once or more a week has been hard. Truly individual sports like swimming, running or just going to the gym to pump iron require a determined effort that has no real reward. I mean, great, I can swim 2 laps more than before - it's the same pool, the same length, over and over again.

When I came to university, I decided that I would try my damnedest to find a sport I could really enjoy. Freshers' Fair was the main club-finding event and as I circled the fields covered in stalls I was silently cursing the utterly boring sports represented. Football, rugby, hockey, dancing, curling, bleh. It was by chance then that I happened upon the "extreme sports" section of the fair, where some bright mind had rented a revolving climbing wall, and on a friendly bet from a friend, I had a go at it. 5 minutes later, utterly exhausted, I had signed up to the mountaineering club mailing list.

Now, I find my views on the whole physical exercise part of life turned upside down. Climbing has very tangible rewards - you climb, you get stronger, you get better, you can climb harder routes, climb them faster. The more you climb, the more of the sport you get to experience. From always having a top rope to clipping your own rope in - where every mistake means you fall 2-3 metres before the rope comes into play. This was my promised land, of meaningful exercise that was fun, challenging and not just doing the same motion over and over again.

It strikes me now that my major issue with conventional sports was the repetitiveness. In football, you kick the ball, in swimming, you do the same 5 strokes over and over again. It's perfecting one motion, making it efficient, better - but on the whole, it's still the same ballgame, still the same motion. This new perspective on the issue has revealed a facet of my personality that I wasn't aware I had before - a quick disillusionment with the conventional, the same.

Perhaps everyone has that aspect to their personality, but I'm not entirely convinced. If so, why is it that some people go through their whole lives doing the same routines, typing up report after menial report in their professional lives, only to take a break from it all by swimming the same pool back and forth and back again?

In summary, I'm glad I've found my calling, but now I've got the new issue that every time I go climbing I find myself thinking I should go more often. It's a pleasant feeling, yet disturbing at the same time, because it's an entirely unfamiliar feeling.