You may also read this post with a different title, like “Sport and Me” or “Outdoor gears and Me”, but let’s start by the beginning. When I was young, in time where teachers where still asking their students to stand in line from the taller in the back to the shorter in the front, I always been the closest one to the teacher. I only got to my full extension after high school, so all the harm to my self-esteem has been perpetrated during my junior years.
While my teachers was treating me like I was an angel - I always succeed to avoid detention after school even after having committed the worst of childhood crimes - to the other classmates, I was a continuous annoying pain. It was my way to defend myself against judgment and persecution for my lack of vertical inches. No way they will get it easy on me!
It was a pretty good all around technique except in the sport classes. Here’s the teacher didn’t really care about me. The line was mostly the other way around, the taller ones where favored for their athletic superiority while the short ones were the last considered when it was the time to choose the best assets by the team leaders.
I never succeeded to excel in team sports and my parents where not big fans either of our national sports (hockey and baseball). I didn’t grow liking sports in group and the competition around it. When I was a kid, I even asked my mother to stop going to a sport center every Saturday because I was missing all my cartoons! In fact, the reason was that the only sport I performed in was swimming. My mother was also a great cross country skier, so I learned to like it very young. 30 years later, I still practice cross county skiing almost every weekends in winter. During summer I switch my skis for my road bike going, two or three times week, at 30 km/h along side the Lachine canal here on Montreal. Both of those sports are outdoor, near the nature, and they are the perfect exit scenarios to my working life.
I got hook to outdoor, hiking in the woods in the good as the worst conditions, by getting an interest, more like a compulsive fanatic passion, for outdoor gears. I like tech gadgets, but I like even more outdoor equipments. I find the science of it fascinating. The ultimate goal being to feel naked while being protected from the outdoor elements. Meaning that your equipments should be as less heavy as possible for not slowing you down and the fabric of your clothing needs to protect you from the wind, rain, snow, sun, heat, cold while letting your skin breathes as much as possible, pushing the moisture from perspiration out. The equilibrium needs to be perfect and the quest for acquiring the best set of gears can become an obsession.
As for many things in life, like cooking, everything rests in the implementation and use of quality ingredients. To understand outdoor equipments, you need to know how it is done, but more importantly from what. For outdoor clothing, it means to know everything about the fabrics and how, in the field, the overall construction reacts and holds-on to its promise. For this reason I begun to read everything I could find about outdoor fabrics and gear reviews. I bought equipments, tested it in the field under various conditions, sold them, and bought ones I thought better, always in the ultimate goal of finding the perfect match. Once, I knew so much about each pieces of outdoor equipment, memorizing their little names, fabrics, weights, construction details, retail prices, performance on the field and how they compare to each other, that a manager, in a large outdoor retail store, has offered me a job on the spot, telling me that the only thing I didn’t knew was probably the SKU of the items. You learn with time that nothing can be a do-it-all, but certain pieces of gear have been so versatile that I can count on them in mostly any circumstances.
In short this is why I practice solitary sports and I got addicted to outdoor, in the most perverse way, by its outfits.