One area in the New, Bubba City, got its name because prolific climber Kenny Parker and friends thought some other climbers took route naming too seriously. “In climbing, as in all sports, everyone thinks their attitude is the best. We were just having fun, and we never thought what we were doing had any greater meaning,” says Parker, who has almost 30 years of New River Gorge first ascents. At that time, he says, “Staying out of the line of fire with the locals, laying low, was always a strategy.” He says back in the 80s and early 90s, much of the land, like Endless Wall, was still privately owned. If one wanted to continue to climb there, standing out or directly disrespecting the locals was nonsensical. The Legend of Bubba How did iconic rapids and climbing routes get their names? Names have long been used to either nod or jab at others. Advocates for two styles of climbing, traditional (trad) and sport, have butted heads since the latter was invented. Trad climbing requires gear like cams, nuts, and sometimes hexes, which the climber must place in natural cracks for protection as they climb upward. Sport climbing allows for bolts to be drilled into the rock every few feet so that climbers only have to bring quickdraws to clip into the bolts as they lead. The trad-or-die tribe believes that sport climbing defaces the rock and allows for the first-ascensionist to rappel down the face, drilling bolts in preparation for a ground-up push. Sport climbers see their preferred process as an inevitable evolution of climbing, opening up more diverse rock that would otherwise be inaccessible. The Hookup Spot Rapids often get their names from happenstance or a comical turn of events. Lost Paddle, one of the Big Five rapids of the Upper Gauley, found its label during a 1969 trip devoted to naming the river’s rapids. In a 2017 piece for Highland Outdoors, editor and raft guide Juniper Rose relays pioneer Gauley kayaker Jim Stuart’s account of the naming trip. “Crew member Barb Brown’s paddle was launched from her grip in the class V rapid just below the confluence with the Meadow River.” Brown swam, her paddle gone. Miraculously, “years later, Brown’s paddle was found with her name engraved on it. It was returned to her, but by then, the name Lost Paddle had been imprinted in the legend of the Gauley,” Rose writes. Others still, like Kenny, might have resisted it in the past but came to see the benefits of each. “Ethics wars between trad and sport were huge in the 90s; people got into fights over it,” he says. “Still, there was a lot more seriousness to the famous areas [like Yosemite]. Here, some people got serious about it, but most of us had a life and jobs outside of climbing and not enough personal energy to crusade.” This story is told in part by Saved from the Blasphemers, a route which was put up on trad gear. When someone returned to bolt it as a sport route, they were stopped by local trad climbers. Flip through any climbing guidebook today, and you’ll find a range of colorful, silly, or cryptic route names: Pudd’s Pretty Dress, Death by Chewing Insects, I’m So F’in Hungry, and Eye of the Narwhal. Names of rapids can be just as out there but are often more candid. Iron Ring on the Gauley River is named for a big iron ring embedded in the rocks above the class V rapid. The four drops of Pipeline on the James River in Virginia were creatively dubbed First, Second, Third, and Fourth Drop. Not all river feature names are as universally accepted as climbing routes, either. Want to start an afternoon-long debate with some James River paddlers? Ask whether one break in an old Richmond dam is called Grummans or Suckers. Outside of the sport itself, names also point to paradigm shifts in the history of regional recreation and external tension that inevitably arises from priorities competing for the resource. A lifelong James River paddler, Charles Ware recounts the fight against hydroelectric power in the early 80s. One firm’s proposal became a serious threat to river ecology and recreation, prompting Coastal Canoeists and American Whitewater to establish a group to oppose the plan: the Virginia Rivers Coalition. Sometimes, two threads of regional climbing history come together in one weird name. Kenny Parker relays that when he was younger, many climbers started at Seneca Rocks before the New matured into a hotspot. At Seneca, they looked up to one of the most impressive climbers of the day, the late Cal Swoager. A Vietnam War veteran, Cal partied hard and climbed harder. As one story goes, after staying up late then finally topping The Bell, establishing perhaps the first 5.12 at Seneca, he bent over and emptied his stomach off the other side of the cliff. A short profile of Parker in Williams’s New River Rock Vol. 2 guidebook, appropriately titled Kenny Never Wore Lycra, highlights his desire to blend in rather than stand out like many neon-clad climbers of that era. “Bubba” became tradition, and today it lives on in dozens of route names, from Peanut Bubba and Jam (a 40-feet 5.8 trad route at Bimbo Buttress) to Hubba Bubba (a 60-feet 5.9 sport route on the Head Wall). Trad vs. Sport One of them, let’s call him Mark, had the unfortunate habit of sleeping in the buff. Mark had gotten up in the night to use the bathroom donning only boots and birthday suit. Kenny says, “I get woken up to someone outside; I’m like, ‘Mark, what the hell is going on?’ He had gotten caught outside naked by these two girls,” who were supposedly there to bait guys meeting up for other reasons. Kenny, after getting dressed, exited his tent to deal with the situation. The intentionally-misspelled Travisty is another example of trad-sport tension. This route’s origin story is told by Mike Williams in an article published on his blog “Mike’s Ironclad Beta” in 2012. When a visiting climber named Travis bolted a hard climb at Beauty Mountain, he drilled some holds in the rock to make it easier. “After his departure, the holds were filled in with epoxy and when Harrison Dekker completed the climb [in 1991] in its natural state, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to exploit the unfortunately-named equipper. Years later, an inferior, traditionally protected variation to the route was done and dubbed the Tradjedy.” “Next thing I know, a car comes rolling up, and it’s their boyfriends. One guy gets out, but the girls talk him down, having figured out I was fine.” Parker proffers a beer as a peace offering, but the second man wants to start a fight. “I’m getting shoved while the girls try to break it up.” Eventually, things simmered down. “I think I hung out with them for awhile, and they went away. But the very next weekend, with the same group at the exact same spot, we were woken up again by the same girls,” this time asking for Parker. They hung out for awhile, locals and climbers. When asked what route name arose from all that, he says, “A number of them.” Visitors to the Blue Ridge often remark that the names of our mountains are imaginative, if not abstract: Reddish Knob. Old Rag. Little Stony Man. Used as landmarks, these peaks’ straightforward, descriptive monikers made sense. But as future generations began using the landscape less for orientation and more for chasing its many world-class crags and rivers, naming traditions evolved to tell the exciting, hilarious, and tumultuous histories of climbing and paddling in the region. Another unforgettable Kenny tale revolves around one unofficial campsite. Apparently unbeknownst to climbers, a certain bridge was a known local spot for covert coitus. Because of its proximity to a popular crag, it also became a logical spot for visiting climbers to camp. “We would drive up and sleep at pull-offs in the gorge. There had been incidents involving law enforcement,” Parker describes, “but it was sort of under the radar. We had encounters where locals thought we were there [for hookups].” He describes how one time a group of climbers were camped out at the spot, some in tents or just sleeping bags, some in trucks. Mike Williams, a climbing guide and author of the New River Rock guidebooks, has been climbing in the New since 1998, establishing many of the most popular routes. He points out that “a lot of tall tales” characterize the region and climbing in general. “It’s an oral history. Someone puts up a new route, and they might note all the things that happened that day,” like who was with them and what they were thinking. Any of those factors could contribute to the new route’s name, but some climbers take it more seriously than others. A ‘Travisty’ Swoager was welcoming and encouraging to budding climbers and sent routes with Kenny at Seneca. Some time later, he became a born-again Christian and part of the development of climbing at the New. His passion for his religion fed into nearly every route he established, from the ever-popular Leave it to Jesus to Team Jesus and Never Alone (all first ascents in 1985). Later routes began to play off the legendary Swoager’s love for the cross, and routes like Bubba Meets Jesus, a 60-feet 5.11a established by Dave Merritt, were born. To increase awareness of the issue and publicize local river recreation, they conceived of an urban whitewater race day and sought sponsorship. The first downriver race in 1983 was roughly eight miles long and included the infamous Hollywood rapid, with a take-out at Ancarrow’s Landing, well below the Falls of the James. It was essential that everyone run through one particular dam, in the middle of downtown Richmond, correctly, and while local participants knew the maneuver well, the Coalition thought visiting competitors should have a visual marker. Just before the race, the river was low enough to allow Ware to paddle out to the dam in a canoe and spray paint two giant Xs on the bridge pillar ruins that abutted the proper line. The paint, supplied by a utility opposed to the power proposal (imagine that!), was said to wash out in a few days. But there the Xs remained for ten years, until they were updated to skulls and crossbones. The name of the line, Xs, was given in the 1985 race and has stuck ever since. As for the electric proposal, it was foiled. The descendants of those regional pioneer paddlers, like Ware’s son John, continue to run the James’ class I-IV rapids, while other rivers around the world continue the fight against hydroelectric dams. Names or rapids and routes can be steeped in mythology. When asked what mythology in climbing means to him, Mike Williams puts it succinctly: “Mythology doesn’t have to be true. It’s an oral history, often based on a sort of campfire mythology.” Embellished details, memories fogged by both time and intoxication, different versions of the same event… Humans are adept, if not objective, storytellers; we’ve named everything since the dawn of language. The mountains and rivers couldn’t care less what we call them, but no matter what’s in a name, the act of naming lets someone leave their mark on history, cement in some small, symbolic way their side of a great story.
The Citi Open in Washington, scheduled to start with Aug. 13 qualifying, was called off Tuesday because of what tournament manager Mark Ein said are “too many unresolved external issues, including various international travel restrictions as well as troubling health and safety trends.”The men’s and women’s pro tours both have been suspended since March and are planning to return next month. The first event on the most recently announced calendar is a women’s tournament in Palermo, Italy, starting Aug. 3.With Washington’s hard-court tournament now gone, the first chance for men to play sanctioned matches will be the Masters-level event usually played in Cincinnati that was moved to the site of the U.S. Open, starting Aug. 22.That is to be followed by the U.S. Open, beginning Aug. 31.___ “These adjustments reflect the public health situation at this time and the varying numbers of COVID-19 cases across different geographic areas of the state,” the UIL said in its announcement.___Danielle Collins has been kicked out of World TeamTennis for breaking the league’s COVID-19 protocols.WTT CEO Carlos Silva says Collins left The Greenbrier resort hosting all of the matches during the league’s three-week season and went out of the state of West Virginia.“The protocols have been put in place and communicated numerous times to protect the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff,” Silva said. That number is up from 72 in the union’s last report on July 10.On Monday, the NFLPA and the NFL reached agreement on COVID-19 testing as rookies begin reporting to training camps. Most veterans come in next week, though some players rehabbing injuries could report this week.Players will be tested daily for the coronavirus for at least the first two weeks of training camp, per the league’s new testing protocols. After two weeks of daily testing, if the positivity rate of those tests falls below 5% among players and team individuals with close access to them, testing would go to every other day. If the positivity rate doesn’t fall below that threshold, daily testing would continue until it drops.___ Norris was cleared to rejoin the Detroit player pool and said he threw a bullpen session Tuesday. He has a simulated game Thursday.Norris confirmed his positive test earlier this month to the Detroit News, but he said Tuesday he got the initial result June 23. “That was the test we took down in Florida. I was obviously super bummed, but my symptoms had pretty much cleared up by that time,” he said. “Once the Phillies camp had that little outbreak, they shut our camp down. … I didn’t know I was positive until I got to Detroit.”Norris said he was taking precautions while in Florida.“It was crazy down there. Everything was like open and semi-normal, but I wasn’t partaking in all that,” he said. “I just kind of figured I was doing enough to not get it.” The Latest: Tigers’ Norris throws bullpen session in return ___Swimming governing body FINA is giving almost $6.5 million to help athletes prepare for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.FINA says it wants to help athletes who “endure hardships related to their training and competitive opportunities due to the pandemic.”The plan includes $4 million for at least 160 national federations to support athletes with expenses for training, competitions and living over the next year.A further $2 million will support 100 scholarships for athletes who currently do not have Olympic qualifying standards to prepare at national or continental centers. FINA supports regional bases in Russia, Senegal, Thailand and the United States. July 21, 2020 Pole vault world record holder Armand “Mondo” Duplantis is headlining the event.The announcement comes as other European track meets plan to bring fans back. Tickets are on sale for the Diamond League meet in Monaco next month and organizers in Lausanne are staging a pole vault competition in the city which could have 5,000 fans if Swiss authorities agree.___This season’s Scottish Cup final will be played midway through next season.The Scottish soccer federation says the pandemic-delayed competition will be completed on Dec. 20. That is more than seven months after the original date for the final on May 9. A Russian team playing in the Kontinental Hockey League has withdrawn from a pre-season tournament after 20 people from the club tested positive for the coronavirus.Avangard Omsk general manager Alexei Volkov says the positive tests come from players and members of team staff who were tested during training camp. Volkov adds that the people are in isolation and that most don’t have obvious symptoms.Avangard was scheduled to play in a pre-season tournament from Aug. 4-9 in Sochi.The last KHL season was cut short midway through the playoffs when the coronavirus pandemic made international travel difficult.The KHL is aiming to start the new season on Sept. 2 and expects to finalize the calendar after a board meeting scheduled for next week. Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Detroit Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris says he found out about his positive test about a month ago, but his COVID-19 symptoms were already clearing up by then. Storied Russian hockey club CSKA Moscow says that seven players have tested positive for the coronavirus.The club says the unnamed players tested positive Tuesday and that none of them are displaying symptoms.CSKA says in a statement the team has been tested for the virus each day since returning from vacation.The announcement comes hours after another Kontinental Hockey League club, Avangard Omsk, said that it was withdrawing from a pre-season tournament following positive tests for 20 people. That figure included players and staff.___ Grants totalling $460,000 will go to continental swimming bodies to distribute.___The ISTAF track meet in Berlin has outlined plans to have up to 3,500 spectators in attendance on Sept. 13.Organizers say they have developed a wide-ranging plan to ensure spectators stay healthy but haven’t revealed specifics. They were hoping for up to 45,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin before the pandemic.Meet director Martin Seeber says he hopes it will be “a first small step back to normality.” Norris said his symptoms didn’t seem major at first — he woke up sweating a bit and achy — but in retrospect, he realized those symptoms may have been more significant.“The heavy symptoms only lasted a few days,” Norris said. “A few days after that test, I was like, ‘I feel like 100%.’”He said he sent out a message to the team telling them not to take the virus lightly.___The NFL Players Association says 95 players are known to have tested positive for the coronavirus. Collins is a 26-year-old American who was a semifinalist at the 2019 Australian Open. She has been ranked as high as No. 23 and currently is No. 51.She was playing for the Orlando Storm at WTT, which took all nine of its teams and put them at The Greenbrier, where the season began July 12 and ends Aug. 2.The WTT is not affiliated with the WTA or ATP professional tours, which have been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic and plan to resume next month.___The tournament that was supposed to mark the official return of men’s professional tennis amid the coronavirus pandemic has been canceled. AUSTIN, Texas — Texas will delay the start of the public high school football season for its largest schools by a month as the state grapples with a recent surge of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths.Instead of starting practice Aug. 3, those schools can now start Sept. 7. The first games can be played Sept. 24, a month after the originally scheduled opening weekend. The University Interscholastic League said it focused the delay on larger schools as many of them are in the states largest metropolitan areas, which have been hit hardest by the surge of virus cases. Some school districts are already changing their calendars to delay the start of the academic year, or to begin the year with several weeks of online classes. The Houston school district, the largest in the state, won’t meet on campus until mid-October.The UIL’s announcement said it also anticipates that not all schools will start at the same time and could face disruptions during the season. The competition was stopped at the semifinal stage. Defending champion Celtic will play Aberdeen and Edinburgh rivals Hearts and Hibernian will meet in the other semifinal on the weekend of Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at Hampden Park in Glasgow.Organizers say players who would ordinarily be barred from playing for a second team in the same competition can play for their new club even if they were earlier fielded by a different team.The 2020-21 season in the Scottish league will start on Aug. 1. The 2019-20 league season did not resume after the lockdown and Celtic was declared champion based on average points per game.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Premier League players could face the prospect of playing games nine days before the start of the 2022 winter World Cup in Qatar.Draft plans have been shared between clubs outlining the Premier League schedule around the tournament, being held from 21 November to 18 December.Fixtures could take place on 12 November and resume on 26 December, eight days after the final. The season would also kick off one week earlier and finish a week later.It means that there would be only six weekends without Premier League games.The issue will be discussed at the next Premier League shareholders’ meeting in November.It is understood that Championship games will not take place during the World Cup, but the break for the second tier might not be as long as in the Premier League.Leagues One and Two will continue during the tournament.Any such proposals would clash with national associations’ plans, given they usually allow several weeks for their players to prepare for the tournament.A winter break will be introduced to the Premier League for the first time this season in order to give players a rest.But it has been suggested that will be scrapped in the 2022-23 season, raising questions about player fatigue.UEFA has said a decision on the scheduling of that season’s Champions League and Europa League will not be made until 2021.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram