By: Esther Fultz
Have you ever wished you had a weekly required study break to learn a new skill and go to the gym with friends? Cedarville University’s rock climbing course provides the opportunity to do just that.
This physical activity course is taught by adjunct instructor Mark Mathews, who is also the Director of Campus Recreation and Facilities. In his 40 years at Cedarville, he has taught over 100 activities classes.
“My favorite part of teaching these courses is getting to interact with students and teaching them skills that will help them better enjoy the sport or activity,” said Mathews. “Everyone needs to find activities they can do to help stay fit and steward well the bodies God has given them.”
When he was in high school, Carson Lopes was interested in rock climbing but lacked opportunities to do so where he grew up. When he saw Cedarville offered a rock climbing course, he immediately took advantage of the opportunity.
“I was excited to take the course with a professional who could help me grow and critique me rather than just diving into a new environment,” Lopes said.
Like any class, rock climbing comes with unique challenges and opportunities. Lopes was surprised by the difficulty of learning rock climbing terminology but was rewarded with multiple opportunities he didn’t know the class offered, including belay certification and being able to climb at John Bryan State Park.
For Mathews, the goal in all the classes he teaches is longevity and improvement. Students with a variety of athletic abilities take his classes each semester, and while he doesn’t expect novices to perform at the same level as a varsity athlete, he does expect participation and effort from each student.
“Exercise and movement is not just for the athletic, it’s for everyone,” Mathews said. “People with less athletic abilities need to find activities which they can enjoy and gain the benefits of exercise and movement.”
Lopes also encourages students not to be afraid to join an activity class, even if they don’t have friends to go along with them.
“The people who seek out these classes are passionate, excited people who embody the Cedarville culture,” Lopes said. “Nobody’s going to be like, ‘I’m the best, I’m better than you.’ Everybody’s goal is to help one another improve.”
Photo Contribution: Carson Lopes
Esther Fultz is a junior Social Work major and the Off-Campus Editor for Cedars. She enjoys thrifting, writing music, hiking and hanging out with friends.