The Fight: Before (or, a dog off its leash)

Wednesday October 1, 2014 (the day before the fight)

I’m not sure why I’m getting so worked up about this boxing match. I know the girl isn’t going to hurt me—she has nothing on any of the Redline women who I know could do some damage if they put their mind to it. There’s nothing to worry about there. When I think about this match in the grand scheme of things, or even the small scheme of things, it doesn’t even matter a tiny bit. It doesn’t even register on the matterometer (yes, I made that word up, but I think it’s going to stick). Whether I win or lose is of no import whatsoever. I have gained so much from this whole experience that if I walked away right now, I’ve already received more reward than I deserve. In training for Haymakers, I have rediscovered my love of writing, which I’ve had since I learned how to write, and this rediscovery will more than likely dictate my next career move in some manner. On top of that, I’ve learned about life. I’ve learned so much about myself and about my body. I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve worked hard and seen the payoff. So what does it matter if I lose this fight? It doesn’t.

When I remember that, the angry birds in my stomach quiet themselves, and I feel my heart rate come back to a sustainable, reasonable level. And something else happens…I remember that boxing is fun. I started boxing because it is fun. I kept sparring because it is fun. Not all the time, but it is fun when I am able to take the pressure off. When I can relax and enjoy the complexity, the athleticism of this sport, it feels the way my dog looks when he’s chasing a squirrel—it feels like being alive, like what I was made to do, like boxing has always been a part of me. When I think of this, I forget my nerves, and I become a dog pulling at the leash, eyes riveted on a squirrel, ready to run with every fiber of my being.

So I will think of my dog today. I will remember why I did this in the first place—not to win, but to learn. And learn I did, and learn I will again tomorrow night. I will play like a dog off his leash, thrilled to be alive, ecstatic to be doing what he loves, what he was made to do.

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