I was too young to remember the times my dad came home with blood on his clothes. It was my older sister who told me how our non-violent mother would cringe at the sight.
Interesting that, even though I was two at the time, my father’s evening work would influence my life and expand my awareness.
The blood wasn’t my dad’s. Not then. His own blood was spilled years before when he boxed for the army.
The blood on my father’s clothes were from young men who, like my father, tried to prove something, make something of themselves in the boxing ring “at a time when boxing mattered.” (Quote by Mark Brown, my first and continuing boxing coach)
(My dad’s in the middle)
But hitting bags and pads matters to me.
Not only because of the fitness aspect, but to serve as a reminder of those who “toughened up” enough to be a better person in Life’s ring.
Participants of this sport or not, think of the lessons learned in boxing metaphors.
(I keep these 1950’s baby rattles in my boxing bag as a reminder)
Ask yourselves these questions:
— Do you feel trapped? Cornered? Are you UP AGAINST THE ROPES.
Try maneuvering to the center of the ring.
— Do you keep yourself from getting hurt, literally or figuratively? PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES.
Do this because, as my dad used to say, “You are your own best friend.”
— Do you care about others? Then you are IN THEIR CORNER.
Make sure you find someone who will be in yours.
— Think you’ve hit bottom? Then you are DOWN FOR THE COUNT.
Do you have the stamina and willpower to get back up even if the odds feel against you?
— Have you gone too far with your criticisms? Then you’ve delivered an illegal A LOW BLOW.
Hurting others will eventually lead to hurting yourself.
— Are you thinking about THROWING IN THE TOWEL? Have you given up?
Sometimes we have to say “enough is enough.” Consider the towel carefully.
— Do you miss dangers coming your way? Do you LET YOUR GUARD DOWN?
How vulnerable are you willing to be?
— Do you ignore rude comments and take adversity in stride? Do you ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES?
Good! Backbones and self-confidence are sure wins.
— Were you luckily interrupted before sh..t hit the fan? Then you were SAVED BY THE BELL.
Who doesn’t love a blessing in disguise?
Are you a person who strives to be a better person?
Then you are a contender.
Be your own champion.
Because, at the end of the day when the rounds are over, you can kick up your feet and know that you fought even when tired, and you put up a good fight.
(painting by C. Dennis-Willingham)