changed my life. Really.
ago, almost to the day, I sat down with my family and watched Rocky 2. I had previously tried to watch the original
Rocky but gave up when I couldn’t understand a word he said, misinterpreting strongarming
threats to break someone’s thumb as “I’ll break your tongue.” The Italian Stallion and I just didn’t
click. Until Rocky 2. And a lifelong obsession with Rocky and
all-things boxing was born.
Now, at this
point you may be wondering where all this is going, and indeed where, and who,
it is coming from. You thought you were
reading another post by that sadsack whose women have done left him, again, didn’t
you? Well, don’t worry, you’re in the
right place. And I will attempt to
skilfully draw the threads together so that this all makes some sort of sense
by the end.
You see the
thing about boxing is it gets in your blood, and once it has you it doesn’t let
you go. Because boxing is
It is no coincidence
that more films have been made about boxing than any other sport. Boxing is a metaphor for the struggles that
everyone faces in their lives, so much so that a number of terms we use to
describe the shots that life takes at us come directly from boxing – hit below
the belt, knockout punch, on the ropes, feeling like you’ve gone 10 rounds with
Mike Tyson (or, as one wag once said, "I woke up feeling like I’d gone 12
rounds with Audley Harrison. Absolutely
fine." But I digress….).
How did Rocky change my life? Since my
obsession started boxing has been an ever-present in my life and for the last 8
years I have been fortunate enough to have a career in the sport.
that don’t know me yes, you read that right.
This emotionally open, vulnerable sadsack makes a living in the most
macho of sports. Go figure…
You all know
the score here by now, I’m trying to come to terms with the failure of my
marriage, the break-up of a subsequent relationship and adapting to life on my
own and as a single parent. So, please
forgive me and allow me this conceit as I explore the idea of boxing as a
metaphor for life in relation to my present circumstances.
blog has left me pretty exposed. There’s
no hiding place in a boxing ring and there is no hiding place once you put your
innermost thoughts and feelings onto the internet. Boxing has the potential to expose a person
like no other sport, with the very real risk of being rendered debilitated and
unconscious in front of potentially millions of people. Ok, I’ve a way to go before I need to be concerning
myself with what millions of people think of me but hopefully you get the
point. Having your weaknesses exposed
can be a scary thing.
leads to something that every boxer has in spades. Courage.
Facing the risk of standing hurt and exposed before friends, family and
strangers alike is scary. All fighters
have to face and overcome this fear every time that they step into the ring. And they must control this fear. In doing so fighters use their fear, of loss,
of failure, to drive them to heights that even they may have considered
impossible. By confronting our fears, by
shining a light on our weaknesses and vulnerabilities so that we can better
understand them and not be defeated because of them, we can find inner strength
and resources that we didn’t know we had.
built on respect between competitors. In
promoting the sport this is something that I advocate constantly. When competing against a fellow boxer there
is a shared respect based on an understanding of just what it takes to step
into the squared circle and compete using nothing but the strength of your
physicality and mentality. Despite the
adversarial nature of the contest, or to be more accurate because of it, at the
end of a contest there is a shared bond between fighters based on respect and
the understanding that without the opponent, without the punches that were
thrown, we would not be able learn the depths of our ability to endure, nor subsequently
rise to be the best that we can be. And
so it is with life, where the opponent could be an illness, a career setback, a
broken marriage. In facing these challenges
we can respect them for the opportunities that they present for us to find our
best selves, to learn, to improve and to ensure that we are better prepared to
face the next opponent that life will inevitably place before us.
In boxing as
in life we will get knocked down. And we
must get up. Always, we must get up.
Labels: boxing, courage, fear, Rocky, Rocky Balboa