Boxing FAIL

Remember that time when you were watching a ball game and it was clear from the start that the two teams were utterly unmatched? One team took the court or field and began racking up points until it was patently obvious that there was just no way the losing team would be able to recover. Sometimes that’s the point at which the winning coach will pull the first string out and let some of the second stringers, then even the lowest of the bench-warmers get some game time. Or the game continues with the lead players, the score escalates into the stratosphere, the losing team is humiliated, and the spectators leave with a mixture of pity, irritation, and a sense of having wasted a chunk of their day.

There isn’t much good to be said about a crushing defeat.

I recently got routed in the ring. I mean beat down, crunched up, and tossed in the can. It happened fast, it was relentless, and I allowed it to continue for four rounds when I should have stopped — and in fact, tried to stop — at three. I could have stopped at two, even. A combination of factors contributed, but none of them particularly matter any more. What I’m left with is a feeling of having failed to read the signs of the mismatch beforehand, and of having succumbed to the goading voice that said, “Hey, you can’t be a quitter, you have to power through.”

I didn’t learn anything. Anyone who says, “But you proved you’re determined,” is just as much of an ass as I was for allowing it to happen.

There was no satisfaction of a fight well fought. There was only me trying to survive, covering up as much as possible and rarely able to throw any kind of punch at all. My opponent doesn’t earn bragging rights for having crushed someone he was so much better than. He could have (and has, in the past) matched himself to my level and given us both a great sparring session, but he decided not to.

I made one small injury a great deal worse.

And I lost a little bit of my trust in the guy I sparred with.

A couple of bystanders who watched asked me afterward how I felt, and I drew an utter blank. Still drawing a blank. Somebody shook the Etch-a-Sketch and there just isn’t anything there any more; it was a painful and humiliating waste of my time.

It’s not difficult to know how to proceed from here: you just keep training (after allowing the minor-turned-bigger injury to heal) and hope to read the signs better and end it sooner next time.


Image credit: Steve Keys on Flickr

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7 Responses to Boxing FAIL

  1. Alicia Hemphill July 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    Oh my gosh, that so sucks! So, what gives? If he has matched your level in the past, what happened this time? Is that something you can even ask?

  2. Lisa Creech Bledsoe July 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    I’m aware, in retrospect, of why it went wrong. It was human emotions, relational dynamics, timing. I just didn’t do the math: this factor plus this factor with this mixed in equals melee. Blegh.

  3. Andre July 16, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    Uh…geeze. Sorry to hear about that Lisa!

  4. Helen E. H. Madden July 16, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    I’ve had similar things happen in the past in karate classes. I have knee problems, and one day a fellow student started to pull some moves he and I both knew could cause me serious injury. I called him on it, in front of the class, and fortunately my instructor was quick to back me up.

    The fact that no one was in your corner to back you up when you said you were done sucks more than I can say. You may still be drawing a blank on how you feel about that match, but watch yourself carefully. That blank can quickly turn into anger and serious distrust. You need to have a serious sit down talk with your trainer or whoever it was that let the fight continue, and you might want to talk with the person you sparred with, to let him know you didn’t appreciate what he did (if he could have let up, he should have!). If either of these people has any sense at all, they’ll apologize and straighten up. If they don’t, you may want to look for somewhere else to train. You could get injured again, even worse.

  5. Lisa Creech Bledsoe July 16, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    Helen, thanks for the solid advice. I will certainly talk privately to this particular sparring partner. And frankly, the reason we were sparring without our trainers (we had asked permission) is because we’re trusted to know better. So we made a mistake, and I hold myself responsible even as I expect him to hold himself responsible when we get a chance to discuss it. I hope we’re both smart enough to avoid this in the future. Boxing means too much to both of us to screw it up.

  6. Bonnie Mann July 16, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    Well…….I believe that this was the day that I knew I could not stay. In retrospect I should have. This is why I do not like sparring when I am not there. I believe that at least in your case there will not be anymore sparring unless I am there.

    Like you pointed out your sparring partner has always in the past brought himself to your level of ability. The fact that he took it to his and used it to his advantage does not make me happy. Therefore from here forward you will not spar unless I am able to be there. Or another trainer.

    Boxing can be brutal as is without someone not using common sense and maintaining professionalism. That had always been the case in the past and I apologize that it was not during this particular session.

  7. Lisa Creech Bledsoe July 17, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Thanks, Bonnie, and yes, all of my previous sparring sessions with this partner went very well. I think that’s why all of us (including me) thought this session would be fine, even with you not there. There were just some things that all came together that day that made for a crummy session.

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