You knew this. I knew this. But periodically I’m reminded.
Last night I went 4 rounds (at the end of my workout, I must add, because I’m vain. Also a masochist.) with a good friend and freaking awesome sparring partner at my boxing gym.
Sinclair is a phenomenal peer coach; he’s forever smiling and goofing around with the kids, and yet he moves so fast on the bags and in the ring you’ll wonder if he’s real, and not just a ghost. You punch, he’s not there. Except for that blinding mouthguard-enhanced grin.
He also spontaneously breaks out and dances. In the ring, in the gym. He just a dancin’ kinda guy. I love Sinclair.
And yesterday he offered to give me some rounds in the ring and I took them before he could change his mind.
All my joy comes out when I fight well, but with someone like Sinclair, it comes out even if I’m tired and draggin’ ass, which I was.
Somewhere in the middle of the second round, Sinclair did a little stutter step, looked off to the left, and before I could pivot he nailed me with a gorgeous stiff right. I stopped in shock — not because the right stung (it did), but because the whole combination was so unexpected and… so pretty! So danceable! And damned effective.
I immediately demanded that he do it again.
Well of course he loved that. He laughed and took me to the whupin’ shed again. And this time I tried to watch for it, but he still caught me. Fast boy.
I made him stop, of course, and insisted he show me the move. He did, patiently demonstrating several times and encouraging me to try it.
I got it in my mind, we bumped gloves and circled, I launched my offensive and waited for my opening.
Whoop, I slipped it in, and found myself reeling from his counterpunch. I say counter punch, but he actually anticipated my tricky new move and prevented it! That wily rat. Taking advantage of a mere uneducated girl. (See what cards I pull when I want my way?)
I shouted my outrage, and dug in for a battle.
He told me to bring it, and I did. What I had left, anyway. I caught him once or twice with a power right (my fave) and a couple of inside shots in the clinch, but I held off on the tricky new move, instead opting for what I knew worked.
That and any other slop I had left.
He shouted for our coach to come over and watch just as the bell for the fourth round sounded.
Crap. Tired as I was, I scraped the bottom of the barrel and dove back in. I had one goal: pull the new trick in front of Coach Massey and give Sinclair a little party favor to remember me by.
And I did it!
I was so overjoyed at catching him clean that I turned around in the ring (don’t ever do that, boys and girls) and demanded acknowledgement from Coach Massey. Sinclair was laughing his head off behind me.
Massey tried not to grin. “You need to sell that move better,” he commented dryly. “You got to look off in the direction you’re stepping off in. Make him believe it. Then the right.”
I sighed happily, and plowed back into my round.
Massey had 6 succinct words for me, as I staggered out of the ring.
“You gotta get in ring shape.”
He’s right. I’ve been out, maintaining “normal athlete” fitness levels, but ring fitness is a totally different level, and after my last fight, I took a break from it for a season.
But damn, people, it just feels so good to fight.
It’s it’s own motivation, truly.
There’s plenty of joy in there for you, too.
Image: That’s me in the gold and black, fighting in Atlanta (my second fight).