Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting

Fight Night from Lisa Creech Bledsoe on Vimeo.

Elton says it and I believe it. So a few of the boxers on our team loaded up and headed out to Fayetteville to check out our competition. None of us were fighting so we were free to watch and feel terrified, motivated, or confident, depending on what we saw in our divisions.

There ended up being about five good fights and six barroom brawls (sloppy fighting, illegal moves, etc, you’ll see one on the video). There was only one women’s fight, and even though it was not my division I was thrilled to see it anyway.

I came away feeling both terrified and excited, a peculiar mixture I’m experiencing more and more with boxing. Since I broke my rib I’ve been wary about sparring but I’ve also wanted very much to get in the ring with my most trusted sparring partners. I just started working out with my team again and have a lot of catching up to do, but my trainer won’t let me in the ring just yet. I’m hoping to convince her to let me in this coming weekend (which will be week 6 post-injury) to at least work on offense with someone. No danger to my rib. Yet.

After the fights, I asked a teammate who supports him in this crazy endeavor. Family? Friends? Is there anyone who will listen to him talk about it (even ask him about it!) or watch him fight? Anybody who isn’t a little repulsed or worried or negative? He said there was a pretty clear lack of support, although his family keeps a polite surface on it. Most people just don’t get it. All the injuries (we’ve had four broken ribs in our gym in the past 9 months, one concussion, and lots of bloody noses and lips), all the insanely hard work, the diet, the time consumed.

I tried to describe it to some non-boxing friends the next day. They asked me, in the most honestly curious and non-ugly way if I wasn’t being a little reckless. They didn’t say this before I got injured, but they wondered if now I hadn’t crossed some line of appropriate behavior. I couldn’t figure out what to tell them. It’s no different, I think, than playing football, and yet people view it differently. Perhaps because the goal of football is to move the ball across a line, whereas in boxing it’s much more nebulous. We’re competing on points, too, but we’re getting them by hitting someone. So I can understand the conflict, I just can’t explain why it’s so compelling.

Perhaps it the very extremes that draw us. The extreme training, the incredible high of doing well in the ring, the terror of doing poorly and not knowing how to survive it. The fear and thrill of knowing the trainer is going to send us into the ring, and not knowing who she will pick as the opponent: Oh, pleeease not so-and-so; they’ll kill me! How many rounds will I make? What if I freeze up? What if I get injured (again)?

And of course we constantly hope for glory: Maybe I’ll kick ass, maybe I’ll get some great shots in, maybe I’ll feel fast and tight and strong.

It makes little sense; I feel exhausted and inspired at the same time.

And I keep going. Because I know if I’m not training, someone else is training to beat me.

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4 Responses to Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting

  1. Doland March 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm #


  2. Lauren (the lil sis) March 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    I don’t have the words!

  3. Alicia Hemphill March 19, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Oh my gosh, that was awesome! I want to see you in the ring!! What was the illegal move?

  4. Lisa Creech Bledsoe March 19, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    Illegal moves are things like head butting, spitting out mouthguard, and below the belt hits, all of which we saw that night. I don’t think any of those are in the video, though.

    The fight that is on the video that was a bit of a barroom brawl is noted with an intro frame. That guy with the long braid (who lost) was throwing wild haymakers, and actually running away from the other guy in the ring. It was a bit of a mismatch, unfortunately, and you can see the ref rightly called it off before he’d even given a full 8-count.

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