This guest post comes from TGE commentor and fellow boxer Tom McEvilly (what a great ring name that is, huh?) who has recently opened a blog called One.More.Notch. where he talks about boxing training, his three kids, and his approach to life (definitely read the Hedgehog post). We share not only our love for boxing, but also a curious obsession with office supplies and Lyle Lovett. Yeah, what a world.
Anyway, I really liked this particular post of his and he graciously agreed to let me re-publish it here. After you read it I hope you’ll head on over to his site and show him some love by RSS-ing him and clicking his Google Follow board. — Lisa
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On a warm summer night in 1999 I woke up groggy in the back of the ambulance.
I had no idea what happened. A friend sitting next to me said that I had been “knocked out”. Hmmm… that’s interesting because the last thing I remembered was standing on the sidewalk in front of Durty Nellies pub minding my own business. Okay, well, not exactly. I vaguely remembered trying to break up an argument between a girl I didn’t know and some nameless faceless guy. Judging by the goose egg on my dome and my new black eye I don’t think my act of chivalry was very successful.
Thus my short-lived career as a street fighter ended at 0-1.
Despite my winless streak, I’ve been thinking more about fighting. Maybe it’s because of the time I’m spending in the Decatur Boxing Gym. Or maybe it’s that I’m increasingly seeing fighting as a metaphor for life. Training, dedication, passion, endurance, hope, energy, confidence, skill, strength, and strategy are necessary for the fight. Oh yeah, let’s not forget “fire-in-the-belly”. At least if you’re interested in winning.
Many of us are also fighting in other ways.
Fighting demons and addictions.
Fighting a life threatening disease.
Fighting real enemies in an overseas war.
Fighting for our jobs.
Fighting for our marriages.
Fighting to keep our kids safe.
Fighting to stay relevant in a world of noise.
But, the fact is that we are fighting. Winning and losing. And hopefully learning from our mistakes.
The English writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote…
“The full value of this life can only be got by fighting; the violent take it by storm. And if we have accepted everything we have missed something — war. This life of ours is a very enjoyable fight, but a very miserable truce.”
… “a very miserable truce”… I thought this was an interesting choice of words.
Do we choose to be passive and compromise instead of fighting for what we want? Sometimes.
Do we coast when we’ve achieved a comfortable place in our jobs or relationships? Sometimes.
Do we stay at the plateau in our training? Sometimes.
That’s the “truce” to which Chesterton is referring. It’s easy to ignore and sweep under the rug. Dreams and achievements are sometimes put on lay-a-way (does that even still exist?) because we aren’t willing to pay the price for attainment. Where price = the heat, friction, aggression, action, and fight required to make it happen.
So, tomorrow for at least one hour, I’ll be a fighter.
I’ll go to the boxing gym.
I’ll wrap my hands and warm up with some shadow boxing.
I’ll be in the moment when I do my footwork and rope skipping.
I’ll punch the bag with anger and fury until I hear the bell marking the end of the round.
And, then I’ll punch some more.
I’ll try my best to execute crisp combinations with the pad man.
I’ll try not to be discouraged because I’m still learning.
I’ll be tired and spent and try to do the 100 sit ups to close the session.
I’ll take some pride by knowing that few of my friends are doing this.
I’ll go home feeling alive because I was fighting.
But, it’s not about the gym. Now it’s time to take the fight to the rest of life.
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Image by boltron