Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What I Get Out of Punching

Many, many posts ago, I went into why I took up the sport of boxing.  I've not said what I get out of boxing.

1)  Assertiveness -- Years ago, I put up with a lot of crap all the time.  I would "grin and bear" much while stuffing down the anger and resentment.  Beginning in my mid-twenties, I got tired and began to stand up to indignities.  Boxing further pushed me into learning to be more assertive.  Just today, I got on a person who always acts rude to me when they call the church. Boxing has helped me squash a lot of disrespect directed my way.

2)  Confidence -- I was very shy as a child and teenager, which often lead to me being picked on as well as being overlooked and dismissed.  Boxing can't take the full credit for gained confidence -- singing, acting and speaking in public over the years has also helped -- but it has enhanced it.

3)  Exercise and the return of athleticism -- I was the kid who loved gym class while I was in grade and high school.  Outside of school, I was always roller skating, skateboarding. and riding bikes.  As an adult,  I became less of a fan of exercise, made excuses not to move around, and the pounds went up.  I tried aerobics, but it left me cold.  I needed something a little more intense that would hold my interest.  I found it in boxing.

4)  Camaraderie --  No matter where I've gone, whether it be a tournament, a show fight, a Park District show, or a certification class, there has been an instant connection with other boxers.  Boxers share common experiences of tough training, taking hard knocks, groaning over losses, and celebrating over wins.  A couple of summers ago, I was riding my bike in Evanston when a guy pulled up next to me in his car.  "You box?" he said, noticing the Everlast sack that was on my back.  He had boxed when he was younger.  We shared a few pleasant moments talking about the sport.  Some of the best times I've had in recent years have involved shared experiences with others in the sport.  Being excited over watching a fight on pay-per-view at someone's home, cheering on fellow boxers at live matches, laughing over something funny in the gym, meeting former and current professional boxers and listening to their stories. . . .it goes on and on.

5) Encouraging females in the sports -- The guys have a clear path in the amateurs and the professional ranks as they move their way through the sport.  Women and girls still struggle to be recognized, respected, and being taken seriously in boxing.   Whenever a new female comes to the gym, I do my best to make them feel comfortable and encourage them to stay.  I congratulate the females I see boxing at various matches, and tell them to go as far as they can.  My hope is to see more females become interested in boxing.

6) The "you do what?" factor -- I tell someone I box.  The reactions range from being impressed to being horrified.  I have people who encourage me to keep my dukes up, as well as those who continually attempt to talk me out of fighting.  I never get tired of the surprised looks. 

1 comment:

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

Outstanding list! I have a few of these myself, and have struggled to name why I box over and over again. Not sure why it has been so difficult to nail it down, but it has.

There's still one that eludes me, and it has to do with the intense visceral satisfaction of leather meeting flesh. The appeal of that sound and feeling is unbelievably strong in me, maybe because I was raised to be such a "nice" girl all these years. Do you feel that one too?