stuff gets real

First things first: a very happy Father’s Day to my stepdad, who, if I think about it, is the person who first introduced me to boxing. In his twenties, he often volunteered as a boxing judge. When a local Golden Gloves champ he’d once judged made it onto the 1988 Olympic team and then went pro, we followed his career avidly, and while I’m sure I didn’t always pay close attention to every fight back then, something obviously stuck. So thanks, Al, for being both an awesome dad and the catalyst to my boxing journey.

Today, I sparred with the same person I’d sparred with a couple of weeks ago. I went in a little unenthusiastic, as I felt a little under the weather and it was my eighth day in a row at the gym, but once I got there and got into the ring, all of that melted away. I wasn’t just comfortable in there, I was actually having fun. Not that it was easy – it just made sense. When I’d hear the buzzer at the end of each round, I almost felt disappointed – I could have kept at it all day.

There are so many things you have to think about simultaneously, and in previous sessions I’ve had trouble with more than one or two. This time I felt all the pieces of the puzzle coming together. I knew where to put my body and what to throw. I’m still making some big mistakes in the head-movement department, but I’m confident that this, too, will fall into place.

Sparring with another southpaw has been really interesting – all of my drills all week long involved throwing a combo and stepping to my right, but against a leftie, that basically just walks you right into their left cross. Believe me, I learned this the hard way today. But I also learned quite a bit about movement and strategy just from watching what she employed against me.

I also discovered, to my great surprise, that my cardiovascular conditioning is more than sufficient to support what I want my body to do. From that standpoint, I’m basically there already. I was barely winded and not even close to tired by the end of our six rounds. Not bad considering I used to have to catch my breath going up the stairs to my fourth-floor walkup.

Needless to say, I came out of there feeling pretty jazzed. In the coming weeks, I’ll be seeing my trainer a little more, I plan to stop into Gleason’s and file for a USA Boxing passbook, and we’ll be picking a date for a first fight. Up until today, it didn’t really feel like more than a far-off goal. It got real today.

It’s almost enough to make me wish I wasn’t taking that much-deserved and much-needed day off from the gym tomorrow. Almost.

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