Today I was humiliated from a sparring match. The sparring partner was greater than me in every aspect of boxing. The knowledge of boxing he contained had been so vast and so great that he was paid money to fight. The ultimate goal for devoted boxers. He was a Professional Boxer. A worthy contender with no less than two dozen boxing fights. I was still an amateur.
The sparring partners speed was fast and accurate that I wasn't able to perceive his punches, and my nose swelled with blood. He wore a pair of yellow Cleto Reyes boxing gloves that were unfamiliar to me, and the punch was compact and fierce.
He had every advantage over me, and I shouldn't have been in the ring as a contender, but somehow I was volunteered. Father's intentions were for me to acquire beatings from greater opponents, from rival gyms that had something to prove. It was his way of developing the best product. The most experienced boxer. He wanted the toughest, most durable kid. I was his first born son.
After the sparring match I wiped my face of the blood, packed my gear bag, then walked out the door with my head below my shoulders. Father started the car, then pulled away from the curb gingerly. We drove home in silence. He said nothing and I too. The black rain clouds haven't let up yet. They blocked out the sunlight and showered Southern California with much needed rain.
"How are your marbles?" Father inquires the brain trauma. My head was throbbing from his accurate left hook's, but I didn't want to show weakness. "I'm fine."
"Is this something you really want to do?" Father inquires the heart.
My shirt is bloody. My gloves and head gear are too bloody. They will forever be stained maroon red. When I see these blotchy characters it will remind me of my inability to turn mad. My perception of boxing had not yet morphed into a fighter, but still a hobbyist. It was mere entertainment. It was a fun after school activity my family enjoyed together. It aroused my interest because it was glorified by my family, and respected by the population. It was a way for me to seem desirable to my female classmates; a way to pick up chicks.
Staring at the black sky I contemplate vacating the sport. This was stupid, I thought. Getting beat up for a sport wasn't fun. I was a young teenager. I should be hanging out with my friends in a baseball diamond, or I should be concrete surfing the city sidewalks. Or I should be learning a new activity that would assist my better living, or, learning the anatomy of a female class mate. Getting beat up for a sport wasn't fun.
After being pummeled some rounds, I grew angry because my opponent deprived me of my self-esteem. I was cut short of having a boxing virile mentality. The sorry father had in his eyes for me made me angry. I didn't want him to feel sorry for me. I had a desire for him and others to be proud of me, and respecting my abilities in a boxing ring. The bridge of my nose had been deviated to one side, where I couldn't breath, and the eyes begin to swell black. The sorry father had for me hurt more. So when he asked me if I wanted to endeavor in the sport of boxing, for a trophy, for cuts and bruises that lead to nothing, I choked on my tongue. I wanted to give up. To abandon my childhood dream of becoming a prize fighter. To earn a way of living by fighting, by becoming the most respected kid on the playground.
The night was damp from the rain shower. The clouds have now traveled inland clearing the sky, and the full moon illuminate the nite with life. I put on my running shoes and took a stroll around the neighborhood to clear my head, and to review all the errors that caused me harm.
My heavy feet made me slow in the ring, where the opponent picked me apart on the perimeter. My jab was too slow. Throwing the jab lazily, he would counter my attack with a stinging right cross, drawing the blood from my nose.
Lacking to throw combination punches and only searching for the one punch knockout, made me appear foolish. I only desired to knock him out. Hoping to catch him with a wild haymaker. But he was too fast. He would find the correct distance of my face, land a few punches, then move before I had enough leverage to swing. His punches were painfully fast, and the yellow gloves he wore made it look like he was throwing fireballs. Hearing the laughter from the rival gym spectators made me angry because I was being embarrassed at the hands of another fighter.
When I showed up weeks later for the scheduled sparring match with that same guy with the yellow gloves, I saw what were fathers intentions. After the sparring match.
Father speaks proudly, "Great work, son."
I nod my head in anger.
"You didn't fall to his tactics. You did exactly what I wanted you to do."
The opposite coach compliments my abilities, "Great work. You have become seasoned in a fight. Excellent!"
The opposite coach boasted my chest, where I saw the pain meriting. The pain from being pummeled by greater fighters was a lesson only to better my boxing abilities. The failure endured will be a testimony to my future success. Every training session was an improvement, and every beating was a growth to myself. I had to lose, to win.