IN THE RING
The way I see it, Life and I are in a boxing ring. We shape up to each other, nose pressed to nose, standing toe to toe since early childhood. I don’t remember who threw the first dig, but it kicked off, and it kicked off hard! She would throw a punch and land it softly. It would hurt me but it would also teach me to duck in future. She would gradually start landing heavier shots and body-blows and I would convulse in pain. I would have to slow down for a while to recuperate, re-hydrate and take advice from my corner. Then I’d bolt out of the corner at the sweet sound of the bell and start swinging wildly again.
After many cuts and bruises, I finally learned how to dodge her loose shots. I also gradually learned to duck, dive, dip and dodge her worst blows and i finally started landing some punches myself. She took them on the chin and smiled happily back at me with a toothy grin after receiving them. She had seen it all before but commended my pitiful effort. She would then reciprocate with a knock out punch which would pan me out like the Brad Pitt scene in Snatch. I would leave the ground, hit the water in slow motion and descend slowly into unconsciousness beneath the surface.
I would then have to raise myself shakily from the floor, covered in sweat and blood, dazed, confused but realising that I could return to my feet even after that sort of shot.
After a strike like that you learn that every swing matters. My strikes became fast, true, honest and efficient, and I even landed some of my own punches. I trained myself to dip under her loose shots and how to protect myself or accept her fierce body-blows. She was a tyrant, a monster and I could never defeat her. When I realised that, my training became more focused. My heart learned to beat with hers. Occasionally, we would start an almost Capoeira-like fight during our bout, both dancing in time with each other, under and over, in perfect unison. One wrong movement would have certainly meant a clean K-O for her but as long as I followed her lead in this mixed martial arts dance, I would participate and survive. I learned to use some of her swift strikes to my advantage. I learned her weaknesses and my strengths and tried to utilise and exploit them in the ring as much as possible.
An important note was that I was never allowed stop fighting even if it meant just limping from one leg to another. If I did stop during the bout, she would strike me fast and true and I would be fatally hurt. My guard always had to be raised. My corner helped me, but they couldn’t protect me as it was just us fighting – Life and I – nobody else could come in or would come in and tag me out. Nobody could fight my battles but me. They could just advise me when I sat down after the bell rang. They were also in their own ring with their own opponent. They just helped me from a distance. I also helped others when they sat down in their own corners.
More importantly, I never wanted them in my ring, fighting my battles, for me. I only got one shot at this fight and I was certainly going to try my best to be victorious by myself with this one opportunity. I wanted to be left, sweating honest beads onto the turf.
Unfortunately, No matter how hard I tried to beat life, she always had several gears up higher to move up to. I’m not even sure if she ever broke a sweat or used her preferred hand to punch. She probably was striking me with flicks from her baby finger. Sure, I got on top at some points and reached different and higher levels, but my wins were almost always with myself, becoming better at certain patterns. She always retaliated with the appropriate response. She enjoyed the fight, as did I. Realistically, as I DO! I love being in the ring with life, swinging frantically and loosely and seeing what is thrown back.
However, it doesn’t change the fact that I am always fighting her. Right now, I am always fighting life. We all are.
Maybe heaven is a place that we will go to when she eventually knocks us out…and she always knocks every fighter out. In the next fight, or in Heaven, wherever that might be, we might enter into another ring together, to the sound of our favourite motivational music and start fighting With each other together against some other opponent….together. Maybe this is just the pre fight spar session and the big fight is on its way. Life might be just training us for something better. I’m pretty sure that God is looking down on this fight and checking to see if we all are training properly. He decides who is ready for the next fight or who needs a proper break from all this fighting. He decides when we are ready for the next fight…or the next rest and break.
I hope to not hear the final bell any time soon, I’m not even close to being fully trained yet. But I will keep getting fitter for it. Keep training you hear.
Tiger Paws Junior May 27th 2014