I have a huge problem with exercise: it’s not instantaneous. I’ve always had this problem. I’d run for a few days and I’d still be winded or my time wouldn’t dramatically increase and then I’d get discouraged and stop. I couldn’t see any real progress being made and that was inordinately frustrating.
And I’m running into that same wall again. “God damn it, why aren’t I instantly in shape now? I ran for THREE DAYS.” That’s not a joke. That’s how I really feel.
What makes it even more frustrating is that I’m fully aware of how stupid that is. Getting into shape isn’t going to take three days or a week or two weeks. And it’s not something I can just attain and then stop doing. “Wellp, I done my running, I can quit till the End of Days.”
This time, I’m glad I have a bigger goal than just “get into shape.” I want to box. I want to step into the ring and see how that feels, so I can either let it go or keep at it. And because I have something very specific to set my eyes on, I think I can keep this up. Even on those days when I feel like I should be doing better. Even on those days when I’m panting and I’m feeling every cigarette and every day I just sat in a chair for ten hours and every double quarterpounder (with cheese!).
All this so I can let some big dude whale on me for three, three minute rounds.
I am not sane.
This is going to sound a little bit silly, but I’m not sure why I want to box. I have no clue where my fascination in the sport comes from. I’m not sure why I’ve read two books on boxers (Unforgivable Blackness and Sweet Thunder) and ordered two more (Hard Times Man and King of the World). I’m not sure why I enjoy watching fights that are a century old and especially when I know the outcome already.
Normally, it doesn’t bother me too much when I don’t know where my interests spring from. “I wonder why I love zombies,” I’ll think to myself and then go back to watching the Dawn of the Dead remake for the tenth time. But now that I’ve actually decided to step into the ring, I feel like maybe I should take a step back and look at what’s drawing me into boxing before I let someone rap me upside the head a few times.
Partly, I can’t help but admire boxers like Jack Johnson and Sugar Ray Robinson. Both were men who fought with their thinkin’ smarts just as much as with their gloves. And Jack Johnson did whatever the hell he wanted, in a time when doing so could have gotten him a lynched. He denied the rest of the world.
They both acted fearless, going back time and again to hurt and be hurt. And that’s damned appealing: folks who meet up with a brick wall and say, “Hell with you wall” and knock it right down.
Couple that with my desire to get fit and fighting trim and I guess it starts to make some kind of sense. But I want to go to a fight. One where I don’t know the outcome ahead of time. Maybe I’ll find a way to work that in before I put on some gloves myself.