The morning after my fight called for Waffle House’s All-Star Breakfast. A buttery and syrupy waffle, two over-hard eggs, grits, two sausage patties, toast and orange juice. Mmmmm. Nothin’ wrong with that.
While I enjoyed my food and my cousin’s company, my phone buzzed with Facebook updates that I ignored. My Grandma called to congratulate me and tell me that she and PopPop “knew you could do it!” When I got to a computer, I updated my Facebook status:
Last night after my fight, I couldn’t fall asleep until around 5 am. A big part of the reason why is because I couldn’t stop thinking about the wonderful people I have in my life. . . . Last night wouldn’t have meant anything to me if it weren’t for all of you!!! Thank you.
I then proceded to wade through the Facebook notifications. I enjoyed looking through all the pictures—not just ones taken during my fight. I was in my own world for most of the night, so it’s fun to see what photographers captured that I never noticed.
Comments and posts and messages kept coming in. I’ve never had so many Facebook notifications in my life. I received congratulations from old friends I hadn’t heard from in a long time, someone I met at a boxing tournament once and even a couple of people I’d never met before. Add to that the people that I regularly interact with, and I was totally overwhelmed.
I’ll be honest: winning that fight meant a lot to me. At the same time, it would be lonely and pointless if the trophy were all I had. Sure, it’s a symbol of my hard work and what it got me, but I haven’t given the trophy much thought since I received it.
What I have given a lot of thought to: the people in my life. Most of my family lives too far away to come to events like this, but they still send me texts and messages to let me know they’re cheering for me. Then there are the friends and family who can’t stomach boxing, but still support me because they know how much I love it. I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!
After I lost my first fight, my cousin and my roommate were right there to hug me and tell me not to cry. After winning on ACFN 6, they both hugged me and laughed with me. Not only that, but they cheered me on during training. How many times has Rachel seen me come home from the gym in tears? (Not as many times in recent months, but before that? Shoot. I’m like a fountain.) I’ve sent Garrett numerous texts to the tune of: “Waaaaaaah!” and he’s never told me to get over it. Talk about moral support!
When I walked into my classroom the next Monday morning, I was surprised by a big poster on the wall. The fact that some of my teacher-friends even came to the show meant a lot to me, and that they showed so much enthusiasm brightened my day (and the following week, as word spread around the school and people carried on and acted like I was famous).
For boxing-specific support, you can’t imagine how much the girls in the gym have helped me out. Between Milana’s supportive attitude (e.g. going over combinations and drills with me in slow-mo after training), Caryn’s encouraging positivity and Lisa’s challenging sparring… I had all the help I needed. They believed in me, and that was contagious.
Then there’s Terri Moss. She didn’t just train me physically, but mentally, too. (That is what made all the difference—I’m positive!) She believed in me and helped me believe in myself. After I posted my afore-quoted Facebook status, she commented: “You did the hard work, and you DID it!” I sure did, but still can’t take all the credit. Contrary to what one of my friends stated in her status, I’m not a superhero. What I am is a girl with a great support system—who likes to spend all her time in the gym. (Sure, I’ll take some credit.)
As Milana said in a Facebook status following the fight, “To me boxing is more than just a result in a passbook.” What’s important is the process of training and fighting and then training and fighting. Being my first win, this was an important milestone for me. But, really, it was only my third bout. I hope that this one fight was just a drop in the bucket of many fights to come. More than that, I hope this win was the first of many! I’m headed back to the gym to make my dreams come alive.
The Atlanta chapter of Thaakat, the charity I fought for (and won money for!), gave me a shout-out on their blog: Congrats, Kelsey Smith!! Thank you! I’m glad I could help.