My new infatuation with boxing has taken some of my relatives and friends by surprise. “So… boxing, huh?” they ask. “Why boxing?” Because, you know, there are a million other things that I could do that aren’t crazy or potentially painful.
My stock answer is: “Because it’s really, really fun.” And this is true. It is really fun! I enjoy myself more at the gym than any other place. Maybe that’s a sad statement about the rest of my life as a floundering first-year teacher, or maybe it’s a sign that I’ve found something I really love. Whether this will be a hobby for a lifetime or a season, I’m enjoying the moment.
I enjoy the intensity of boxing workouts. It makes me feel alive when I have to push to keep a fast pace and summon extra energy that I didn’t think I had. I also enjoy the variety that each class brings. Sure, we do many of the same types of exercises from day to day, but two classes are never exactly alike.
I’m enjoying meeting people and making new friends in the area. Most of the conversations I have are only snatches in between rounds or before/after classes, but I still feel like I’m getting to know some nice people. There’s something about exercising together that creates a feeling of friendship. (Or I’m just crazy. It’s been said.)
A side-effect of boxing that I’m enjoying is a renewed sense of confidence. My confidence in my own abilities hasn’t been great this past year. At work, I feel like I can never live up to my school’s expectations and that I almost only receive criticism. In the gym, on the other hand, I’m getting a lot of encouragement from my trainer and fellow boxers. I’ll never forget the first time someone asked me: “When’s your next fight?” As if I were a professional boxer! (As if I were ready to have an actual fight. Ha! No way.) I know that I have a whole lot left to learn and practice, but I actually feel like I’m good at boxing, which makes me feel good about myself.
Inevitably, we come to the violent/risky/scary part of boxing that makes some people think I’m out of my mind. I’ll say it: I enjoy punching people. Since that sounds terrible, I’ll qualify that statement. I enjoy punching consenting people who have the proper training to defend themselves (and hit me back). Does that sound better? Of everything that I’ve done at DBC so far, I’ve enjoyed sparring the most. There’s something about it that I can’t put my finger on, yet. It has to do with a desire to fight.
Sure, there are a million other hobbies that I could’ve picked up, and there are milder ways to make friends and increase self-confidence. I’ve picked boxing, though, because it feels like a perfect fit for me. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
“Why boxing?” Because it’s really, really fun. I think that’s a pretty good reason.