I woke up twelve hours later. I didn’t want to get out of bed, so I grabbed my Bible on the nightstand. I’d been reading Hosea, so I finished that book before flipping to the Psalms. I read a bunch of them, and taped a few verses to my wall. These verses helped me feel less like a failure and more like a promising work-in-progress. After that, I re-read a recent card from my mom that was still on my nightstand. Her words made me smile and think. I copied down a couple of quotes from her and stuck those up on my wall, too. One of them being:
Use what you know to change what you can all the while remembering that who you are transcends what you do.
My Mommy’s a wise lady and I’m lucky to have her.
I read Harry Potter for a while after reading the card, because I still didn’t want to get up. I did eventually tire of being horizontal, though. Since my face was tender to the touch, I went to check how I looked in the bathroom mirror. Nothing to be alarmed about: I was 100% normal-looking.
I had oatmeal for breakfast, which was a treat. I hadn’t eaten it in a long time because it wasn’t included in my fight diet. I also had a spoonful of my roommate’s ice cream. Just one spoonful! (Until later, when I decided to finish the carton. But don’t worry, I bought her new ice cream to replace what I ate.)
At about 10:00, I texted Milana to see if she’d weighed in yet and if she knew what number her bout was. (She opted to arrive at 8 am that morning and spent over an hour and a half waiting again.) She was scheduled for bout #25, which meant that her fight would be rather late—perhaps around 6 pm. I was still thinking about whether or not I’d show my face at the tournament again.
I was also thinking about going to my church’s Bluegrass & BBQ day, which I’d been looking forward to for weeks. I could hear good music, eat good food and see good friends. I only entertained the thought for a moment, though. I would be lucky if I pulled myself together in time for Milana’s fight, much less in time to get to church in an hour. I wasn’t fit to make a public appearance just yet.
So, I stayed home. I did some more reading, and then I read updates from boxing friends on Facebook. Val posted an awesome video on my wall, which was the first thing that made me feel like I’d get over the loss and be stronger for it:
Shortly after watching that video, something switched in my brain. Suddenly, I really wanted to support Milana at her fight that day, and I wanted to get back into the gym to get ready for my own next fight—whenever that would be. It was as if I “got over it” in a matter of minutes. (I was within Mike Smith’s 24-hour rule, this time.) I made arrangements with Lisa to hitch a ride to go see Milana.
It definitely helped that my dad and brother called me. Dad was on the line first: “Well, are you black and blue?” I had to laugh. Then I talked with my brother for a long time. He asked: “So how did the boxing go?” I said, “Well, I lost again!” and he said something like “Too bad.” Then he cracked me up by saying:
As I said before, jump! Left! Hit more. And be quicker, too, so you can hit more: powpowpowpowpow! Like that.
Except for the part about jumping, that’s basically what Terri always has to tell me: hit more, be quicker. It turns out that my brother actually listens when I go on and on and on about boxing and my training. It was just so perfect that he cared to ask about the tournament, showed sympathy for my loss, but then looked ahead to the next time. He’s got more tact than the average eight year-old. (He was actually still seven at the time of the call.)
I also got a call from my cousin. I told him all about the tournament and he patiently listened. I’m blessed to have such a fantastic family “in my corner.” (I appreciate that phrase more now than I did before I started boxing. The boxer is in the ring, but the people in the corner make all the difference.)
Lisa picked me up at 5:30 and we set off for Doraville. When we arrived at the venue, we found Ronda, Terri and Milana. (I didn’t realize until later that Jackie was there, too.) Turns out, Ronda’s fight was canceled. Either the other chick didn’t show up to the weigh-in in time, or she wasn’t on weight, or something like that. That’s a pity, because I was really looking forward to seeing Ronda fight. She’s taught me a lot during our sparring sessions.
While Milana and Terri warmed up, Ronda and I watched Anna’s fight for the belt in our weightclass. I recognized the other girl because she watched our fight the day before. She moved like a more experienced boxer. I was rooting for Anna, and I felt bad for her when she lost.
Then it was time for Milana’s bout. This time I could cheer as much as I wanted without being scared of embarrassing myself. I kept an eye out for Anna, because I wanted to hug her. I finally saw her and told her that she had guts—she didn’t stop for nothin’. She said that she was tired out from fighting me the day before. We said a “see ya next time” and went our ways.
Milana fought a hard three rounds in her second bout of the weekend. I was proud of her for not giving up, as tired as she must have been. She lost this bout, but she’ll be back again. (Isn’t that right, Milana?)
I’m very happy that I went back to the tournament instead of hiding away at home. The whole weekend turned out to be a positive experience. There was so much stress, excitement, disappointment and learning packed into that short span of time.
Though it was positive, it sure took a toll on my energy level. I was grateful for Labor Day! I needed the day off to get my act together. I had a mountain of lesson-planning to do, and other things to take care of. But my biggest concern was: when could I go back to the gym?
(It took me almost two weeks to finally clean the banana out of my duffel bag.)
Here’s a blurb about Milana and I going to the tournament on Terri’s blog. Thanks for the shout-out!