I have spent so much time watching boxing matches that I honestly could probably qualify as a judge. I might or might not have a habit of counting punches when watching a fight. If you don't watch boxing, you probably think that sounds crazy. But, after watching it for my entire life, it just comes with the territory.
As an adult, I would pick my favorite fighters based on the best fights. And, really, I never have had an all-time fighter, unless you count my dad or brother. :) But there are always certain fights that stand out in my mind. The Gatti vs. Ward fights are probably my favorites. As much as I love the story of Micky Ward, I have to admit that I always rooted for Gatti. However, I type this as I watch The Fighter. :) Being raised in a boxing household also requires that watch and re-watch boxing movies repeatedly... Rocky IV. Ugh. That's all I'm saying. Thank God for Mark Wahlberg's determination in creating a new boxing movie. And, while I'm rambling on that topic, I have to say that The Fighter might very well be the most realistic boxing movie I have ever seen. Watching boxing behind the scenes is kind of similar to watching sausage being made. :) The Fighter really hit the nail on the head with most of it. :)
Anyway... the reason for this post is not to ramble about why I love boxing or to discuss the merits of boxing movies or to determine which fights were the best. Instead, I'm talking about my son's newfound interest in the sport.
A couple of weeks ago, we spent time with my parents in eastern Kentucky. My dad decided to give Jake a boxing lesson. It was mainly just to play with him, but it ended up being more. Jake, who is known for his short attention span in sports, sat mesmerized as my dad instructed him. He watched in amazement as Colt and Brad, and admittedly, his mother, hit the mits.
Normally, I would be thrilled to see that he has the attention span for any sport... but this one was different. I was sick to my stomach watching this little boy fall in love with a sport that will make me want to throw up every time he "plays" it. Of all the sports in the world, this is the one that I probably did not want him to pick.
Don't get me wrong... I love boxing. I mean, I really and truly do love it. It's an incredible sport that takes so much physical and mental capacity. It takes courage, work ethic, and the ability to keep your wits when all you want to do is tackle your opponent to the ground. Learning to box (and when to actually use it) can make you feel safe, strong, and confident. All things that are good for kids... all things that were good for me. I never remember feeling like I couldn't defend myself and that was because I knew the right way to throw a punch and I knew the right way to duck (or when to run... haha). Yet...
... watching a mere friend in the ring can make me kind of sick and shaky with nervousness.
... watching my brother would make me a nervous wreck, hands trembling, sweat dripping, and voice cracking with every yell. I cannot tell you the number of times that I've actually contemplated climbing the steps to the ring and punching the crap out of one of my brother's opponents. Or just grabbing him and holding his arms down so that my brother could hit him. Seriously... adrenaline + emotional female = scary. :)
... watching my son in the ring... I probably would have a nervous breakdown... or I could actually kill someone. :)
So, of course, Jake is in love with that sport. And, as fate would have it, he's probably going to have the genetics to make him good at it. He's cool, calm and collected. He's thin. He's tough enough to take a punch from his 6-year old sister, bare-fisted, to his eye and not even cry. He understood the instructions that my dad gave him, almost immediately. I was so excited and yet so sick. I was beaming at how good he was doing, but feeling the need to pull him away and bundle him up in a baby blanket for fear that he was going to really actually want to box.
These days, when I ask Jake what sport he wants to play, he says he wants to be a boxer. I might be losing the battle to keep him out of the ring. Instead, I might have to put on the big girl panties and actually suck it up as a mom and let my baby bird fly a little. Just don't expect me to do it without throwing up first.
For those of you interested in seeing my little guy (and girl, since Bailey took a lesson, too) in action... here you go. :)