Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Friday Night Tournament: Ring Rust

Believe it or not, people have actually been scolding me for not blogging. So, suddenly finding myself with a wealth of material to write about, back into the breach!

Well, Friday saw me in the ring for the first time in 2008, in an exhibition match against a talented newcomer named Leafouur Smythe. And I lost.

Not that it hasn't happened before (Derrick Cult took me down in my middleweight debut). And it doesn't go on my record (again, an exhibition match). But still, it was a disappointing performance on my part. Two decent rounds against Leafouur, followed by a complete mess in the third. Add to that two unanswered ring-outs, and, hell, by the time that final bell rang I knew it, Leafouur knew it, and the audience knew it. I was sunk.

None of this is intended to take away from Leafouur's own ability. He's fast, persistent, and has a good head in the ring. He also plays SL hockey, so he's already used to competing in front of an audience.

Plus - and this is a biggie here - Leafouur had trained a lot before the night of his tournament debut. I had not.

I had largely taken the month of December off, aside from making the presents for our regulars at the holiday party (personalized sweatsuits, which seemed to go over well). My system is such that it gets overwhelmed in free-for-all matches. Thus, I had little motivation to enter those events, which were all we had for that month. Most of December was spent in out-of-ring activities, and I let training slide.

Come January, when I did make some attempts to get back into the game, a newcomer expressed shock at seeing me in the ring at all. That was a bad sign in regards to my career as a virtual boxer.

So, in the end, it came down to the prepared man vs. the unprepared man. Just ask Sun Tzu as to how that usually ends.

The loss probably wouldn't have irked me so much if it weren't for that last round, when I lost focus and just started trying the novel strategy of trying to wear out his fists with my face.

On the other hand, what if I had somehow, through some miracle, managed to pull it off and then gone on to face Derrick or Manfred Pessoa (our middleweight champ) after another week of slack training habits?

I would be massacred, is what would happen. Leafouur beating me was the best wake-up call I could have gotten, as a competitor. The trick now is figuring out how to balance my sparring sessions with my other responsibilities at the gym. But if I want to be both a contender and one of Averlast's designers, it's a question that needs answering.

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