Our neighbors in Trueblood installed camp chairs on their land the night of our tournament, crowding out boxers and audience from the sim. Said chairs seemed to be gone the next day. Classy.
So the end result of that was picking up the whole works and moving it to the new Averlast Island, which was under construction but still in good enough shape for an evening of boxing. We're not ready to hand out landmarks yet, so JoJo and I acted as a relay system between the current gym and the island: She'd relay names to me, and I'd search them up and teleport them to the venue.
So, a little late and battling the usual bugs, we started. For the first time in a while, I was scheduled to fight that night, and I already knew that my opponent would be the only other heavyweight who had signed up for the evening: Jihan.
As regular readers know, this is far from the first time that Jihan and I have tangled. Unfortunately for me, she was coming off of a quick KO loss to jony23 Abramovic the prior week, and had spent as much time as she could in the gym, training up for our match.
Even more unfortunately for me, I hadn't. In addition to the fact that I was already in semi-retirement (which ends the day I write this, assuming the RAM sticks that UPS just dropped at my door work properly), and a busy week that absolutely did not involve taking time to spar.
Anybody expecting to see an underdog-comes-from-behind-to-win scenario here had best go out and rent a Rocky movie. My level of preparedness was, to say the least, insufficient when it came to dealing with someone of Jihan's caliber, and she whupped me but good. The pain ended in the middle of the second round, when she scored the final ringout for the KO win. It was the first time I had been knocked out at an event.
I don't mind losing per se. It's part of the game, and as in anything the hope for victory is tempered by the necessary potential for loss. I especially don't mind losing to Jihan, who, for all of her aggression and fire during the fight, is always gracious when it's over regardless of the result.
What gnawed at me afterwards was the knowledge that I could have done better. Even if it still wasn't good enough to win, I would have been satisfied with a match at the level of my prior fight with Jihan.
But, by not preparing, I pretty much got the beating I deserved.
My mood levelled out, thanks to words of wisdom from our lovely card girl/timekeeper Fionna Bracken (who reminded me that I had been here before, and that the way I dealt with it the last time was to - hello! - get back into practicing so I'm ready next time), and from Jihan herself, with whom I had a marathon sparring session the next day to help shake off the ring rust.
It helped remind me why I stay at Averlast long after the point in time where, normally, I would have drifted on to the next distraction that SL has to offer: They're not just my colleagues or potential opponents there. They're my friends, and I cherish every one of them.