I trained hard. I helped coach the kids. I felt a moment of content. I felt as though I had given back to a sport that has proved my only respite from mania over the years. If only I could do that on loop, never stopping, never ceasing....if only.
I thought about one day having my own son. I thought about him one day stepping foot in the ring. I thought about how hard this sport is. How much you sacrifice and the long odds of ever being a champion in any regard. I thought about the innumerable events, birthdays, dinners, movies, all the stuff I've missed whilst training. I thought about my own weakness regarding my vices and the mounting litany of long term/irrevocable injuries that are piling up as father time takes his toll. The cruelest joke which taunts a fighter: as you learn and get better...time dulls that edge. There is a point of diminishing returns. There is a point of no return where you only lose ability. I thought about the first time I walked up the creaking wooden steps to my first boxing gym.
If I live to be an old man, I'll hobble to the gym, and croak instructions to a crop of young boys seeking escape, redemption, and glory underneath the bright, hot lights of the arena.
I drove home. I knew what was coming. Something stirred. I was not sated. I flitted into the night already knowing the outcome. I stopped pretending "I'll just have a few beers" awhile ago.
If I could lobotomize the part of me that sends me into the brink I would. If some catharsis made possible the removal of my dark passenger I would gladly go through the gauntlet. That same part of me that bids me walk up those steps into the ring/cage does not come with an "off" switch.
The gift and the curse. They say anyone who says they don't feel fear in the ring is either lying or crazy. Well, I don't feel fear. And that's the truth. Figures that I'm crazy. - Be who and what you are.