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Flowers in the Corner

October 12, 2010

I’m pressed against the ropes again–this is the time I decide. Do I push back and get back into the center, back into the fight? Careful timing is involved here. Just when the onslaught of pressure starts to lag, just when my opponent eases up on me a little, in the short pause before the move to pin me onto the mat, I push back, suddenly sending her stumbling back. There is no time for gloating–she is ready to swing. I duck and recover, and as we stand, focused and ready, the bell rings. The round is up. In my corner, I can expect to hear the voice of my corner man and I would feel the balm he would use to rub the quickly bruising area on my back and the red marks from friction on the ropes. I would drink greedily and mop the sweat from my brow and shoulders. But as I look to the chair, I see it is occupied–a bouquet of flowers waits there for me. For a moment, I remember quieter times. The crowd screams at the ring boys, the offers, the entertainment, the excitement. I sit and remember the breeze. I can hear my corner man. I drink my water with thirst and determination. I dry my sweat. Among all these steps in this dance called boxing, though, I remember–I must return to the fight. More beautiful things remain outside the ring. The flowers remind me what I’m fighting for. I love the fights– the adrenaline, the power, and the pressure–but they aren’t my life. The delicate scent remind me of peace, warmth, comfort, family, and love. I can see the faces and the sunlight. I can feel the breeze. I am summoned to the next  round. As I hook, jab, and block, I can smell the flowers in the corner. In the ring, I go the distance–I would see this through and fight to the finish. In my mind, each movement was one step along that winding road–one moment, one smile, one part of my journey. The journey doesn’t stop when the fight gets overwhelming–it keeps on going, with little reminders like flowers in the corner.

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