All You Need is Just a LOT of Patience
Tuesday, July 16 2013
Patience is a virtue. Or so I’ve been told, since it sure as hell isn’t one of mine. Which is strange, considering I have three children that are all less than four feet tall, am a former kindergarten teacher, and am married to one of the most patient people on this green earth. In fact, I am so the opposite of patient that when John and I were house hunting, he went ahead and put an offer in on our house without telling me, for fear my impatience would cramp his negotiating style. Good call, John. In writing this post, I figured I should do a little research as to where this saying actually comes from. Patience, it appears, is one of the seven heavenly virtues, meant to counter the seven deadly sins. Upon further research, it appears that my personality and style tend to align more with the sins than virtues. This, however, is a topic for another day and time. So, why does this matter? What is the deal with “patience”? I cannot tell you how many times in the last ten months I have heard this word uttered, demanded of me, almost, when it comes to boxing. Okay, I can tell you. At least 36 times. That is how many weekly sessions I have had with Marc. Patient I may not be, but organized I am. What is unclear to many, and what was unclear to me for a long time, is that boxing is the thinking man’s (or woman’s) game. It is not just about brawling or fighting, not about beating down your opponent and throwing a barrage of punches. It’s not a bar fight in some nasty old hole in the wall in Binghamton, NY (no, I’ve never been involved in anything like that). This is sport, this is a game. And this game is all about patience. There is patience outside of the boxing ring. I spent the better part of this spring patiently waiting to become young again. How so? Well, late winter we learned of one very important USA Boxing rule change – the age a fighter becomes a Master fighter would change from 35 to 41. Which just opens up a whole new world of possibilities for a boxer, especially a female boxer of my size. Right after the National tournament the rule change would be in effect. The rules did change right after Nationals. At the national level. When would this change occur locally? Soon, I was told. You just need to wait. So I waited. Patiently. And when I say patiently, I mean outward patience. Like, I stopped asking Marc if the rule change had gone into effect yet every time I saw him. But the inner impatient child in me stamped her feet and cried out on a regular basis. There is also patience inside the boxing ring. I have learned, over time, that I need to take some punches in order to throw good punches. It seems counterintuitive, to sit in, and patiently wait (blocking and slipping, of course), while punches are coming at me. To wait to throw a punch of my own. To let myself get hit, take a punch…or two…or three, because the ideal time to counter isn’t always just right after one gets hit (patience, remember?). Although, what is most interesting about this strategy, what is most interesting about this whole patience game, is that there is such a thing as being too patient, waiting too long, and missing your opportunity. Ruminate on that one for a bit. It’s all about striking a balance, figuring out when the right time is to stop sitting in, and to step up and counter. I’m pretty sure this holds true not just in the ring, but in life, as well. Over the last year, my life outside the gym has been greatly impacted by my life inside the gym. And not just because I am now spending multiple days a week with an hour and a half (at a minimum) round trip commute to Nonantum, leaving John and the kids to fend for themselves for dinner on a regular basis, missing out on Wednesday nights out with my girlfriends, getting up early on Sundays (the one day of the week that I could actually sleep in) to get beat up. No, in addition to all of that, I like to think that as the days go on, I am growing as a boxer, and as a person. Like I said before – patience? Not my strong suit. Or I should say, it used to not be my strong suit, but I’m trying to fix that. Margaret Thatcher once said, “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.” I think I can live like that, both inside and outside the ring.