Sometimes you need a boxing trainer

Published 7:49 pm Friday, September 4, 2020

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School is in (It’s different than it has ever been, as you know), some of you have been locked in way too long (that’s an understatement, for sure), and the chances are that you are about at the end of your rope. What you need, my friend, is a boxing trainer. Read on, you’ll see.

With school up and running, such as it is, I thought of the days I would come to this particular boxing trainer ‘pep talk’ to try to boost the kids’ morale a bit. As soon as the bell rings to start class, I’d ask for a volunteer to come to the front of the room; and usually just the right fella would rush up – one who wouldn’t mind being the guinea pig for the day. As he took his place in the single chair in the front of the room, I’d start in with the Zig-Ziglar-esque speech:

“Willie, jus’ lookin’ at you, I can tell that what you need is a good boxin’ trainer!” I’d say. With that, I’d grab some ankle tape and quickly wrap a piece around both hands to give him the look of a fighter. Then I’d continue with more enthusiasm than the class probably was ready for that early in the morning, “What you need is somebody to pull you into the corner and convince you to go back out in that ring and fight another round.”

Then, turning to the rest of the sleepy class, I’d get into my little spill, ignoring the heavy eyes completely:

“How many of you sometimes don’t want to get out of bed and get showered and dressed and get in the car and drive in to face another tough day staring you in the face?”

At that, one little smart-aleck (maybe even Willie) would holler out, “We can’t drive, Coach, we’re just freshmen,” – to which I’d retort, “Willie, I know you can drive by now, because this is the third year you’ve taken my class!” That little exchange would kind of wake the class as they ribbed Willie for being so old he could vote, to which he would just grin.

But I couldn’t let that little diversion keep me from my purpose and, so, got back into the theatrical mode seamlessly. “To put it in boxing terms,” I’d continue, “how many of you feel as if every day it’s like you have a mean opponent staring at you with an ugly scowl from the other side of the ring. Some days you just don’t want to go back out in that arena and get beat down by those tough, everyday bullies. You’d rather just throw that white towel in the ring and give it up and stay in bed and admit defeat and take the easy way out. I know I’m right, because sometimes I reach for the white towel myself.”

“So,” I say again, emphatically, “what you need is a good boxin’ trainer! You’re getting’ beat up and pounded and head-butted, the big bully is slingin’ upper-cuts and left hooks and jabs, and you’re startin’ to wear down. Finally, you’re saved by the bell, mercifully, and you wobble over to your corner and plop your limp body down into that chair in your corner. What does your trainer do?” Before anybody could answer, I’d turn to Willie and say louder than ever,

“He’d say, keep it you! You’re doin’ great! Hang in there! Keep movin’, keep jabbin’! You’ve got ‘im on the ropes!”

“That’s exactly what he does,” I say, turning to the class, “even if there isn’t a word of truth in it, even if you’re getting the tar beat out of you, as we say down South, that’s what you say.”

With that, I grab a Gatorade water bottle I brought from the gym, squirt water into Willie’s face (to his surprise), wipe it off with a towel roughly, grab some Scotch tape off of the desk and slap it under his eye to seal a cut, retrieve a bottle of Vasoline and slap it generously on his chin and cheek, telling him all along how great he was and that nobody could stop him.

After the show, I dry Willie off and make everybody give him a hand, telling him to wear that tape around today so the whole school will know he has been in a fight, and a good one.

Willie gets up and walks sheepishly back to his desk, vowing to never volunteer for anything again. But that, my friend, is what a boxing trainer does.

Ask Willie, he knows. And you have to agree that with all you’re having to face right now that you need your own personal boxing trainer, too. You need a good one, and you need him now.

So then, do I have any volunteers to come to the front of the room?