Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Sunny February Day...In My Boston Office

I’m feeling good today. Very good today. It’s yet another gray, chilly, melancholic afternoon in Beantown, but I’m in particularly good spirits. I don’t know which of these I should attribute my pleasant disposition to:

- Life being short (and the Royals looking to field their best team since ’03), so why not be happy?

- My increased metabolism and longer, more frequent workouts resulting in some (welcomed) residual endorphins prancing around in my brain

- Synchronizing my biological clock with well-timed caffeine consumption

- Settling into the groove of my life being “complete”

I know, that fourth bullet seems a wee bit quixotic. But as indicated in my first post on here [My (Sorta) Big Debut], boxing is my passion. It encompasses everything that I enjoy in life (athletics, dedication, accountability, camaraderie, competition…blood…strange, stale odors…) and is the sport in which my ultimate goals lie. I’m not ashamed (but am admittedly a bit weirded out) to say that the resonating pump-pump-PUMP! PUMP! PUMP-PUMP! of colliding worn leather in a gritty concrete gym echoes in my head throughout the workday. I love my job, but I love boxing more, and this is creating a somewhat odd dynamic for me during the week – I don’t spend my week (let alone a somewhat slow Tuesday like today) looking forward to the weekend, but to 7pm each night when I step off the bus and lace up my boxing shoes.

Which is exactly why I love to see articles like this ESPN.com article beginning to pop up again. Boxing is in such a sorry state right now (I’m sure I’ll hit on this more in later posts, but to quickly make my point, name another major American sport that will make your friends, family and co-workers say “you’re a competitive what?!” And quick: name the recognized middleweight champion. It didn’t used to be like that 10 years ago) that it truly excites me to see glimmers of hope like that article – not just for the sport, but for the kids involved, too. I’m incredibly blessed that my dilemma is convincing people that “yes I can” achieve my boxing goals while simultaneously progressing my “8-to-5” career, and not “yes I can” overcome the challenges of a poor, urban childhood in modern America and "escape" on the coattails of the American dream.

Like everyone out there, I’m just trying to “make it all work.” My job, my friends and family, my passion. Boxing. My life.

By no means do I have it rough in the meanwhile, but hell, it’s not going to be easy. At all. But I’m going to keep on keepin’ on until I’ve made it work. Yes I can. And I will.

And some people might find my goals ridiculous. Some might think this is all comical, a waste of time, a hobby-turned-obsession. A rare few might find this all inspiring, I don’t know.

But one thing I’ve already found out though, is that the simple pursuit of it all is enough to make me happy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Back in the Saddle (And Already Saddle Sore)

So after only one week back in the full-swing of training, I’ve already learned what my greatest adversary is going to be: time. There just isn’t enough of it in the day. Monday-Wednesday was literally a 72 hour cycle of me waking up -> working -> making a pit stop at home to change and eat -> gym -> home to sleep. While the common (non-boxing) man might find this routine to be monotonous and drab, I find it to be nothing short of bliss. Seriously – words can’t describe how nice it has been getting back in the squared circle everyday. It’s just unfortunate that my weekdays no longer have time for things like, um, this blog. (My over/under for time until I neglected this new project was 6 weeks. Unbeknownst to me, it’d be a mere 6 hours before I became “too busy” to update it regularly. Oops.)

I broke my 72-hour model on Thursday when I had the lovely variation of lifting at my local gym instead of bussing out to Allston to box. Not only did I want to make sure to keep my workouts fresh and change my venue every now and then (hey, lifting’s important too) but my legs were spent from 3 grueling days of plyometrics, drills, and bag work. I’m quickly learning that there’s a fine line between drive and overzealousness that, when crossed, will take me on a fast-track to the DL. I guess it’s not exactly a problem that I have to tell myself “6 days a week is enough, Jonathan, just keep working and be patient.” The concrete floors I skip rope on, however, are already beginning to try to tell me otherwise…

I’ll attribute my kick-ass workout Friday to being well-rested. Trekking through a “Nor’easter” (it’s a blizzard, you yuppies) I was one of four gym members brave (dedicated? stupid?) enough to leave my cozy confines and workout. I couldn’t be happier that I did.

With one thing leading to another, I ended my workout by going through a lengthy focus mitt workout with a tall, Irish 20-something named James. This work-out accomplished the two things I had been so desperately seeking my first week back: to “move, feel good, feel alive, let my hands go and BOX again,” and to impress someone who is a better boxer than me. After all, I need to be “trained, not taught,” and I need a skilled/competent trainer/partner who can pick out flaws in my movements, point out opportunities to string combos together, and all in all enhance my game while wearing me out to do so.

Whether it was noticing my 20 oz gloves (most people train in 14-16 oz gloves), the pop of my right cross (“double it up, 2-3-2….ay, you hit hard”), my ring generalship and movement, or the fact that each of us wanted to ignore our exhausted, rapidly-numbing limbs and go “1 more round” ad infinitum, I definitely had a phenomenal workout with James, and based on the comments I got from everybody in the gym, made a strong impression on all. Of note was one trainer pointing out that I “looked great…have you fought before?” (ha?) and that “James is nasty…definitely stick with him.”

Ah, the breakthrough.

During my previous stint at this gym, I found the competitive talent to be very bottom-heavy, so hopefully this was the first of only a few eye-opening sessions before I’m looked at as, well, a boxer who can more than hold his own in the amateur ranks and doesn’t need to be coddled or eased along. You earn your opportunities in the ring, and I at least need the opportunity to be lumped with the “James’s” et al to earn, well, additional opportunities and avoid being unfairly tagged as a clueless new guy. I’m sure it will all work out.


I slept on my boy Bob-O’s couch Friday night since he lives 3 blocks from the gym. I don’t know whether it was the box springs on his pullout sofa bed or my berserk workout the night before, but it took a lot of effort to get up, stretch out the kinks, and hit the gym again. A platoon of fighters were leaving the gym for some exhibition bouts as I was arriving, giving me an added spark (albeit unneeded) to work hard in the desolate gym.

Ah, irony.

And envy.

And for that matter, IMPATIENCE.

All in all, it was a very solid week. My pre-training conditioning was in fact phenomenal, which is very re-assuring as I continue to, um, kill myself in my workouts and pray my body can keep up. As I mentioned earlier, all I need is time and patience…andmylegsandbacktoholdup wait, what?

Back in the saddle and on my way, baby. More updates to come, and hopefully more often.

Go Royals.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous about this first post. Not only is this my first (belated?) attempt at joining the global blogging community, but I feel like I need to produce a profound, mind-numbing and utterly rewarding memorandum to keep you all coming back. After all, if you're reading this first post, you probably were on the receiving end of my email blast and are wondering what exactly I have to say that's remarkable enough to bother you and most everybody else I know.

Well, as of right now, um, nothing.

But that's the point. I wish there were a melodramatic crossroad in my life that I've stumbled upon, or some epic dilemma that I'm currently struggling with that I could share with you all. But there's not. And again, that's the point. I feel like right now I have the rare (God-given?) opportunity to completely control the direction (note: direction, not outcome) of my life.

Yes, that is correct. I. Am in COMPLETE control. Of my life.


Between some new year's resolutions and sacrifices for Lent (not just for Catholics!), I have found the strength, created the time, dismissed the excuses, and amassed the willpower to kick off my campaign to become a professional boxer.

I am very happily employed at a PR firm here in Boston, and while that provides for me in every sense of the word, I still find my life to be lacking something - something is jut not right, and at the end of the day I just don't feel "complete." We all have it. That one passion, that one thing that is "it." It intrigues and amuses you, captivates and compels you. It fulfills you. Beyond the laundry list of adjectives you share with your friends to describe "why you like to ____," there is that certain intangible it factor that drives you to it again and again. And while all of my life people have told me to write (namely teachers and my Mom), it just doesn't do it for me. Writing is a huge part of my life - my Communications degree, my job, the impulse to create this blog - and I love it, I really do. But it just doesn't do it for me.

PR is my vocation, but boxing is my life.

Some of you might be saying "it is? Really? I knew you liked it, but..." And that's exactly the point. I've trained, I've stayed in great shape, I've "maintained" during frustrating dry spells of inactivity, I've waited for opportunities, struggled with logistics, failed at balancing school/job/bad habits with boxing, encountered every interference (read: excuse) in the book.

But no more.

This blog will serve as a running chronicle (journal sounds so totally junior high...) for my thoughts, actions and day-to-day life (inside the ring AND out, mind you), as well as a point of contact for you all to stay in touch and contribute whatever comments or opinions you'd like to share, not just with me but with my (minuscule now, but hopefully rapidly growing) readership. I swear this blog won't pigeon-hole itself on boxing, and while the editorial control here is supremely mine (as is my new campaign to "leave it all on the playing field of life"), I really would love to read people's comments and add an interactive dimension to this. After all, you clearly are or have been a part of my life, and that's what this blog is all about.

My subsequent posts won't all be this long, either. I promise. But then again, like everything in this world, this is a work in progress. I'd like to post once a day, whether it be an update, a monologue, a rant, a rave, or just something funny that happened. I'm bound to tinker with the format here as well - whatever it takes to keep you all (and myself) involved.

We'll see how this blog develops (again, with your help, too), but I do know that one thing will remain constant - my determination to live my life to the fullest and accomplish all of my goals along the way.

Lost opportunities never return, and I don't intend to let any more leave without me.

Go Royals.

God Bless.