Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How the Other Side Lives

This whole hiatus thing is...strange. It's new. And strangely refreshing. But also kind of boring. And just not...right.

The past few weeks I've continued to do a whole lot of nothing as far as the ring is concerned. But in a strange, "normal" sort of way (normal meaning similar to how you odd, non-boxing types who don't like having your faces rearranged approach things - psh, weirdos) I've also been doing a whole lot.

With the additional, extensive work on my face and airways, I'm still not cleared to do anything full-contact. For various reasons, I've taken this one step further and stayed away from the boxing gym altogether, sticking exclusively to weights, plyos and road work. Some of these various reasons include:

- A vacation to the Virgin Islands

- A new job

- Being months away from competing again. With no goal in sight, I wouldn't lose motivation so much as be more prone to impatience and frustration for my situation.

- Missing the Golden Gloves

- Watching the shmuck I pounded on in my 12/11/09 fight televised on NESN make it all the way to the Golden Gloves regional finals. While in a way this is something to hang my hat on (hey, the proof is on the tape) it's also something I'm shaking my head at since I missed a prestigious tourney I clearly could've made some noise in.

- The obvious point that 9 years of pugilism messed my face up. And while even the best sometimes have to get cleaned up before climbing back to the top (hey, Vanderlai Silva just had surgery on his nose to fix his breathing too) recovery is a nuisance and I can't help but fear that it'll subconsciously affect my fight style - sort of like a pitcher who gets beaned by a line-drive comebacker and "is never the same again" even though his health and form all appear to be back in full, top-notch shape.

Yes, I can buy more protective headgear and and tweak my sparring formats and schedule and just trust (know) that I won't be boxing 9 more years and accumulate as much damage...but gah, I'm not a defensive wunderkid like Pernell Whitaker - I'm aggressive and offensive-minded and am in my own head and driving myself crazy with restlessness. And it's silly, but it's enough to keep me at this relaxed pace and in a sort of holding pattern before I break out of my recovery.

After running the Boston Marathon in 2005, a friend told me "don't think about your next marathon until you forget about your last." I've never had to do the same with boxing, but am on the tail-end of exactly this right now.

And to make sure it's clear: I'm not out indefinitely. I never have and never will be scared of eating a little leather - it's the nature of the beast. But right now I'm just not in any rush and in a nice groove everywhere but the ring - as much as it pains me to say. It's kind of nice focusing on the new job and beach muscles and multiple "rest days" with nothing resembling physical activity and taking a vacation to the Virgin Islands and disregarding what the scale says and just chilling... just seeing how the other 99.99% of 24 year-old professionals live. It's invigorating and it's bound to pay off in the long-term boxing-wise.

Some of y'all always have great insights - I'd be interested to hear what do's/don'ts you've run into if you've ever had an injury or prolonged break from your "passion."

Sometimes before you climb back up the mountain, it's nice to enjoy the scenery for awhile before breaking a sweat. And right now, the view's fine.


Nerd Of Steel's Boxing Tips said...

When I was in my 20’s I either did things all out or I didn’t do them. I was either in amazing shape, or not so much. Either progressing or regressing. These days I take more of a balanced approach. Though if I could go back in time and give myself advice I probably wouldn’t have listened. LOL.

Right now I don’t believe in breaks just different modes of training. One mode I’m training all out. The other is more a leisurely training where I’ll work on things I’m afraid to change in camp: major changes in body mechanics, develop new punches/counters, pick a boxer to study and watch loads of film, etc. When I show up to my boxing club during leisurely training (which I now firmly believe in doing) it requires swallowing my pride a bit because the guys around me are working all out, but I’m not. Some of the new guys even look at me and think I’m just there for fitness…

To each his own though.

Jonathan Moreland said...

Ha, I fit the mold of your 1st sentence: in my 20s, either go all-out or don't bother. Although like I mentioned, I'm still in great shape and not on a full physical break, just a clean break from boxing - in the hopes that I'll avoid giving the perception to the other fighters that I'm just dinking around (your last sentence) especially since they're so used to me being the village brawler. I think I need to - and will - hit your suggested pace/presence in the boxing gym sooner rather than later.

Steve Imparl said...

Jonathan, it sounds like a break will be good for you and is appropriate at this time. My participation in the sport has ebbed and flowed since I was a boy. I can't explain that, other than to say it's probably my attempt to live a balanced life and my desire to explore as many experiences as possible; I have far too many interests for one lifetime on this planet. From my perspective, it seems you're doing fine.