Building Yourself Back Up When You Doubt Your Worth In Boxing

American Pride teaches me every day, things that are worth it take time. Tonight I had my first session where I felt legit defeated. “Am I really suppose to be here, God?” I thought maybe I’d pick up more than I had. I beat myself up for not remembering any of the footwork I practiced at home outside of class. I told myself there was no way I was ever going to be ring ready if I kept sticking my elbows out like a chicken and forgetting to keep my hands up. Why don’t I understand a word the coach is saying? Is anyone else as confused as I am? Later it proved to be true, that there were people like me who didn’t get it. But I felt alone until we all spoke up at once, proclaiming our confusion.


Coach Rey was teaching tonight, and Coach Rey... Man, Coach Rey don’t play. He’s training for a fight in Puerto Rico, and his footwork is so fancy that if you blink, you’ll miss what he did. He has a way about him, as in, I feel like he probably was born knowing how to box. We were doing drills, and he looked at me and signaled with his mitts saying, “I got you! Hey! I got you! Don’t run away!” That’s his way of saying “come over here, I wanna make sure you’re getting this” or “come over here, I wanna show you how you can improve.” At first, this absolutely intimidated me, but I feel grateful when the coaches call me over to work on things with them because I don’t get it, I do need help.


I had to go over the same exact thing he just got telling the whole class was “easy.” I can’t help but smile when he says that the drills he’s showing us are easy, because, for him, they are. That’s when I have to remind myself that Coach Rey actually didn’t come out of the womb boxing, he had to work just as hard as we are now. Maybe one day, Coach Rey will be me, and I’ll be smiling at all the kids and adults trying to act tough on the heavy bag but doing the combos all wrong. “It’s easy,” I’ll say as I fly through all the punch combinations I want them to repeat. “It will get harder Wednesday.”


When I’d finally get the combos right, I’d feel proud and accomplished. But then, not two minutes later did I forget what I JUST learned. I don’t know if anyone could see the look on my face, but I battled myself more than I battled the heavy bags. I thought, “well if I cry, I’m sweating enough that no one will notice.” But I managed to pump myself up enough not to lose my mind. “I do belong here. God wants me here. They want me here. I want me here. I can do this and whatever kind of crazy moves we’re gonna be learning on Wednesday, I’ve got that too.” By the end of the class, I felt like I had a better understanding of what was going on.


Nonetheless, I still practiced at home. It’s tough to remember all the combos right now, but I remembered one that Coach K went over with me more times than he probably wanted to, so thank you, and thank you to all the coaches who are incredibly patient with me. Otherwise, I’d continue to look like a fool. Anyway, I remembered that one when I went to stand in front of the mirror and practice. It was then that I became my own coach and didn’t leave that mirror until I could confidently perform that move.


I’m writing this to let you as a fellow beginner boxer, that my last post about not giving up does not mean that giving up doesn’t cross my mind. I do question myself. I do wonder if maybe I don’t belong there. But those are only split-second doubt, as heavy as they may be because I always remember the reasons I wanted to box in the first place, and all the big goals that I have in the long run. I encourage myself knowing that one day if I push hard, I’ll be in that ring going toe to toe against tough opponents. I want to be a boxer, this isn’t just a workout I do for fun, I have a dream, and I want to live it. I can’t live it if I tell myself I’m never going to be any good. I should not be my own bully. I KNOW I can do this. That’s what you have to do; you can’t let self-doubt win. If you have a dream, go for it and keep going for it on the days when you question whether or not you made the right choice, because deep down you know that you made one of the best decisions of your life. Obstacle are just hard sometimes. But you have to shut that self-doubt down. Never let it win.


Tonight I mentally punched myself pretty hard, but I came back to my senses, all the while pushing through the tough stuff. Rocky Balboa said, “It's not about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.” So tonight, that’s what I did. I got hit hard and kept moving forward.


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