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“No more 40-year old debuts” I heard someone say.

A guy with a shredded upper torso was lying unconscious in the ring. His 20-something opponent was dancing around celebrating

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This 40 year old decided to try pro boxing. He looked like he had 4% body fat. It looked like he could box and I bet, most of the time, when he was in a room, he could probably kick everyone’s ass in it. Not in this room and not tonight.

Why would a 40 year old try the world’s most demanding sport at an age more appropriate for retirement? Should we admire the bravado or mock the lack of common sense? Is it reaching for everything life has to offer or is it a grasp at trying to defy the immutable laws of time.

I’ve been sparring more lately. I don’t like getting hit, but then again, I never really liked it all that much.

It takes a lot of psychological energy to fight. I could always have used more sleep, been less sore or not have had the nagging injury before I climbed inside.

But that feeling is easier to take than the feeling of knowing I avoided it. I feel it in my gut and it goes through me. I feel cheap. I feel like a fraud. Lately, if i skip it, I feel old.

After I spar I’m usually elated. I’m not sure if it’s from the sparring or from having sparred–that is, I faced it and did it. I don’t know if I like that. I think I ought to do it because it is enjoyable and challenging–not because I’m not good enough or cowardly if I don’t. It torments.

Seems to me a man my age should be secure enough to choose an activity because he deems it fun not because of some fear that it will define him if he chooses not to.

I took a hard one again the other night. I’m not sure what I did wrong and i might not have done anything wrong. It’s boxing and you get hit. Taking a hard one, at least a certain type of hard one dampens the elation a bit for me.

I feel a little stupid, a little defeated and a little scared. Scared that I might be losing what I had, that I might not be as good as I was and that I might indeed be getting older.

I’ve done fighting as a hobby. I’m a never-was, not good enough to be a has-been. I fully understand why the elite of the sport (and the not elite) stay too long and make poorly-advised comebacks.

There’s a lot of identity in fighting. There’s a lot to lose by giving it up.

Being around it, watching it, officiating it, isn’t the same as doing it.

It’s a complicated thing.