“Shit happens. Deal with it”.
Easier said than done isn’t it?
Ever wonder why?
Maybe its because THE WAY we deal with our problems IS the real problem after all.
“Most stress is caused by people who over-estimate the importance of their problems”
- Michael La Boeuf
I’d like to explain to you how my approach to ‘problem’ solving has evolved over the years…
When I was a kid growing up in Kingston, Ontario, ‘problems’ were everywhere; especially on the weekends. There were bar and street fights on Ontario Street every Friday and Saturday night – lots of them. Scrapping was literally a sport in its own right. At 15 years old, I remember looking forward to watching the weekend festivities with my buddies, as they were always eventful. Probably not unlike a lot of small towns in Canada I figure.
Most ‘problems’ were commonly picked or started by the following banter back and forth from the opposing Townies:
Townie # 1: ”YOU gotta a problem?!!”
Townie # 2: “ I don’t gotta problem… but, if YOU gotta a problem … then WE gotta problem!!!
From there, it was a “GO” between the two, who’d GIV’R. After they’d GIVEN’R and the scrap was over, we would comment whilst nodding our heads in approval; “Goood GO!”
The only real problem in Kingston was the Meat-Head mentality.
Maybe you’re from small town Canada and can relate to this insanity?
We were spectators for about a year, before we ‘got into er’. I guess you could say that’s when my official boxing experience began. Drinkin ’n’ Fightin’ &’ Fightin’ n’ Drinkin’. It’s a wonder I’m not Irish… :)
During those days, when my Dad and I drove past the many provincial and federal jails in town, he’d to say me “ That’s where you’re going!” or “ That’s were you and your friends belong!”
Fortunately, I evolved.
Fast forward from my townie years to early 1993. I’ve just spent the past 4 years (‘89-’92) playing on the University of Ottawa ’s Gee Gees Football Team. When people asked me what I was studying, I’d commonly joke “Football 101”. I ate, slept, and breathed football. Football was my life. 24/7, I would dream of making it to ‘The SHOW’; the CFL. I was #43. At 23 years old, I was a 270 pound lineman and I was closing in on my goal of becoming a professional football player.
In February 1993, I attended the CFL’s annual Evaluation Camp held in Winnipeg . Invitation to this Camp is limited to the top 50 Canadian players across North America , it’s the ‘who’s who’ of Canadian Football.
Unfortunately, I didn’t deliver at the Camp. I felt so much pressure to perform that I choked. There were no PB’s during the physical drills or tests. I was nowhere near being in ‘The Zone.’ This was the most important athletic event of my life and I blew it. But still, I clung to my dream and waited to hear from my agent which CFL teams were interested in me…
2 weeks later, the CFL Draft took place. I sat by the phone all day, waiting my agent to call. Lots of calls came from friends and family eager to find out who had selected me, but my agent never called. Ouch.
This was a ‘problem’. My ‘Townie Temper’ started to boil over. But before I could do anything stupid (like drinkin’ and fightin’), I got a hold of my agent. He informed me that it wasn’t a big deal that I hadn’t been drafted, and reassured me that there were still teams that were interested. He encouraged me to remain in top physical condition and that he’d work on getting me a free-agent contract and a Try-Out at a CFL Training Camp.
I needed something new…I needed ‘The Eye of The Tiger’. Motivated by images of Rocky in I, II and III and by other boxing flicks (like Streets of Gold with Wesley Snipes), I GMAT to Beaver Boxing Club (BBC). I wasn’t interested in becoming a boxer, just wanted to cross-train for football.
So from March- May 93’ I trained like a Spartan 3x/week for 3+ hours at the BBC. I trained and trained and trained. I would shadow box, work the bag, skip and spar with some of the fighters and aspiring fighters. I was in heaven. It was tough – I had never trained so hard in my life, but most incredibly, I had never enjoyed training SO much. What a riot! On top of all of this, I still hit the weight room and did sprint/speed workouts.
I largely kept to myself during this time and would ride the bus back and forth from the boxing gym. It was during these bus rides that I’d reflect and contemplate as to whether or not I had contributed to my own ‘problem’.
I came to see that I had played a large role.
Obviously, my poor performance at the Evaluation Camp hadn’t helped. Yet, as much as I hated to admit it, I began to realize that I hadn’t grown up since I’d left Kingston in 1989. I guess you can take the boy out of the town, but it’s not so easy to take the town out of the boy. An angel I was not. Some of my antics on the U or O campus included being been kicked out and barred from ALL the student residences and the school pub. More drinkin’ n’ fightin’ and fightin’ n’ drinkin’.
Maybe I had it comin’? Karma?
Before I started training at BBC, my way (or ‘road’) of dealing with problems had been to punch first, then, ask questions. I was beginning to see that much of the time it was the manner in which I reacted to situations that landed me into deeper crap than the original dilemma. It was my method of dealing with problems that had created much of my own personal HELL.
I trained my ass off at BBC. I gav’r from March until Mid-May and waited to hear from my agent. Despite all my efforts to reform and stay in shape, NO offer, NO contract, NO Camp ever came to be.
So, I did what I’d always done; I got into a fight. Except this time as a boxer at BBC, not a drunken scrapper. Training for my first fight sedated my ‘Townie’ ways (or roads) and provided a healthy outlet for my rage. Boxing training became (and still is to this day) my medication, a healthy and heavenly addiction for me, a gift.
I had enough insight to know that I was transforming from the inside-out, but didn’t fully understand why or how? I’d been involved in competitive sports my whole life, but NONE had effected me so positively. And the irony was that none of them were as VIOLENT as boxing.
How was this possible?
The following excerpt justifies that pummeling a heavy bag can lead to a transformation of body, mind and spirit. Most interesting, is that boxing training, especially wailing on a heavy bag is different than other sports as an outlet for aggression:
“Sports participation has been mentioned as a method of relieving aggressive tendencies. The next question that comes to mind is, “ do athletic activities differ in their potential for relief?”
A study utilizing college students indicates the answer is “yes”. In a well-conducted comparison to boxers, wrestlers, and cross-country runners with a non-athletic student population, boxers were found to possess significantlyless over-all intensity of aggression. Further, they exhibited less tendency to express their aggression overtly, or outwardly, and therefore had fewer feelings of guilt afterwards. They tended to blame themselves more for their frustrations or to gloss-over their frustrations so that no person or object was to blame.
The boxers were also found to be least interested in protecting their EGOS, suggesting that they had more self-confidence than the other groups. The result of the research, therefore, substantiated the cathartic theory of aggression. That is, activities, even in controlled sports situations, provide a release of tension and frustration.
Wrestling, also an aggressive, rather violent, sport was NOT as significant as boxing in providing a cathartic (release) effect. There is, thus, something peculiar to boxing that gives it the advantage. The main difference between the two sports appears to be the striking aspects. From a social and safety standpoint it is surely desirable that striking with the fists be directed toward inanimate objects designed for such pummeling. Would this “watering down” of aggression and violence, however, provide sufficient relief of frustration and stress, especially of such powerful negative feelings as anger and hate? Studies with mental patients and prisoners, similar to the one quoted, most certainly indicate – YES.”
Taken from BOXING FOR FUN AND FITNESS by Charles Roy Schroeder Ph d. MemphisStateUniversity, 1973
I’ve come to believe that HEAVEN and HELL exist within us and our everyday lives. Shit will always happen. How we deal with it is the key. For years I’ve seen the Gym as my Church. I guess I prefer to sweat my prayers.
“When it’s killing me
When will I really see
All that I need is to look inside”
- Red Hot Chili Peppers: SNOW (HEY OH)
I've may have not been an angel in the past,
but I know I’ll get to HEAVEN,
if I keep punchin’ like HELL!
See you in Church/Gym