Boxing Teaches Important Lessons
Every high school has a baseball, football and basketball team, and most have tennis, golf, volleyball, track and field, cross-country, water polo and swimming squads. There are lessons to be garnered from all of them, like teamwork, cooperation, responsibility and dedication.
But it seems there is one sport that’s being overlooked – boxing. I’m aware many consider the “sweet science” to be barbaric and hardly worth anyone’s time, but they’re missing the point.
It’s not that boxing is good or bad but that there are also important lessons the sport can teach.
One of the best academic and athletic high schools in Southern California is Crespi, and it has a boxing club, and they’re better young men because of it.
Last summer, I covered a Celt Boxing Night, and came away impressed. To step into the ring, even for four two-minute rounds, takes a great deal of skill and effort.
People who have never been inside a ring have no idea what it takes to throw punches, defend punches and move while all of this is going on. In fact, try keeping your arms away from your body for two minutes and see how tough this can be.
These young men take boxing seriously. Whether they make it a career is unlikely because so few have the desire and ability to succeed, even at the amateur level.
One of the lessons learned from boxing is that you are alone in the ring and that there is no one to blame but yourself. A mistake is glaring, and the consequences are potentially harmful.
In baseball, an error can be nullified by an overpowering pitcher. In basketball, a missed shot can still be rebounded and put back into the hoop and in football, a dropped pass can be saved by a running back pulling off a long run on the next play. Of course, you can’t expect to win making too many mistakes but they can be overcome.
In boxing, if your left hand is a little too low, an opponent can make you pay by unfurling a right hook to the jaw, followed by a shot to the stomach. And if he continues throwing combinations, it could be curtains.
While in high school, I had a classmate who boxed professionally. One night, while watching the Thursday Night Fights, I saw him on a card at the Olympic Auditorium. The following day I asked him about it and he said that it was indeed him. My high school didn’t have a boxing team, so this was an avenue for him to pursue a few dollars, even if only briefly. It also afforded him an opportunity to get into the ring and match wits and fists with another young man.
Barbaric or not, boxing teaches you how to stand up to pressure, with no one to blame but yourself if anything goes wrong. When you think about it, that’s exactly what life’s all about.