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The Separator...OR Buying Into Your Own BullSh.. Part 1

“The Separator”

Buying Into Your Own BullSh$t – Part 1

This one will offend some people’s tender sensibilities – there’s just no getting around it because this is about not buying into your own bullshit, and the best way to lead off is with a horrifically literal metaphor. That’s okay, cause if you’re still reading after the first sentence, that’s on you not me. So, let’s proceed…

Almost every person who is old enough to have eaten questionable sushi, food from a subway food counter, or anything roughly equivalent, has had a moment when what they thought was a fart – turned out wrong. Yep - things went too far. You had a catastrophic failure of the Fart-Sh$t separator; that indefinable security valve that is part sphincter, part confidence, and all about pushing your limits without ruining your underwear. In a global sense, you had an excessive amount of confidence in an outcome that turned hope into disappointment, victory into defeat. This applies to so many times when, in life as in bodily functions, we think a little too much of ourselves, our abilities or our experience as it relates to a given situation, and we fail to understand that until it is too late (or almost too late….Read on...)

If you read the ‘Fighting Tired’ blog, then our story picks back up in Wilmington, NC, circa 2000... At this point, I had built an undefeated, however limited, boxing record in NC since moving back home. Just like most guys, I had done this quickly and in the most effective manner possible – fighting guys with limited records (many 0-0 or 1-0, 0-1, 2-1, etc..) like mine. You take a risk on some guys because you just don’t know what they are capable of. You are reasonably sure they aren’t unstoppable knockout machines, because they haven’t proven it with a 15-0 amateur record, but they could be the next one in the stable. Just as likely however, they are average athletes (or relatively unskilled) feeling out the sport and doing their best to beat the guy in front of them. Why is this important? I’ll tell you. Right now…

So, at 2-0, I was feeling pretty damn good about myself. I had a TON of unsanctioned, ‘smoker’ type bouts, and I smoothly and easily defeated my first two sanctioned opponents with a first round KO and a 2nd round TKO. Good stuff right? Yeah…if you read the first part of this post, then you can maybe see where this is headed…Sure – Great stuff! Drive on! Like I said, I was feeling good about myself, had just moved back to NC from NY, and I had all that experience fresh in my mind and the bruises to prove it. I took my 3rd fight, on short notice, looking to add another quick victory – I wanted to get to 5-0 as quickly as possible, don’t ask me why now because I don’t remember, but by God it was important then, lol. I did everything wrong in the run-up for that fight. 1 – I didn’t do any research. 2 – I didn’t care what his record was. (moron….FFS Johnson…really?!...) 3 – I moved all my stuff into my new condo the day before the fight. That’s right, dipsh$t that I was, I moved the day before the fight. I had a 20ft U-Haul truck FULL of crap too, not some college room to apartment nonsense. 4 – I didn’t care about any of that, I WAS UNSTOPPABLE. Clearly, right? I don’t know what had gotten in my head. Don’t get me wrong – I was no joke, I stopped guys with my jab. I knocked dudes down with it. I also had a 1/3 combo that was NASTY. Ask around. I had every reason to be CONFIDENT – but zero reason to be an arrogant, over-confident A-hole. Sometimes it’s a fine line, and its entirely based on what your confidence is built on…

The next day dawns, bright and clear, and I had made weight easily (mostly because I was calorie deficient and dehydrated from not taking good care of myself the couple days before…but, bygones…). I had seen my opponent at the weigh ins – a very fit and confident looking Marine, there with the rest of the boxing TEAM. Oh yeah, they had a bunch of fighters on that card, and this guy and I were the main event (mainly because we were the biggest guys on the card…but also because of his record which I would discover later…). I wasn’t worried – not even a little bit. I should have been, because this dude was for real.

The card progressed fairly quickly, and I watched a few of the guys I knew fight before I started warming up in earnest for my fight at the end of the card. I knew, as soon as my gloves were on and taped, that I was in trouble. You ever just KNOW that something isn’t right? I was sluggish, and I felt like I was moving thru mud during pre-fight mit work. Yeah, it was bad. I chalked it up to nerves and just that I had gotten revved up and adrenaline dumped a little just being there all day. The REAL reason was – I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. I had done ALL the wrong things. Bad nutrition the week before the fight. Bad planning on my part doing so much moving and lifting before the fight. Bad hydration. Bad recovery. Most of all – I didn’t think I needed to do all of those things perfectly, or even remotely well, because I was OVERCONFIDENT. I was running on the power of recent success that in no way translated to what I would be facing during my NEXT challenge. Worst of all – I was hearing the wrong voices in my head. Confidence is great if its born of preparation, hard work, and dedicated practice. Mine had been that way, but in this case, it was replaced by an over-inflated and ego-centric perception of what I was capable of. Yep. I bought a case of bullshit, from myself, on sale – half price….it was a big case.

So, I would always get butterflies RIGHT before a fight, but as I walked out, all that would go away on the walk to the ring. Gone. 100% gone. Go Time. This was no different – except I could actually feel a palpable energy from my opponents cheering squad, a large group of America’s finest warriors, gathered together in a building to cheer on their brother. I think there may have been 3-4 people there cheering for me that day, lol. This wasn’t this guy’s first rodeo, in any sense of the word, and I was starting to wonder if I had the horsepower. It was a fleeting thought…but it was there. We corner up. The bell rings. We walk out and touch gloves, a traditional show of respect, and once we back off a couple of steps the place just starts to throb with energy and noise. The entire crowd seemed like they were on their feet for the last fight of the night...

At this point, though, I was almost angry – at being the underdog, at being cheered against, at this guy for just daring to get in the way of my next victory...let's pause time right there for a second. I was allowing my emotional state to infringe upon my performance because deep down, although I didn't know it, I was looking for someone to blame for my potential failure. I was allowing myself to be adversely effected by things that I could not control and didn't NEED to. If things didn't go my way, I would likely blame the environment, feeling off before the fight, hell maybe even the referee, lol...something that was done TO me - instead of myself. Sure, I could have gone into that fight with some ownership over why I felt the way I did at the time, but where would the story be if that had been the case? Lets restart time and head back into the ring.

We circle for about 5 seconds, and he launches what I think was a 1-2 combo to lead off...I wasn’t having any of it. I was so amped up that I walked right thru it. I felt the jab vaguely glance off the left side of my headgear as I partially slipped and jabbed as well. I connected with the jab, and immediately followed it with a straight right and a high left hook. The hook never connected because the straight right smashed him in the face so hard he dropped like someone pulled the rug out from under him. I mean – it was magical. The cheering, screaming and shouting rose for a second and then…stunned silence, followed by shouts to get up, some boos and disappointed emotional sounds…I was, eh, well…overly celebratory. I was thinking in my head – well, that ought to shut everybody up, how ya like that? Boom – 1-2-3. Done. BUT, what I DID was shout thru my mouthpiece – which I’m sure no one could understand because it was a tight, double, powder formed mouth guard – “WHAT NOW!?!” I’m sure I even smacked myself in the chest with one hand like I was in a Rap battle. Yeah, I’m not proud of it, but I was pretty damn emotional at the time, and I was really pumped up. So, there I was looking out at the crowd, past the ropes – silence...

Then, something happened that I didn’t expect - that dude got back up…

Stay tuned for "Remember Foam Parties?" - Buying Into Your Own Bullsh$t Part 2...

Until then - See you all in the gym!! #Tier1Strong


-Brandon

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