• Steve Berlack

In The Ring

I’ve learned a lot by being in the ring with Life.

My first lesson: Life is a world-class heavyweight champion. And Life

hits HARD. He’s been around a long time, and is no rookie. He’s trained

century after century, decade after decade, year after year...day after tireless

day...and knows all the tricks. He can hit with the left or with the right

with equal power. And he can feign and feint with the best of them.

If you’re not careful, you can get knocked out quickly. I know because I’m

in the ring....

I’ve been caught with a vicious left hook to the jaw, and gone down in a

heap. My head swirling. My heart pounding. My legs shot. And I’ve gotten

back up. When I did, I was cautious about getting hit with a hard blow.

I learned to keep my guard up; block the heavy blows. So I didn’t see it

coming when he feigned the left hook, evaded my block, and caught me

square in the nose with an overhand right. Down I went...in a heap again.

The referee’s voice registering faintly in the back of my mind...6...7...8.

Then I’m up again.

Wary now...my legs shaky...I back up. Life pursues me...confident now. He

constantly stings my eyes with stiff left jabs...once...twice...thrice. I can’t see

then as he feigns the heavy blow, fakes the overhand right...and pummels

me with thunderous body blows that take my breath away. But this time, I

don’t fall. I grab Life by the waist, pull him close...and hang on. He shrugs

violently to get far enough away to throw the finishing blow. Desperately

I hold on. Angry, Life tries to break free of my grip. He knows he’s close

to the knockout. But I am stubborn. And I am strong.

And as the referee separates us (after all, I can’t hold on forever), I learn

another lesson:

I can take a punch.

My jaw is strong. My will is unbreakable. My mind is resolute. And in my

chest beats the heart of a champion.

So who else should I fight, if not another champion? A lesser opponent

wouldn’t provide the challenge I need to wear my belt with pride.

Exhausted, frustrated, and punched out...Life looks me in the eye. He sees

it now. He’s in for the fight of Life. And I see the realization light his eyes

as surely as he sees the light in mine. We both learn this lesson together:

I can throw punches too.

Life’s countenance changes drastically as, bloodied and bruised, I square

up. My mind sharpens. My pain falls away. My heart beats stronger, louder,

faster, like a champion, as I feel my immense power, everything in me,

come up from my legs, turning my hips, my chest and my shoulder as I


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