The lights were bright, so bright that I could barely keep my guard up while trying to squint. The aroma of popcorn and hot dogs from the stands was the only fuel to keep me going. The bell rang and we went to our corners. My coach yelled at me as if it were a life or death situation. It was the twelfth round and my opponent was winning. For me to have any chance, I would either have to outperform him or knock him out.
I had trained for months, running as if my main goal were the Olympics and weight training as if the governor of California were my idol. I honestly thought I would have this in the bag. I studied stats, my strengths, his weaknesses, and still he was winning. The bell rang again. The 30 seconds that we had left felt like a lifetime. I blocked out the sounds of kids yelling, my coach screaming, my opponent’s coach shouting, “You already won, just one more round.”
Without thinking, I threw a punch. Direct contact! I swung with my left and hit his elbow. I put my guard up, for it was the only thing between me and a devastating blow to the face. My gloves smashed against my face from the jab my opponent sent in my direction. Trembling with fear that I would lose, I pulled my arm back and hit with the hardest right-upper cut I had. His jaw hit his upper mandible. It reminded me of the car safety videos where the vehicle smashes into the wall. Then I saw a weakness. He was hurt. My only opportunity to take advantage and actually win! I hit him with a stiff right jab, followed by a left hook. His body tumbled like rocks down a cliff. I almost felt sad for him. I stood back to see if I actually could claim victory but to my surprise he got up.
My first reaction was to hit him again, but I didn’t have to because he fell to the floor. The ref counted to 10. It was over! My crew came and lifted me up. I felt like I was in a “Rocky” movie. Then the biggest prize of all, the infamous gold gloves were given to me. The smiles from my friends and family soothed the pain I felt from all those hits. I had finally accomplished my dream.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.