Bruised by Boxing

posted Saturday, 16 August 2008



written today and first published here


He won a medal in the very last Olympic Games that were ever held. He had gone there to run in the 100 yards sprint but ended up inadvertently competing in the welter-weight division of the boxing.

The world was beyond any organisation at that time. Mass memory-loss was not exactly the problem but rather a growing inability by the world’s population simply to cope.

He no longer had a name. He once had a name. But without any order in things or requirements for reference, names tended to atrophy then drop off, like labels from ancient luggage.

He was a He-man. He was, after all, too stocky for the sprint. So, as if automatically, he found himself entered for the welter-weight. Unsurprisingly, he had been mis-weighed and should have been entered for the heavy-weight. He had sweated for days to get body-weight off, like old lard, so that even the feather-weight division seemed a possibility. The tenacity of feathers, he thought, with some anticipatory pride. Mixed emotions. He often remembered he was a sprinter, not a boxer.

As the sweat grew in amounts during the lead-up to the weigh-in process and as it streamed in soupy rivulets down his back, he found himself inevitably weltering in not only the various divisions of one particular sport, but in all sports needing sportsmen like him to fulfil as competition-fodder and thus present a show of brawn and speed for the mass audiences that were expected to attend, if such audiences could organise themselves to come there in the first place.

There was no Olympics sports events for darts-players. Tradition had it that way. Even the very last Olympics scorned darts and bar-billiards … even when the world’s standards were slipping, as now, with every missed target of past tradition and simply-what-was-right. But targets prevailed. Mass audiences came to attend events – events that had not been timed to happen in the Olympics programme – through a process of instinctive targetting. Turning up together as if by chance.

Our he-man however meanwhile enjoyed relaxing as he started winging the tungsten-arrers towards the circular dartboard, clunking treble twenties into the cork almost with every throw. He eventually gazed pitifully down at his physique. Not exactly a sprinter’s trimness. Nor the tightened armour of muscles that a boxer would need. He wrestled the mixed emotions to the ground in a wriggling clinch-hold that any referee would need to view, cheek upon the mat, pummelling the ground with a fist as he checked the legality of the various moves. And the mixed emotions sort of squirmed back, attempting wildly to escape from our he-man’s grasp. Punching above their weight. Bruising his ribs as he tried to burst out of every mis-labelled box that the obstacle race entailed. The referee gave him the benefit of the doubt. As we in turn give the referee’s very existence the benefit of the doubt. A bit like God’s.

Our he-man received a medal. It was just sad that it did not have his name on it. Nor even which sport. At least it didn’t fall off.


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