Just For A Time

Could you please knock me off my feet for a while? asks Beth Orton in her song, Galaxy of Emptiness.

It's some kind of romantic reference, I assume, though a melancholic one, and tempered by the please and for a while. But immediately I connected it to boxing, and then back to romance, and here we are.

Because that's what we want, isn't it, to be blown away, knocked down and out of the daily routine. For a while.

The other day, a man who had endured a grueling workout with a trainer I shadowed said to me later, Thanks for kicking my butt. Some days I head out the door on what should be a day of rest for my muscles, yelling over my shoulder that I need to get to the gym to have my butt kicked.

Where else can you sweat, yell and grunt in public? Sports and fitness allow us this acceptable form of release, among their other benefits.

And where else are you allowed--required, even--to punch someone? Yet that's not the primary draw, hopefully, for most boxers; instead, it's what Joyce Carol Oates calls "an absolute experience, a public accounting of the outermost limits of their beings."

"They will know, as few of us can know of ourselves, what physical and psychic power they possess--of how much, or how little, they are capable."

An absolute experience, yes. That's what we want. After that, the standing won't be so hard to do.


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