My ritual of morning is out of kilter.
With the gym closed today there’s no need to push myself out of bed at 5:30 to begin the process of readying for the gym. Gone is the symmetry of my every other weekday morning boxing workout with my trainer Lennox Blackmoore. Of the silent walk to the gym, and brief chitter-chatter with the coffee guys in front of the court-house in downtown Brooklyn.
On different mornings, I have different looks and feelings. Mostly I’m reassured by the discipline of making it to Gleason’s Gym pretty much without fail. I arrive, wave to the early morning denizens and making my way to the locker room, transform myself into my boxer self.
It is in the locker room where I set out my tools–my well-worn rival sparring gloves, my hand wraps and my shoes, my water bottle and towel, while hanging up my work clothes for the quick shower and change after my workout.
Ready for battle, I enter the ring to begin the rounds of shadow boxing, working on my footwork and my mix of combinations, careful to always snap my jab with my right hand up.
The rounds with Lennox — four to six depending on how much energy we have.
The four rounds on the double-ended bag, or the heavy bag.
The four rounds on the slip bag or the speed bag.
Sometimes an added bit of something, sometimes not.
Each has a place in my ritual of morning.
Mostly it is all about the sweat and pushing myself and staying positive during those times when I am anything but. This past year has had its difficulties. I still mourn my father’s death in June, finding strength in my memories of him performing his 300 crunches while hooked up to the oxygen that was his mainstay as he bravely battled COPD. And perhaps it is that memory that pushes me to haul myself out of bed, even when I’ve only managed to get to sleep at 1:00 AM. Other mornings it is the concept that #ageisjustanumber or that the pursuit of one’s passions keep one young and vibrant and vital.
With the gym closed, I find myself up anyway at 5:29, a full hour ahead of my reset alarm clock. Up and wondering what I shall do. Go back to sleep? Scroll through posts on social media? Worry about the latest headlines in the news? The offer I saw on Facebook for an opponent to fight a former world champion for the ridiculous, insulting and ultimately dangerous fee to the life and safety of the woman who will feel compelled to accept $2,000?
Instead, I find myself here at the dining table. Up and writing, thankful that I’ve given myself the chance to pivot and turn towards my other source of solace and sanity in a crazy world.