The Ring This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 29, 2010
My body begins to loosen up, leaning in my orthodox stance. Sweat drips from my head gear like it doesn’t want to be there. We walk toward the center of the ring, with the spotlight shining on us like champions. The referee steps between us saying, “I want a clean fight.” We nod and tap gloves, and then it’s the moment everybody has been waiting for: “Fight!”

The audience is silent. My hand goes up to protect my face; I bite down hard on my mouthpiece in case my opponent tries to knock my jaw. My feet start to bounce around like I’m dancing, except there is no music and I have to come up with my own rhythm. Pow! A jab to my head. Since my hands were up, the punch felt like I was hit by a feather. I juke at him. He drops his right hand to parry it. I juke again and this time add on: Pow, Pow, Pop!

His expression starts to change. He doesn’t bounce around as much, and his punches are predictable. His brain stops working and his anger takes over. Well, that was all part of the game plan. He’s coming at me, a wild animal with a look that could smash me into a million pieces if I were an egg. Right when I start to lean on the rope and get ready to counter – “Ding Ding Ding!” End of the first round.

We walk to our corners. Across the ring, I can see his coach’s disappointed face. “You won that round,” my coach says, but he also suggests that I need to move away from those heavy punches.

“Ding Ding Ding!” Second round. He’s coming at me with wild combos, just like getting attacked by a bear. I get caught by a right and a hook. My face feels like I ran into a sliding door, but I smile. Now, instead of acting like Superman and eating his punches, I stay away from him. I try keeping him off me with a jab but that doesn’t last long. He gets me on the rope and sticks out his elbow to make sure that I won’t run. A lot of his punches land on my body. I push him off and land a powerful overhand right. I can feel my knuckle connect to his skull. He falls back on the rope as I drop to the ground from that blow to my ribs.

The crowd starts to make a lot of noise. I struggle to get back on my feet. My heart pounds like it could break through my chest and land in front of me. My feet don’t obey me anymore; my body can’t take anymore. I glance at the clock: 30 seconds ’til the round is over. I hold onto the rope to get up. The referee holds my hands together to see if I can still keep them up. The boy comes at me with no protection and throws a wild punch. I slip it and give him the final punch of the day.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Madame L said...
Jul. 2, 2010 at 10:42 am
This is incredibly descriptive and vivid.  It makes me feel like I am in the ring with you.  Wow!  I look forward to more!
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