A word from the No.1 Fan…
How do you react when your best friend announces she’s decided to ‘get into’ amateur boxing? Kinda laugh it off as a ‘passing phase’? … and ignore all signs to the contrary when reading regular updates on her blog about beating up skinny boys, bruises and endeavours to find girls boxing shoes.
That’s one thing.
But how do you react when she announces she’s competing in the Hong Kong Hedge Fund Fight Nite 2011, and in preparation has been training twice daily, stopped drinking all alcohol and seriously curbed Saturday nights out?
Get myself on a plane to SEE this!!
No. 1 Fight Fan Club
Dad called it - ‘watching her in that ring is something you’ll talk about for the rest of your lives’.
He’s always been a huge fan of Miss Rachel’s and has watched her pursuits proudly over the years, no doubt grateful for her fireball influence on his own daughter. I knew he’d tune into her blog, but you know it’s made a serious impact when he starts quoting from it at the dinner table and applying her words of wisdom to his own golf game. And the Barbera support could only culminate in us both jumping on a plane to arrive in Hong Kong the morning of the fight…
Enter No. 1 Fight Fan Club in Hong Kong.
Picture a packed marquee - full of big corporates, men in tuxs, women in long gowns, champagne cocktails in crystal glasses – very glamourous, very 007. Then picture a blood & sweat stained ‘fight pen’ smack bang in the middle of it all – suddenly very intimidating, very ‘Rocky-esque’.
It’s very easy to forget about the boxing bit in between matches - until the lights dim, smoke machines start up & the competitors’ intro videos hush the crowd. By the time Rachel’s intro song (Rihanna’s ‘Run this Town’) starts blaring, I’ve worked myself up to be a nervous wreck – what’s she doing this for again?
If she were the same as the other fighters on the night, she’d have parted the curtain, fist-pumping to create an air of intimidation and malice for her entry into the ring. But I’m sure you know by now – Rachel’s way is an unpredictable way & unlike any other. Instead? “Skippy” comes bounding from behind the curtain, in a hot pink cape, bursting of energy and ready as ever to fight. Her stride and rhythm walking – no dancing! - to that ring summed up Rach’s energy and enthusiasm like nothing else could.
And 3 rounds of 2 minutes each later, the energy’s still there – in fact bolder & more ferocious. Rachel’s absolutely beaming at the end – I’m not sure whether this was more relief that her nose is still in tact or sheer delight that she’s done what she set out to achieve.
Each heart-wrenching round I watched gave me a greater appreciation for the type of person this sport attracts. You’ve gotta have endurance, focus, stamina and a tactical mind – in fact it doesn’t seem to be at all about aggression or a will to inflict pain (although that killer right hook comes in handy). The fight was just awesome to watch and both girls showed up the boys tenfold as the highlight of the night – just ask Google UK News the next day.
What did it take?
God only knows. I certainly don’t. But I can tell anyone who heard stories of pure exhaustion, training to the point of utter fatigue, Mars Bar Mondays, tummy slamming to get ‘rock hard abba-dabbas’ that those stories don’t do justice to the incredible commitment Rach and Trish made to prepare for this fight.
The physical overhaul, sparring sessions and technique training are one side, but more impressive in these girls is their absolute determination, mental toughness and discipline. Each craved victory like nothing else for their own reasons. And I’m convinced there was loss of enough brain cells early on to increase their conviction that bashing each other up was a box to tick.
Long after the newspaper articles and online sports new reports have been read (and framed by my mum), what did Rach get out of her debut in the ring? From reading her blog you already know the rewards have been far greater than achieving peak form & being able to punch out man-style push-ups & land a killer right hook. Whether she necessarily signed up for it or not, she’s proven to herself and everyone else she has the discipline, commitment and toughness to achieve what’s in her eyes - the sense of adventure to start it; the determination and perseverance to keep at it; and the courage to follow through with it. And that lesson impacts much more than a Hong Kong Hedge Fund Fight Nite – that one’s in Rachel’s artillery belt for Life.
I’m just so proud of her & I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next - because I’ll be along for the ride - No. 1 Fan all the way!!