Falls ihr es noch nicht wisst: Every now and then setzt sich mein lieber Kumpel Charles exklusiv für euch an seine Schreibmaschine und berichtet lebendig und direkt aus New York. Und auch von drumherum.
Diesmal nimmt er uns mit zum Madison Square Garden, genauer gesagt zum…
Not a Don King Production
Coliseum tiers of drunken riff-raff, combatants pulled from the far corners of the empire, jingoistic pageantry and celebrity cameos; it“™s truly a spectacle in the Roman mold. And what better place for a Roman spectacle than the Capital of the World?
We arrived at Madison Square Garden with no tickets and only half an idea that the heavyweight title fight would actually be there. We were met with an arena full of restless, rowdy fans and an opening match already in progress. The contenders were two South American fighters, and we got there in time to see the man from Managua taking his Columbian opponent to town. He wasn“™t just winning either, he was taunting, rallying the crowd, wagging his hips. Somehow I thought this would be more like a normal sporting event.
I should have been at home working on my final project instead of boozing with the guys, but somehow I had rationalized my way into being a hooligan for the night. It“™s the second to last semester for my degree, and I“™m just out of interest. I“™m not a strong finisher, I guess. After three years of class after class, now I just want to watch television.
Seeing boxing live is different from watching it on TV. When you watch it on television, it“™s focused: the hyperactive announcer calls every slip and jab, you“™re always right on the action, and the TV keeps you hypnotized no matter what“™s on anyway. Live boxing matches turn into a distant, mellow background noise. While you“™re waiting for the main event, you can drink, gab, check out girls, and then if you happen to glance at the ring you see two guys trying to kill each other. Very relaxing.
When it was finally time for the main event, it was obvious that these contenders were a different species from the previous ones. The lightweights and super-featherweights were as to insects. In their respective corners, each side“™s camp surrounded and doted on their fighter; fanning them, psyching them up. The current champion was calmly shadow boxing. A close beard, a quiet style, features that seemed Castilian from the cheapest seats in the house. His challenger, very bald and very dark, was bobbing around in his half of the ring, ready to go. His deep-set eyes smoldered over a permanent scowl. No trash-talking, no triumphal arm waving; both fighters were ready to earn this one.
I wasn“™t so much ready to earn anything as an undergraduate. There was a change in how much I was willing to apply myself to school when I returned there as an adult. In the first place, I“™m sober more often now. That turns out to be a big plus. In the second place, paying for it myself, and at ivy-league prices, is also very motivating. But whatever the reasons, I“™m much more willing to simply do the work now instead of dodging it to be clever, an old hobby of mine. Surprisingly, sometimes hard work does actually pay.
In a strange way, this hard-working vs. short-cuts dichotomy has its place in boxing strategy, too. It“™s not unusual for one boxer to plan on winning in stages, with strategy and skill (Lennox Lewis), while the other one wants to just go in there and rip his opponent“™s head off and eat his children (Mike Tyson). Tonight, it looked like both fighters planned to go the distance. Thud, thud, dance, thud. Nothing crazy, no wild swings, no head-butts; just solid, aggressive boxing. The title-holder was working hard on the ribs; a few jabs and then the body shot, gradually wearing down his challenger. That“™s the strategy to win a long fight; lay the groundwork.
Three years of classes has been a lot of groundwork. Even more, if you add the years of professional work and my undergrad (inebriated as it was). It“™s groundwork for something, I hope. Some possibility. Some choice. Some act.
I think it was in round eight when the champ fell on his ass. It might have been a slip, but he was definitely on his ass. After that, things started to go bad for him. When he got up again, he was on the defensive, and pretty soon the crowd started chanting for the challenger, hoping to see a knock-out.
But they both made it through all twelve rounds, and then the world waited for the score cards. It was a good fight, but the soon-to-be-former heavyweight champion“™s performance had left us a little empty. His careful set-up, the strategic body work, and then… what? Then, nothing.
Geschrieben steht: Im Anfang war das Wort!
Hier stock ich schon! Wer hilft mir weiter fort?
Ich kann das Wort so hoch unmoeglich schaetzen,
Ich muss es anders uebersetzen,
Wenn ich vom Geiste recht erleuchtet bin.
Geschrieben steht: Im Anfang war der Sinn.
Bedenke wohl die erste Zeile,
Dass deine Feder sich nicht uebereile!
Ist es der Sinn, der alles wirkt und schafft?
Es sollte stehn: Im Anfang war die Kraft!
Doch, auch indem ich dieses niederschreibe,
Schon warnt mich was, dass ich dabei nicht bleibe.
Mir hilft der Geist! Auf einmal seh ich Rat
Und schreibe getrost: Im Anfang war die Tat!
— Goethe, Faust
Quotes from friends:
I tried reading that a few times, but I never finished. About halfway through, I always put it down because I feel like I have to DO something.
— Robert Kaeding, on reading Nietzsche“™s Thus Spake Zarathustra
No one cares who you are here. If you“™re not the Pope or the heavyweight champion of the world, forget it!
— Chris Mosé, my first boss in New York, welcoming me to the city