Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Boxer

Answer:  LOL.  Question:  Mrs. Linklater, do you think you could get in good enough shape over the next two years to compete at the college level in any of your former sports?

So Mrs. Linklater comes out of the ladies room at the production house where she's editing and runs into a guy who is so sweaty he looks like he just fell in a pool.  With all his clothes on.

Not something you see everyday, no matter where you work.

His name is Terry. Turns out he is the real life subject of a documentary about a guy in his forties who has decided to go back to grad school, just so he can compete in his sport at the college level. One more time. 

Mrs. Linklater knows there are players who have returned to school in their 30's and 40's and played football again, because they hadn't used up their eligibility.

She even had a girlfriend who went back to school in her late thirties and became the captain of the volleyball team. Even more amazing [to Mrs. Linklater] was that she had been on the swim team the first time around.  

But Mrs. Linklater is willing to bet that no one has tried to go back to college to box again.

Last night was the first night of shooting -- you know, cameras, not guns -- the first time this determined guy has put on the gloves, literally and figuratively, in 25 years.

That's why Terry was all sweaty when Mrs. Linklater encountered him, because he and a film crew had just come back from his workout at the gym so he could clean up.

Mrs. Linklater invited herself to stick around and screen the stuff they shot. To see what the new DV cameras came up with. And see if she thought this documentary could really happen.

What she saw was great. 

How really and truly good the new DV footage looked, artistically. How the crew was able to capture the intensity on Terry's face as he was running on the treadmill.  How lucky for Terry that he's telegenic. [The guy looks like an Irish Tom Berenger.]

He's already in pretty good shape for any age, let alone his mid-forties.This documentary really could turn into something.

She watched and listened to his nonstop running dialogue about boxing while the camera captured him going a few rounds with the heavy bag. How can he talk and do that?

His first hit in 25 years was recorded for posterity.

In the background, the gym looked great. Some of "Ali" was supposedly shot there. There were also other boxers working out in the background, as if they had been cued. As they say, the composition and optics looked mighty fine.

Watching him she laughed along with everyone else, as he kept trying to get his bearings on the speed bag.

Not easy after two and a half decades.

What made it even more entertaining was listening to him simultaneously describe, in graphic detail, each round of his last few fights all those years ago, pounding on the bag to emphasize a point.

"Then I broke his jaw!" POW! "It took him three weeks to feel right again!" POW!

After screening the footage, he talked about unfinished business.  If he hadn't lost his last fight in a decision, maybe he wouldn't feel the need to do all this. "All this" is a lot.

He got turned down for law school at the university where he graduated. Where he wants to box again.

So he has decided to try to transfer in from another school after a year.  This isn't going to be easy -- getting good enough grades to transfer while getting into shape to compete at the same time.

Money doesn't seem to be a problem.  Or worrying about neglecting a wife and  kids.

He seems to be independently wealthy. He's never been married.

So he can act on his need to do this wild and crazy thing without heat from the homefront.

Most of the rest of us couldn't dream of acting out our midlife crises just to scratch an itch -- to get something out of our systems once and for all.

Maybe there's a lesson here he can teach us.  But, frankly, Mrs. Linklater isn't sure what it is.

Or whether it's a lesson worth learning.





quroboros said...

HA!  Reading along, I too was wondering 'why' and your tidbits on his background are very telling.  Some men have affairs or buy a Corvette; this guy wants to beat someone's brains to a pulp?

I've kept up with my sport for 3 decades now, but the years are definitely taking their toll.  I got flattened by my horse recently & bounced right back up (literally), but the aftermath of pain, stiffness & bruising lasted for a more than week.  It made me once again question 'how long can I continue to do this?'  But what keeps me coming back is a passion, not a compulsion.  ¤Holly

jevanslink said...

I didn't mention his easy going, funny, friendly manner off camera. An unusual contrast to how intense he was during his workout. I agree it seems like an obsession, because he hasn't been boxing at all.  Just stewing about something that happened a long time ago.