BLOOMINGBURG, NY – When a pitcher misses a start once in a while, there’s always another arm waiting to substitute. But when a hurler fails to toe the rubber when slated, he becomes susceptible to relegation in the bullpen. This is most likely my last post for a bit, as I fend off that pesky disease called cancer. I have zero fear of being pulled from the Meet The Matts starting rotation, though, since free labor even – in a pandemic – is nonexistent and Short Matt doesn’t hang out with many people who can string together sentences for lucid thought. Punch drunk, they may be and that allows for a segue to today’s column: Boxing Trilogies (sort of).
I’ve seen some of boxing’s greatest trilogies: Ali-Frazier in the 70’s, Bowe-Holyfield in the 90’s and most recently Gatti-Ward. All were wars and as good as advertised. Here I am in the midst of embarking on Cheesy Bruin v Cancer III and it got me thinking about the Sweet Science. Fighters train their bodies for their career. Eating correctly, hydrating, roadwork, footwork, and ring work. Training the mind is equally important.
I’m no Adonis. This body is full of my mom’s nourishing lasagna from years past and improperly hydrated with Schaefer Beer and bourbon. But it’s the mental part I’ve become adept at in approaching the opponent that is The Big C. Like the fighters above, I know what to expect with my rival. There’s a comfort in knowing the foe; how to game plan… what to do to emerge victorious. There’s a certain will and heart needed when there’s little guesswork when two combatants meet three times. I’m comfortable right now—relaxed and calm. I’m ready to do my part in this and that’s to rely on what every successful fighter needs in these instances. It’s necessary to have a strong corner—a cut-man, trainer… even a person to hold a spit bucket. I have many friends, old and new, to keep me on course for what’s ahead. Notably Angry Ward, Grote2DMax, Short Matt, JGClancy, Tall Matt and my Middletown Elks family. It’s people like this that keep me going and strengthen my will and resolve. As Woody Hayes pointed out in a famous quote “It all starts with people”. True dat. Thanks to you all for your unwavering support.
A cut-man is my doctor. The man’s name is Dr. Eric Genden. He is brilliant and has a bedside manner and humility unseen in expert minds like his. I’m in great hands and trust him to do right by me and he has promised me as much. The people holding the spit bucket are the nurses and orderlies keeping things sanitary during these pandemic times. Changing a bagful of urine or emptying out a bedpan of my poop isn’t pleasant work. But it’s necessary for the wellness of the fighter. I’ve got the best people. I’ve got the heart and will. I’m not ready to throw in the towel. I will do my part in recovery. God will do what He can and I believe.
Don’t worry about me. I will win again just like in 1992 and 2011 (when the Boston Bruins hoisted that beautiful silver trophy).
See you soon folks!