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My story with boxing

By Radhya Comar, April 24 2023

Everyone has heard the quote that winners never quit and quitters never quit. Quitting, the act of permanently abandoning something, is synonymous with giving up. In fact, one of the definitions of quitting listed by Merriam-Webster is “To admit defeat.” However, we are all quitters in one way or another. We have all dropped a class because it was more difficult than we anticipated or quit on a friendship that does not bring us enjoyment anymore. Most importantly, we have all most likely quit a sport. 

Leaving behind organized sports is common for young people. Findings from a poll conducted by the National Alliance for Youth Sports report that 70 per cent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the time they are 13 because “It’s just not fun anymore.” This response can be understood in many different ways. Academic pressures rise as children get older, creating pressures high enough to make the athlete quit altogether. Another central cause is the rising cause of organized physical activities. One 2014 survey found that the average cost to keep a child in organized sports was $1,000 per year, per child. For young girls, the risk of quitting sports is much higher as 1 in 3 girls quit playing sports by the time they hit their late teens. When studying the same age group, only 1 in 10 boys will do the same. While these reasons are the most common, disillusionment with sports can occur for a multitude of reasons like injuries, perception of one’s skills or just a general lack of interest. 

As a 15-year-old South-Asian female, my actionable for quitting competitive boxing was heavily focused on the concussion I got after a tournament, up until that point, my participation in “violent” activity had remained pretty dull. Yes, there had been times after practice when I had left the gym with aching bones and a collection of bruises but such was the case for any athlete in any contact sport. Many people in my family expressed their disapproval of me competing in such a seemingly dangerous sport. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed every short, cardio-centric, fast-paced and intensive round I competed in. Plus, the risk of injury was heavily mitigated by the use of protective equipment, the correct technique and fair sparring. Nonetheless, no piece of equipment has a 100 per cent guarantee of injury prevention. 

My concussion, albeit a mild one, completely altered the way I viewed my sport. Moreover, upon returning to training, I found that it had also impacted my game. While I once heavily relied on offensive tactics and agility, I found myself to be boxing more timidly. My sole focus during each subsequent practice session was how to avoid an injury of the same nature. This ultimately led me to quit competitive boxing altogether, even though I do still enjoy it recreationally from time to time. 

Obviously, this is not a personal story of bravery and eventual triumph. However, it is definitely a true one. Additionally, it is a story that documents an experience shared by many. As kids, organized sports were a huge part of our identities as they created a sense of belonging and accomplishment for many. Yet, while the experience of being on a team or participating in athletics is widely shared, somehow the experience of quitting outgrowing them is not. 

This article is a part of our Voices section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

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