The following is a guest post from Kalimba Edwards, a friend, athlete, firefighter and self proclaimed “everyday soccer mom”.
Her current goal is to attempt one competition every month in 2014.
She regularly shares her adventures on her blog Aye Kalimba – the training, the people she meets, the highs and lows, and the lessons learned.
Each month, we will catch up with Kalimba to hear about her progress.
This month Kalimba tells us about competing in the Unite & Fight Charity Boxing Match.
Where do I begin? Let me start with the fact that Unite & Fight was one of the most fun events I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.
From the moment I walked into the gym the staff and crew were amazing. It was well organized, entertaining, and everyone was encouraging. Alex Freese is probably one of the coolest guys I have ever met.
I’m not saying this just because he’s a fellow firefighter but also a kick ass boxing trainer with a great sense of humor.
He put together an amazing event, much respect is due. All the trainers at the gym were super motivating, helpful, and friendly.
Lisa Bach, the owner of Uppercut, is one of my new idols. She’s about as baddass as they come and her no nonsense approach to running a successful business is something that I need to study diligently.
I would like to say thank you to everyone at Uppercut Gym for putting together such an awesome event for charity. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of it…
…until that bell rang. And I got my first real punch to my nose.
Okay, I’ll bring it back a little. When I arrived at Uppercut Gym I signed my waiver and was told to get my uniform on and go take pictures.
The first picture was a solo head shot type pose. My arms folded in front of me and a serious look on my face.
Real fighter status. The second was the “stare down” with my opponent. This was the moment I first met Nicole Carle.
She walked up to me with a smile on her face and shook my hand. She seemed kind, even gentle, someone who should probably be my friend.
(FYI, I think everyone should be my friend and I don’t think that is a boxer mentality, but there I was.) Our stare down was intense.
For a whole fifteen seconds I looked into her eyes so deep I think I saw her soul. The whole time my bottom lip quivered like a scared puppy, but I don’t think she noticed.
She did probably notice my stuttering, fragmented sentences, and my nervous creepy laugh. I bet she wished she could of ran out of the gym. Or maybe not.
Next, I went to chill out and get my mind right in the warm up area. I’m sitting there with my headphones in listening to Three Six Mafia because I’m trying to get my “northside mind frame” when I realize I’m in the wrong warm up area.
Rookie mistake. I grab all my sh!t (said like James Franco in Spring Break) and move to the Red Team area.
I spent the next three hours rotating between getting hyped watching my teammates kick ass and shaking in my shorts watching them get hammered on by the blue team.
Guys and gals I had never met before became my best friends in those three hours.
I was chatting to everyone, no surprise there. A common theme for pretty much everyone was “trying to relax” which never really worked.
I would sit down and put my music on for 30 seconds then hear the crowd scream and jump up.
I would say my “fight or flight” reflex was in full gear during that time.
I began to warm up a couple fights before mine. I was punching the focus mitts with my trainer from Uppercut.
Fellow firefighter Leonard Crawford and Sean Thomas were there to help me out and I’m super grateful for them. Everyone was giving me really good tips.
I was feeling pretty good in the minutes leading up to the fight.
“Come on, you wanna go?” I said with my gloves up to Alphonzo Vasquez (a 20+ year boxing veteran and trainer at Uppercut) who was warming up like a champion.
“Naw man, I see those back muscles,” he said laughing.
“They are all for show.” I responded back. I wanted to say, “Yeah, I CrossFit” but I didn’t.
It’s my turn now. I see Nicole go by with her crew. All I can hear is my heartbeat and someone behind me saying “relax”. The announcer says “Aye Kalimba” and I start my entrance.
Now, I’m not saying that I love attention but I did enjoy the walk in. I mean, really, how could I not? Everyone cheering for me.
People giving me high fives. I stopped and talked to little Clara, letting her know woman can and should be strong.
The crowd was hype and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eating it up. In fact if I could of danced around the ring for the three minutes and maybe told a few short stories I would said I was be in my element.
Then the bell rang. I ran out like I was going to do something serious and immediately was punched in the nose.
Then I took a hook to the temple. Honestly, every time I went to punch her I got punched in my face and I couldn’t figure out why.
It wasn’t until I got home I remember Alex telling me during sparring that I need to “hide behind my shoulder.”
Nope, I was just walking right into her fist. It’s funny now that I think about it, last night, not so much.
I wanted to walk right out of there after that first round. Everyone was talking to me.
I couldn’y hear anything. My head was pounding already and my nose was stuffed.
I really thought my nose was broke. That’s what happens when you’ve never been hit before I had nothing to gauge the pain against. All I knew was I didn’t like it.
Round two was more of the same. I heard people yelling for me to hit her and all I was thinking was “I might as well hit myself.” I felt like I was getting the crap beat out of me.
Round three I took a couple to the head and mentally I was done. I was thinking “Let’s just forget this whole thing.
Can’t we be friends. Request me on Facebook, I’ll send you some funny or motivating pictures.”
“You alright?” The referee says to me grabbing my hands.
“Not really.” I said back.
“I’m going to talk to you for a second,” the ref says to me.
“Yes, what do you want to talk about? Let’s chat till the bell rings.” I’m thinking.
He lets my hands go though and I have fight again.
I end the fight standing. I landed some body punches. In my mind I got my ass handed to me. When I watched the fight back it wasn’t as bad as what I thought.
I think she went easy on me. If so, I thank her for that. She did tell me I punch hard so maybe I did land some.
“You see that? You want some of that?” I said to Vazquez when I came back to the dressing room. Everyone laughed and I was happy because I didn’t get my sense of humor beat out of me!
There is one thing that made the memory of all of blows fade. My son, Tyheem, hugging me and saying, “Your awesome mom! Next year I’m going to train and do it with you.”
That’s what Aye Kalimba is all about. That’s what this mom lives for. Inspiring people, especially my children, to try things that scare them. To chase their dreams no matter how crazy they are!