I was scrolling by on my Instagram feed recently and I came across one particular meme that brought back a nice memory.
Here it was.
This meme stuck a chord for me and so many others, because well, it’s damn TRUE! What was it about those book fairs that got us so excited? Contrast that to the bore of classroom library time. Same commodity right? …books. The mystique of this event borrowed some promotional build up with the pre-order form, had a once-a-year-ness factor with artificial scarcity (us kids wouldn’t know where we could find these titles after the fair trucks left!), and level of fan fare that made these week long sales events perhaps an event that boxing promoters out to use as a case study.
This post isn’t about my observations on promoting, I actually want to tell you my first recollection with the sport of boxing and a services of events with that left me obsessed with this game.
I was like most other boys at the school, I headed straight to the sports section. Well, half the boys in my class would bee line for the sports section, while the other half found themselves lingering in some anime something or another. Remember this was the early 2000s — this was the moment of PEAK Pokemon.
You have the scene, I was a little ass kid. I was skimming the sports shelf and this one caught my eye.
This Muhammad Ali kids book grabbed me. First, that wide eye stare on the left side, and “hey I recognize that old man on the right side from the Olympics on the TV, we saw that at grandmas house.” And so I grabbed it. It was the only book I bought from the book fair that year. I went home and read it, one of my first “CHAPTER BOOKS” thank you very much!
And then reread it.
And again. Many kids have a book or a movie that they keep coming back to. This one was it for me.
I was still very young and I had never seen a boxing gym in real life. I knew that someday, when given the opportunity, I was going to be a boxer too!
Sixth grade rolls around and my reading level isn’t that much better, but I had racked up so many AR points just from the glorious Matt Christopher anthology, that I had enough to get by. Please tell me you remember him, he had some great works like The Hockey Machine and Return of the Home Run King.
Sixth grade year a boxing gym, the first I had ever witnessed in our area, opens up in my hometown in San Pedro. I begged my parents to let me join. My mother was against the idea of me becoming a boxer.
One key element: in middle school my behavior was less than angelic. Truth be told, I made these poor teachers’ miserable.
But ever the salesman I was, especially at that age, I pitched my mom on the benefits the structure and discipline boxing workouts could bring to my day and convinced her that the upside of this little after school experiment is that it could cure me of my anger management and behavior problems.
It worked! She finally gave me the nod, but under the condition that she would never drive me to practice. Getting rides from my grandpa Mac everyday (in the beginning years) helped be form a strong relationship with him.