I was born to be a champion

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story on a mans journey to be a champion.

Entered into a contest for Rhensis.

Submitted: June 20, 2011

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Submitted: June 20, 2011

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The crowd was cheering. Not that it mattered who for. They just paid to see two guys beat eachother senseless. The blue canvas is mere inches from my face. I can feel it on my elbows and knees. My vision is blurred. I could barely see my opponent, let alone anything else. I reach up and take hold of the ropes lining the ring. I stand myself up and my opponent comes into focus for a second. I see his black and blue striped shorts, his well-trained abs, white boxing gloves. One of which comes in for another blow, sending me straight for the canvas again. Luckily for me, the bell rings, signalling the end of this round, giving me some time to recuperate. I ease my way into my corner. "Danny, you can't do this! It's not right!" My eyes are still unfocused, so I can barely make out the ginger-haired man I call my trainer. "It's suicide!" He was wearing his favourite tweed suit at the start of this fight, one you would find better suited to a librarian, but I am having trouble focusing my eyes on that too. Perhaps some of those punches has affected my vision. And yet there was only one thing on my mind. I was born to be a champion.


It was summer. My father had taken me to the club again. That place was his most precious thing to him. It was 20 years ago. I was 12 then. We had trained most of the day. My cross-jabs were a little sloppy. But I was determined to make him proud. I was going to be the great boxer he was. "Almost perfect, son, just a few more sets, and you'll have it down pat! We'll make a great boxer out of you yet!" Those words. They gave me confidence. I wouldn't let him down. I tried my hardest to get those punches right. An hour later, he calls it quits. "That's enough for today. Time for us to eat!" We relocated to his office, where Mom had packed us sandwiches. As I ate a nice egg, cheese and tomato sandwich, I looked in awe at all Dads framed newspaper articles. KING OF THE RING STILL UNDEFEATED! The King. That's what they called him. "One day, you are going to be king too, Danny. You were born to be a champion."


The bell rings. Round 4. I could barely see straight. I knew what is next. Just hope to outlast him. That's all I can do. I swing a right hook at what I can only make out to be my opponent, hitting nothing but air. Another swing. Another miss. He hits me right on my left temple. Bang. I can feel my heart throbbing in my brain now. I bring up an uppercut. The hit surprises him for a moment. Just enough to send a right hook, followed by a left, his way. They both connect. Bang Bang. A quick right jab to his face sends him onto his ass. I was born to be a champion.


There she is. College days. College girls. Or girl. This one in particular. Emily Browne. Her long black hair glimmers in the daylight, the curled ends bobbing as she walks. Her lips a perfect shade of red for those rosy cheeks on her amazing white skin. That cute small nose of hers, aligned perfectly between beautiful blue eyes. My perfect girl. She's wearing a long green dress today. The color of Envy. Huh. Envy. I guess that would make sense. Every girl wants me, why would she not be envious? And yet, she never even knew I existed. "Just introduce yourself, man!" My friend. He goes on to own a law firm. I never see him again after college, but I always send him tickets to my games. Only one time those seats are filled. "What have you got to lose, dude? Remember what you always say? You were born to be a champion!"


Round 5. My opponent is trying to stand while the Referee counts down. From the corner, I look towards the crowd. My vision is still blurred. I think there may be some permanent damage there. I look to the 'special' seating. Seating that is only available to guests of the fighters. On this side, I see the blurred images of my guests. My friend. And his new wife. His third, I think he said. Then, an empty seat. He must be using the toilet or something. A single red rose on the fourth seat. For them. Without looking at the other seats, I turn back to my opponent. He is finally ready to fight again. I step towards him. He uppercuts. I can't even see his attacks anymore. I swing. Miss. He jabs, it knocks me into the ropes. I steady myself. The bell rings. The round is over. I know I can't take any more of this. But I must keep going. I was born to be a champion.


Seven years ago. An afterparty at Dads club. I had just won my first fight in an actual tournament. I couldn't be happier. My mother and father were there. As was Emily. We'd been dating for a while, and we had even started making love together. We were perfect together. I couldn't see anyone else in my life as great as her. The party went on for many hours. It was only till it had died down considerably that Emily pulled me aside and said, "We need to talk." I couldn't respond. When someone hears those words, a million and one things come to mind, none of which are good. We eventually find ouselves in the solitude of Dads office. "Danny. Congratulations on the win." She was staring at Dads newspaper articles. "I'm not going to bother with the small talk. I guess I should come right out with it." This was where the pre-breakup speech usually occurs. "We've been together for a while, yes?" She paused, but not long enough for a reply. "And we've had some great times together. I see a future for us, and this is where it starts. However, with your boxing, that future worries me more and more every day. I think if there is to be a future, then you need to quit boxing. For me." I was ready to tell her that boxing was no more dangerous than Firefighter, or Policeman. But she cut me off. "You see....the truth is, I'm pregnant." I was stunned. There was no rebuttal, no convincing. I decided without a moments hesitation that I would box no more. For her. For the child. I would do everything and anything to look after them. In a way, it was new type of fight. I was born to be a champion.


Ammonia. The disgusting smell that hospitals were known for. The smell of the dead. The dying. I wandered through that hospital, unaware of my surroundings. I wished for something, anything that meant I would not be here. I felt the gentle hand on my shoulder. It was Emily. "How are you honey?" I turned and saw her smiling face. She looked as beautiful as ever. Even with the round belly of hers protruding from under her shirt. I wanted to tell her that she shouldn't be walking around so much, but she seemed to read my thoughts. "It's okay. All that matters is you." I punched the wall behind me. I couldn't keep the tears away. "You need to at least be there in the last few moments." She led me back to the room. There he lie. My father in a hospital bed. All for that 'last cigarette'. He now had lung cancer, and was slowly dying. I made my way to his side. He looked up at me.

"Danny, you're back! Can't get away from this old geezer like that, eh?" He laughed. Or choked. It was hard to tell which one he was trying to do. "It's almost my time, son. I need to ask you a small favour, though. I've already okayed it with Emily beforehand." Another choke-laugh. "I want you to get back into the sport. Take up boxing once more. I want to see the King return to the ring! I want you to win." He smiled. I looked up at Emily, who nodded her approval. A fathers dying wish. What kind of woman refuses that for her husband? "Remember, son. You were born to be a champion."


I think it's Round 8 now. I've lost count. My ears are ringing. I look to the guest seating. I make out what seems to be my son. The son I raised since Emily died at birth. It's been four years, and I've become the Prince of the Ring. I'll never be the King. My father was the only King of the Ring. That title belonged to him. My opponent comes in with a right hook. I get knocked back. But I must keep going. It was what I have been raised for. I was born to be a champion.


"You can't do this." My trainer. He offered his services free of charge after my father died. The two of them were close. He reminded me of Carrot Top. "I've read things about this guy. Some people never leave the ring." I've heard the stories too. Apparently my next opponent was a human machine. Born and bred to be a fighter. His fists have killed men. There was even one story about how he punched through an armored car. Not sure about the truth in that. Mere rumors. But I believed them. And what scared me the most was that if I wanted to live up to my fathers legacy, I needed to fight him. The last guy in the the International Boxing Championship, and the most prestigious belt in the boxing circuit. But after this, I can hang up the gloves and live my life in peace with my son. It all comes down to this last fight. I was born to be a champion.


I can't hear. I'm almost blind. I can't walk straight. Another couple rounds and I may die. I have to end this here and now. The bell rings. Round 9 begins. I push forward with a dozen or so right hooks. Bang, bang, bang, bang. I hit him hard and I hit him fast. I don't even know if it's him I'm hitting, but I don't care. If I can take him now, I can become a true champion. I keep whaling on him. I can feel his spit and sweat hit my face as I send punch after punch into his face. He knows he's beat. It's only a matter of time before- WHAM! An uppercut by him sends me a few feet into the air and onto my back. Wow, that was powerful. I ease myself up to stand. Wait, does that mean he was pulling his punches? KRAK! I feel his left hook hit my face, and time slows down. Each memory of my life comes rushing back into my mind. All the training, the people, the fighting. Every little thing that made me happy. And now, as time starts to speed back up, and the power of his punch snaps my neck, there is one last thought that pops up in my head.


I was born to be a champion.


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