Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Roll with the Punches


 Roll with the Punches


The air was full of anticipation, and the ringside was crowded with fans.  All eyes were focused on two young boys.  Sparring for their team and individual glory.  As a young girl, I had trouble watching someone purposely hit my brother. In fact, I covered my eyes as my brother, Micah was sparring his opponent.  Although I was proud as Micah gave his opponent a successful tornado kick which scored him several points, I also struggled with the whole idea of the purpose of the fight. Why would anyone be in Tae Kwon Do and fight in competitions for fun?

Micah is not just a brother, he is my best friend. He taught and continues to teach me so many life lessons. Watching him grow and achieve his goal of becoming a black belt is something that I am very proud of. He had to fight his way up to the top (including fighting his instructor) in order to achieve this goal. My siblings thrive on the adrenaline high that physical activities produce.  As a young girl, I never thought that any physical exertion besides gymnastics and dance would excite me. I was the one sibling that would cry after any bike ride, long distance run, kayak trip, etc., and I always was the last one to finish.  No one would have ever guessed that years later athletics would become a passion for me.  No one could be more surprised than me that I would have enough courage to strap wraps around my hands and endeavor to train for the sport that terrified me the most; boxing.

I am a firm believer that God places people in our lives for a reason. And that there are no random coincidences. Three weeks before finals, I met someone who helped change my perspective on life. This National Guard student introduced me to the idea of what it means to “Roll with the Punches”.

Life is about being able to roll with the punches that will inevitably be thrown at you.  It also involves knowing how/when to fight back. We will have obstacles and challenges (punches) thrown our way. We will have deaths and heartbreaks and setbacks to accept and grow from (kicks). However, if I have learned one thing from my athletic coaches, it is that a strong mind creates a strong body. We can either stop in fear, silence ourselves, and hide, (all of which I have done) or we can “Roll with the Punches” and get back up on our feet after a hard fall.  It is NOT about the fall, but how we get back up after the fall. In the same way, “It ain’t how hard you HIT; it’s about how hard you can GET HIT, and keep moving forward” (fighting back).

This fall, I challenged myself to strap wraps around my hands. I started learning how to train myself with the help of friends to take and make good punches. No one naturally knows how to safely punch and take a punch.  It takes a good trainer who has endured many punches to mentor those who have never felt a hard punch and recovered from it. Conflict in relationships with people you care about can serve as one of the hardest punches. Personally, it has knocked me down several times.  In all honesty, sometimes I allowed it to knock me out of the ring. I allowed my fear of disappointing my friends and not measuring up to my self-induced standards to serve as a knockout punch. I have learned that I am not bound by my friends’ reactions.  My identity is not based on their expectations of me, as I know I will unintentionally disappoint friends and those closest to me. There will be conflicts that I cannot control, and I am learning to “roll with the punches” and personally grow with this reality. It is also just as important to not take life too seriously and to laugh at yourself. This helps you to get back up and fight again. Do not let obstacles or fear get in the way of your fear of being hit! 

This year, I challenge you to take life one step, one punch, and one round at a time. Minnesota FFA, let’s strap on our boxing gloves and “roll with the punches” with all that this year has to offer us. Minnesota FFA, let’s take a deep breath, relax, and remember our goals and ambitions. Minnesota FFA, let’s challenge the year 2020 to bring it on!

Stationed by the Door,

Savannah Aanerud

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