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 Texas : Features : Columns : Spunky Flat and Beyond :

THE PUGILIST

by George Lester
George Lester
I had a friend who lived in Gladewater, Texas, just a couple of miles from the Union Grove area. He had won several amateur boxing matches, and he was willing to help me learn a bit about the manly art. We spent many hours behind the house, sparring in the hot summer sun. After a while, neighbor kids would come to watch. Against my will, my friend would take off his gloves and invite one of them to try my skill. I reluctantly found that I had become a pretty good boxer, and my confidence began to grow every day as I defeated yet another opponent.

When school started that fall, I learned that, for the first time, there would be a boxing team, and I jumped at the chance to join. The boxers were divided into two teams who would later face each other in an event at the end of the year. At practice each day, I continued to easily beat my sparring partners, and my confidence grew even more.

Finally, the big day came on which the two teams were to face each other. I soon learned who my opponent would be. I knew him as a soft-spoken, shy fellow who wouldn't harm a flea. I came out of my corner at the opening bell, brimming with confidence. I had been practicing jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and feinting, and I thought I had them down to a science. How could this mild-mannered fellow stand up to me? All I saw was a blur of flying fists as he came at me like the Tasmanian devil, completely ignoring all the finer skills of boxing. In seconds I was completely overwhelmed, and I was glad to see the referee stop the fight.

I didn't go out for boxing the next year.
George Lester
Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir
- March 1, 2006 column

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