In the spirit of true adventure, I won’t linger on adventures of the past, although newsworthy, adventure to me means looking forward to the next bigger and better thing, always progressing.
"If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future." –Winston Churchill
Fight! There is no better way to kick things off. After all, fighting is my occupation and I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that fighting is an adventurous activity. This fight week was particularly important because I had a contract and an opponent. That might not sound ground breaking, but when the months prior consist of 40 opponents refusing to fight or backing out of verbal agreements, it’s reason enough to be excited. On top of that, this particular opponent was undefeated with the same 3-0 record that I held.
Damn right I want to hand an opponent his first loss. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, it sounded great up until a week and a half before the fight when my opponent had second thoughts. I’ve been in this scenario before, but it always amazes me when “fighters” won’t fight. C’mon, it’s your job!
Flights and hotel rooms were booked to Denver, Colorado for my coaches and I and to make matters worse the same is true for about 10 members of my family and friends from the East Coast. Luckily Willy Smalls, a local fighter from Denver, stepped up to the challenge. Not the opponent we were hoping for but Willy Smalls proved to be a tough opponent. The fight ended with a submission about three and a half minutes into the 1st round, but I had to work for it. I managed to get my fourth 1st round finish. Reason enough to celebrate, yes, but this wasn’t the guy I really wanted to choke. A fight is a fight, and the thing I need most is experience, so I’ll take what I can get.
After the fight I made sure to thank Willy for taking the fight on such short notice and we ended up talking for about 10 minutes. What a great guy he turned out to be. I had my suspicions that he was cool when I caught a glimpse of him dancing to my entrance music. It’s a safe bet that any fan of Prince is a friend of mine! The fights were finished relatively early so I was able to spend some time with my friends and family before they took off Sunday morning. The fact that my family came to show their support was definitely the best part of the weekend for me. I don’t get back to the East Coast very often, so it’s pretty rare that the whole family can be together. I’ve learned to cherish those times and it’s hilarious that fighting is what brought us together! My family in attendance for the fight didn’t just include my parents and brothers, my grandmother, “Grandy” as she’s most well known also made the trip. Not many Grandmothers would be interested in watching a cage fight, but there are absolutely no Grandmothers like my Grandy!
I was able to extend my trip a few days to explore Denver and the surrounding areas. It wouldn’t be very adventurous of me to ignore the Rocky Mountains! Especially when my brothers organized a plot to conquer Quandary Peak and it’s 14,265 feet of elevation while I was cutting weight for my fight. Jerks. So, my great friend Max Wessell and his family made sure to show me all the hot spots. We were busy training (Max will be a sophomore at Lehigh University in the fall and will be making a splash at heavyweight – keep an eye out for him. He’s a monster!) so a 14,000 foot mountain wasn’t in the cards for us but we managed to put together a day hike at Mount Sinitas in Boulder, CO. It was amazing. We also made it to a Rockies game and believe it or not, it was a great time. I don’t want to admit it, but I may have high-fived some people in the crowd when the Rockies pulled out a win in extra innings.
Leaving Colorado to head back to California, believe it or not, was pretty difficult. I got to spend time with some old friends from all different places and times in my life. College friends, teammates, students, friends that I’ve camped, backpacked or mountain biked with and of course my family. And on top of that Colorado is a magical place. I’ll be back, but in the meantime, Colorado will remain a magical place and all of my friends and I will be off on adventures of our own. The next time we meet we’ll have that much more to share with each other.
You never know where or when adventure will find you, but you have to be out experiencing everything for it to come calling. Until next time…