Last month (February 2019), I attended the 8th annual Financial Services Fight Night (FSFN) in Cape Town together with one of my good friends. We were supporting a colleague of mine who was one of the many contestants taking part in the series of fights over the course of the evening. FSFN is a fundraising event put together by The Armoury Boxing club with sponsorship from Financial Services companies – the likes of FIS, Sygnia and Investec.
The fights were largely in good spirit, even though some of the contestants threw serious blows at each other – as if to settle a long standing vendetta, much to the pleasure of the jeering crowd. In fact, I am sure that those who were watching right up from the ring side not only got front row action but the occasional blood splatter as well! This, coupled with the giving-back nature of the event (as proceeds are donated to a local charity) made for a thoroughly entertaining and worthwhile evening. Whilst driving back home, my friend and I shared how great an initiative the FSFN is, as well as the handful of everyday life takeaways one could draw from the event, these are listed below.
1. Do not let your ‘perceived’ disadvantage hold you back.
It was clear that height, if well utilized, was an advantage for the taller boxers. However, it was not an automatic ticket to victory. In many fights, a lot of the boxers held their own even when they were not as tall as their opponents. So much so that they resulting contests were evenly balanced.
2. Sharpen your axe.
One of the famous quotes credited to Abraham Lincoln is “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” This speaks to the indispensable value of preparation. Maybe preparation can even be considered along the same ranks as force multipliers. It readies and greatly enables one for opportunity should it come their way. Chatting with my colleague in the run up to his fight, he mentioned how he had been rigorously practicing for close to four months for the fight night. This involved a strict diet and physical exercise. Suffice to say, after watching him in the boxing ring, it was clear that he had sharpened his axe.
3. Fight till the very end.
By the time the final round for each fight arrived, the fighters were clearly physically spent. That said, they hung in there and tried to muster all the remaining energy they had left until the final bell sounded, signalling the end of the fight. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr – “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Fight till the very end.
4. You do not have to always understand why people do what they do.
This is really a note-to-self. I spent the better part of the FSFN trying to figure out why someone would willingly volunteer to put their body on the line, receive blows and exert themselves to the point of absolute exhaustion at the end of their designated fight. Whilst I would generally opt for a non-contact sport like tennis, this was a reminder that people are unique, different and diverse. At the end of the day, embracing our differences can often make us stronger.
5. No man is an island.
Over 600 spectators attended the event to show support for their colleagues on the day. This speaks to the value of community whether in a corporate setting or social setting. Put simply, this was a subtle reminder that no man is an island and in the words of Phil Dooley, we are better together.
Big shout out to all the fighters on the night, working hard, displaying incredible sportsmanship and of-course, supporting a good cause.
Remember to put your best foot forward, everyday!
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