Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.-Mike Tyson
Haha, I do know the feeling. In 2016, I became infatuated with boxing so I trained competitively for eight months at the oldest boxing gym in Las Vegas called Johnny Tacos. I trained with my coach Kelcie Banks for 7 hours a day, trained with mitts, boxing bag, did 200 crunches a day and counted my macros. However, what made me quit was not any of those but exactly to Mike Tyson’s point. Kelcie and I would drill in our routine and plan. We had determined that my advantage was my wing span so I should keep the opponent away with my jab. We liked to start with a couple jabs and probe her to enter the danger zone to reach my face. When she attempted to enter, I would take that opportunity to daze her with a hard cross. I would then weave immediately to the right because she would most likely come at me with a right hook. My next move would be a body blow since I’m in position to do so. I would take that opportunity to make as much damage as possible. The rest of the time was just protecting myself with the jab and waiting for my opponent to make a mistake.
This was such a foolproof plan until it wasn’t. I remember my first spar session with a young lady who looked like she could eat me for breakfast. I was immediately intimidated and felt my instincts urge me to hop over the ropes and into safety. My pride made me stay and fight to the death so I prepped myself for my plan. She was about 2 inches shorter than me but stocky and built so I figured my plan was foolproof. She couldn’t easily reach me so I figured she had to step into my danger zone.
The bell rang, we touched gloves and the match began. I kept jabbing to keep her away and to lead her in. About 30 seconds into the match, she entered and attempted to land a body blow. I blocked and took this opportunity to land a left hook followed by a hard cross. This left her dazed but back into it soon after. My adrenaline was in full force, I completely had the upper hand. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for her to enter again, and when she finally did, I was ready to end it. The only problem for me was that she faked another body blow but landed a hard cross. The sensation of being punched in the face was nothing like I’ve ever felt before. All I could see were stars and all I could feel was a strange numbing sensation across my face. I couldn’t tell if my nose was still attached or if I had any teeth remaining. My opponent then proceeded to land a body shot, followed by a right hook to the head. I began to flail wildly, attempting to land punches but with the shock of that first blow, my plan had jumped straight over the ropes as I should have in the beginning. I will spare you the rest of the details but all you need to know is that I lost the match, and less than a dozen matches later, I said goodbye to my boxing career and hello again to my first love, golf.
So when I heard Mike Tyson’s quote, it made me chuckle because even though it’s a boxing reference, I immediately thought of golf. Just when we think we’ve got golf all figured out, when we’ve finally figured out how to keep our drive straight, when we’ve made every putt within 10 feet, when we’ve just broken our personal record, when we think we’ve got every shot in the golf bag, golf punches us in the face. Golf lands a hard cross because we had prepped to block a body blow and our plan goes out the window. We all have a plan to make pars and birdies until our drive goes OB, we chunk it into the hazard or we skull it out of the green side bunker. Then all bets are off. Just when we’ve lowered our golf handicap and think this is the beginning of a new era, golf hits us with a 92. Just when we’ve had the best ball striking day, golf lands the next punch with a range session full of shanks. Just like when we’ve drained every putt within 15 feet all day, we miss a one-footer. Just when our scoring in golf is starting to pay off in investment of time, energy and money, golf punches back with golfer’ elbow.
Interestingly enough, in life as well, just when we think we’re sitting on the top of the world, whether professional or personal, life comes in with a hard cross to knock you off your mountain. Just when we’ve gotten a big promotion, the economy crashes and we lose our job. Just when we think we’re set for a vacation, Thomas Cooke goes bankrupt and leaves 600,000 of us stranded and destroying our holiday plans. I think the universe is designed like that though, because its designed to keep us humble. Think about boring it would be and how big our egos would be if we conquered both life and golf.
So in conclusion, when life punches you in the face, trust that its meant to happen, shake it off and punch back because unlike in boxing, at least your face isn’t in danger.