These Old Gloves

These black worn gloves which have been through so much. The logo is yellow and faded on the back. The tough gray mesh on the palms is tearing near my thumb on both gloves. The gray wrists are thin and stretched out. The velcro strap barely stays on and must be taped during sparring. The elastic on the straps is wavy from being so stretched out.

I’ve slammed these into heavy bags for over eight years now. They aren’t fancy by any means. My black sixteen ounce boxing gloves are faded at the knuckles. The back of them has a yellow Everlast “E” which has peeled and cracked.

These gloves have been in hundreds of sparring matches. They’ve been in two smokers. Late into Friday nights my friends went out and partied. I was in a dimly lit warehouse, in the octagon sparring with my coach and teammates.

The graying knuckles are beginning to crack. The cheap polyester plastic is nearing the end of its life. The padding is no longer round on the front. It has been flattened by thousands of straight punches and jabs. The gray wrist guards are stretched and thin from thousands of hooks. The velcro straps pop off every hundred punches from the many hundreds of thousands.

I’ve strapped these gloves on after hundreds of workouts. I thought I may pass out from most of them. I’ve strapped these on through the good times. I’ve strapped these on through heartbreak. I’ve strapped these gloves on to just leave my emotions in the heavybag. I’ve strapped these on for sparring late nights. I’ve strapped these on after my name was announced to fight.

These gloves could be measured in miles. Running back and forth on the mats in between rounds. Breaks are for fights.

I’ve only worn these gloves in four different gyms, three different garages, and two states. I bring them with intention. I bring them where I go to get better. I bring them to the gym. I bring them to the fight team in California. I also brought them with me to college. They are my study break. They are my “chicken noodle soup for the soul.” They are my “I hate running” cardio.

My gloves have been through every serious relationship. They have lasted longer than any of them. They got me through each of them. One dull thud after another, into a heavy hard bag of sand.

When I strap them on, I am bowing into a dojo. I clear my mind and focus on the task at hand. I do what I have done since I was only three. I remove the world and learn and practice karate. I learn and practice the art of empty hands.