I was trying to break-up a brawl where six people were stomping, kicking and hitting a friend of mine after an altercation outside of a bar.
What instigated the encounter was pretty outrageous—and barely worth arguing about—but it still led to some injuries.
When I tried to intervene and end the fight by calmly stepping in, one of the offenders assaulting my friend sucker-punched me dead in the nose, and instantly knocked me out.
The only fun part of that story? It happened a few days before I went to get books autographed by the author of “Fight Club,” who, when I met him, assumed it was a gag and I was an uber-fan, because I was donning two black eyes and a brace over the bridge of my nose.
That altercation aside, I’m not a large fellow by any means, and certainly not physically aggressive.
In fact, I flinch when raindrops fall from the sky.
Yet despite being scared of not only my own shadow, but anything that casts a shadow in general, I’m going to be putting my fighting fears in the corner, gloving up and getting ready to hop in the ring to take on another first-time boxer—all in the name of cancer research.
At the risk of getting too personal, two very close family members of mine were impacted by cancer recently.
One of those relatives succumbed to an aggressive brain tumor, while the other, my mother, was fortunate enough to tackle the issue fast and come out in the clear.
Since I sat back and felt helpless during these two trying times, I decided now would be a good chance for me to step in, put my already-damaged nose on the line, and give back to help others.
Started by Dover, Massachusetts native Andrew Myerson and Dedham native Julie Anne Kelly, Haymakers for Hope, a non-profit, is taking on its third annual event in Boston this May, and the creators were looking for some new fighters.
Although I’m not very much into sports (I’m basically a pariah in Boston because of this), I am athletic, and a bit of a gym nut, so I figured, ‘why not.’
I started training last month, and already I have been socked in the face, spent roughly two hours a day training nearly six days a week, and have been on the verge of vomiting from pushing my body to the limits.
But it’s going great, vomit-induced training and all.
And I still have three months to go before the big fight in front of thousands of spectators at the House of Blues, so I really need to push myself.
But this isn’t about me. Or my training. It’s about raising both awareness and funding for a good cause.
Last year, 26 participants went fist-to-fist at the House of Blues and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As local celeb Frankie Stavrianopoulos, one of last year’s fighters, recently told me, the experience brought together members of the community and formed friendships that have lasted even after the brawls ended in the ring.
“You build relationships and bonds…you get that kind of [team] feeling,” he said. “Everyone is there to support each other.”
And it does get bloody, he added, which is fine by me. But hopefully my opponent will go easy on my nose—I might want to switch from online to TV news someday.
If he doesn’t, and gets in a few good pops, there’s always a face for radio, I suppose.