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A letter from (step) dad to son

A letter from (step) dad to son

boxing_glovesTime to Read: (3 x 2 minute rounds)

For NL Week 600: A letter from (step) dad to son


I must admit, when you first shared what you were going to do, I thought you must be joking. And, when I realised you weren’t – forgive me – I thought you must be mad.

Quiet, reflective, intelligent (all opposite traits to me), during a quiet family meal, you said ‘I’ve decided to have a go at white collar boxing.’

(Pause as your mum, sister and I took this in, each of us wondering privately ‘what on earth is white collar boxing.’ Hang on  ‘boxing’ – isn’t that where people get hit, and hurt, and harmed?).

This thought, balanced with our wish for you to do anything you want with your life, caused mum to  blurt out something like ‘oh’ – followed by ‘what’s white collar?” – Bizarrely none of us said what we really wanted to – ‘please don’t’.

So you explained what white collar boxing is, and the training involved.

(It’s real boxing in a real ring between two real equally matched office workers, who have each trained for 10 weeks) (More here).

The last thing in the world I ever want to see is you being hurt, right up there with me never wanting to kill your dream. So, we said, with the same low level of enthusiasm we actually felt, ‘great’ ‘fantastic’ ‘go for it’.

And you did – you trained hard – very hard –  every Saturday for ten weeks, and as the day of the fight approached (even now I can’t believe this actually happened) you sold tickets to your family, with Rosalind, her 81 year old mum, Jean and I sitting ringside.

Any lingering doubt that this might be some kind of pretend, Lego boxing was knocked well and truly out when we arrived at the venue – The London Irish Centre (where else?) – And saw the huge size of the ring. I was more nervous that day than at any event I have ever spoken at anywhere in the world.

12 bouts on the card (see, I learned the lingo) and you were number 5.

And off we went, professional Ring Master, Referees and a sold-out crowd who had paid real money to see real boxing – whatever colour collar is involved.

The first bout was stopped when the blue boxer, as Jean (81) observed at the time ‘isn’t doing very well, he’s got blood pouring out of his nose.’

The second was a knockout.

Three more to go – and then, suddenly, there you were standing next to me. Not having been asked for, or offered any thoughts over the 10 previous weeks, as I had none, you said to me ‘any last minute advice.’ I remember looking at you and saying ‘yes, hit him, and keep hitting him. If you are hitting him he can’t be hitting you.’

Deep psychological expert opinion, that. Not.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, for Bout number five, please welcome, in the red corner, from Woking in Surrey, ANTHONY CRUNCH CORNER MULLER – and there you were…

Your opponent was very encouragingly called ‘Chris LIGHTS OUT Anderson.’

‘Oh well’ I thought ‘looks like he’s going through with it’


And the next 6 minutes seemed like an eternity…a very exciting eternity I must admit as (apparently) I spent the entire time on my feet shouting ‘HIT HIM ANTHONY

And suddenly it was over – you and Lights Out took your positions each side of the referee:


You said you were going to do it,
and you did, and you won.

With all my love

One very, very proud Dad

Comment with your best punchline below

22 Responses to A letter from (step) dad to son

  1. In a previous life, I helped run a non-profit which focused on engaging “at-risk” students in alternative educational formats and techniques. Part of our programme targeted college freshmen who, at many US institutions, are as a group statistically more likely to drink themselves to death or at least to serious harm than their elder fellow students. Our most successful programmes looked to introduce managed physical risk into the curriculum early upon entry into college. In controlled risk circumstances, such as ropes courses, climbing and other outdoor survival scenarios, students had a chance to face danger, manage risk and conquer obstacles in front of their peers and faculty. There is a body of research that shows group binge drinking escapades amongst young college students to be a substitute for similar types of rites of passage. Many cultures past and present, observe rituals which provide their youth the opportunity to have their passage into adulthood explicitly validated by their peers and elders. Many of the elements of these rituals across cultures are similar: physical challenge, risk and problem solving…all addressed in front of some sort of audience. In an absence of such a widespread institution in the US, the theory is that many youths take the opportunity to “design” risky scenarios themselves to prove themselves to their peers. The results often confuse the line between controlled physical risk and recklessness, between courage and foolishness and between initiation and spectacle. Kudos to Anthony’s family for supporting, attending and cheering. And deep respect to Anthony for taking on the challenge and following through.

  2. Well done to Anthony – Taking yourself out of your comfort zone can make you feel amazing…
    Getting older I have changed the way I think, and things I would of been too scared to attempt that I really want to do, I now quickly coach myself into the belief that I will be able to do it.
    And when you do it the feeling is awesome.
    One example for me is skiing and the first time I confidently came down a difficult run(I chose/pretended to feel confident and that made the difference ) if you suddenly doubt your ability you’re in trouble. I cried at the bottom because I was so proud of myself 🙂

    • Thank you Jackie, its overwhelming when we do something in reality that at times we thought we couldn’t David

  3. There is a man in Woking named Brain Dossett, and 75-year plus grandada of about 16 who still goes in the ring.
    madness but truly inspirational.

  4. Amazing, Anthony, well done!
    It must have taken a lot of guts and determination – and that’s just telling your mum and dad, let alone the actual boxing!
    Well done to the family too, for sitting through the event and being there to watch, accompanied by heightened senses of excitement, panic, fear, pride and love.
    And David, that was a brilliantly told story, like a fast-paced novel that you want to end in one way, although in others you want to go on because it’s so gripping.
    Gabriella shed a tear and I’m not surprised.
    Those of us with children shared all of your emotions – and that was just reading the story!
    Congratulations to all.

    • Thank you Clive, this one took awhile to write. Anthony read it and texted “read it now. Thanks very much. What a nice gesture” hurt his wrist though

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