Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Drawing Board Welcomes Kirkland and Lemieux

Mr. Kirkland, Mr. Lemieux, welcome to the Drawing Board.  I'm Marie, the receptionist.  Please come here and pick up your paperwork.  Make sure to list your emergency contact information so that when people wonder about what happened to you, we can refer them to an outside source.  Feel free to turn in your cell phones.  You won't need them here.  Maybe you have found out by now, but most of your friends, girls and supporters won't be calling or texting you too much on account of the loss, and all.  

Your tour guide, Danny Jacobs, will be here shortly to show you around the Board.  Danny has been one of our most popular members at the Drawing Board.  He'll show you the ropes.  Please feel free to take a lollipop.  They're special suckers that will last for six months.  In the meantime, why don't you have a seat in the Ricardo Williams Honorary Waiting Room.  Just let me know when you are finished filling out your forms. Please attach the headshot that you brought with you.  After a suitable period of time, we will send out your Reminder Packets to influential members of the boxing community.  Your sponsor will go over that information with you at a later time.  Also, on the last page of your paperwork, are the complimentary 12-month subscriptions to HBO and Showtime.  The perk is given to remind fighters about where you've been or where you are going.  Besides, your televisions are probably going to be your only contact with the networks over the next year.   

Ahh Danny, so nice to see you.  Gentlemen, follow Danny.  

David, James, nice to meet you.  Let me give you a little tour of the place.  One of the most important parts of every client's day at the Drawing Board is spent in one of these four therapy rooms.  It's one of the great features of the Board.  There you will spend 90 minutes each day with just an empty room, a table and a TV, watching fights. 

Oh, I see you have your lollipops.  They're damn good aren't they?  They're supposed to symbolize "licking your wounds."  Kind of funny, right? 

As I said, we have four main therapy rooms.  The first room on the right is the I Had an Off-Night Room.  The second room, and this is for you James, is the Glass Jaw room.  The room was recently refurbished with a grant by Wladimir Klitschko, one of the Drawing Board's executive members.  David, you'll be in the Too Much, Too Soon room.  I certainly spent some time there.  Victor Ortiz produced a great presentation for you to watch.  The final room is the "It Was a Lucky Punch Room."  Please be quiet though, because Paul Williams is in there right now watching some tape.

The purpose of the therapy rooms is to work through the psychological effects of your defeats.  In the rooms, you will watch a lot of film of your losses.  The idea is to break you down again and build you back up.  You will watch a lot of other fights as well, all featuring young boxers that had similar problem to you guys in their losses.  I can't tell you how many times I had to watch the Chazz Witherspoon fight with Chris Arreola.  You will learn that there are a lot of fighters just like you. Some have rebounded and have had great careers.  Others will never recover.  It's up to you to decide the next step. 

Your counselors will provide a comprehensive fight program where you will watch up to 15 to 20 fights a week.  After each new fight, you'll record your thoughts in your PFJ or Personal Fight Journal.  You know, why the fighter lost?  What didn't he do well?  What could he improve?  It's a valuable learning lesson.  During the first two weeks at the Drawing Board, you'll carry your PFJ with you at all times. 

Guys, follow me down the hall a little bit.  Behind the closed door is the "Thank You Room."  There, every month you will bring someone important from your life into the Drawing Board and talk to them for at least a half hour.  During that session, you will thank them for what they have done for you, whether it's their support, wisdom, love or honesty.  Whatever it is.  The point of the "Thank You Room" is to remind fighters that they do have support, and also, that many people have helped to contribute to their success.  The Thank You Room reinforces that there are others out there that have a personal and emotional interest in your success.  Not everyone has given up on you.  Some of these sessions get very tough but let me tell you, they build character.

Every month you will have a meeting with your sponsor.  Your sponsor could be your manager, your promoter, your trainer.  He's the one guy who believes most in you as a professional boxer.  Your sponsor's job will be to guide you through the process of regrouping and getting you to see the truth.  The more honest your sessions go with your sponsor, the faster you can leave the Drawing Board.

I spend most of my days training.  The Drawing Board has a world-class gym and, as you can imagine, great sparring.  During your first weeks here, they'll throw you in with the fighters who are just about to leave.  This will remind you that you are here to get better as a boxer -- mentally, physically and technically. 

We have a great library here and free internet access.  You'll be able to stay in touch with your friends and follow what's going on in the world.  I'll say this: you'll find out who your friends are really quickly while you’re at the Drawing Board.    I talk with my fans (or former fans) online a lot.  I swear many of them must have hurt themselves jumping off the wagon so fast.  I bet many had serious injuries!  It's funny.  Many lost money on me or were sure that I was going to win.  Now, many of them are pretty bitter.  You learn a lot by talking to your fans and just boxing people in general.  

At first, you will only be allowed to have visitors four hours a week.  That time can be spent however you see fit.  Fighters bring their kids in here, their girlfriends, their mistresses.  I've seen it all.  As you become a more senior member of the Drawing Board, you will be allowed to have nights out and weekend furloughs.  However, they will only be permitted with your counselor, sponsor and trainer's approval. 

Through these doors and down the hallway are the Drawing Board's residential quarters.  Your rooms will have an enormous bed, featuring 750 thread-count sheets and extra long mattresses.  The room also has a massage table, home entertainment systems, a Jacuzzi.  It's actually real nice.  Dinner time is at 7:30 every night and after that, the time is yours.  The Drawing Board does not permit drugs or alcohol, although they do bring in some champagne and wine for Film Night.  During your stay, you will have access to our chef, our sports therapists, our athletic and training staff, you name it.  If you take care of yourself, the Drawing Board will take care of you.

Come with me in here, this is our home theater.  It seats 24.  As you get more advanced in your treatment, we will show you, and select guests, a film of your best moments as a boxer.  This is the last step before leaving the Drawing Board.  During Film Night, the Drawing Board throws a big party for you and invites its other fighters and your close relations for a big celebration.  The idea of Film Night is to give fighters that final bit of confidence as the re-enter the civilian world.  After Film Night, fighters are finally ready for the next challenge in boxing.  I'm hoping my Film Night is soon.  I've heard rumors that I might be only a month or two away.

In here is the Press Rroom.  Each week, you'll sit at the long table up front and answer a series of questions by our professional staff.  Here you will provide answers about your career, and what your goals and objectives are. 

Oh, I forgot, before each Press Room session, they'll present to you your Individual Motivational and Goal Assessment.  The I.M.G.A could be  slides of your childhood, your early birthday parties, your neighborhood, your high school graduation, your first girlfriend, your one-room apartment where you grew up.  The goal is to remind you that if things go right there will be opportunities for you in your future.  In many cases the past is why we originally turned to boxing.  It's complicated and tricky, but it works. 

In the Press Room, the questions get tough and these sessions prepare you for the boxing media.  Here we learn to take responsibility for our performances and not blame others for any shortcomings that we may have.  The media, if used correctly, can help you throughout your career.  Even though you don't like what they write about you today, if you take care of your business, the media will take care of you.  There is no sport in the world where the media have as much power.  It is up to you to take advantage of that. 

Ok.  That's the quick and dirty tour.  I have to run and meet my sponsor.  I'm sure we'll be seeing each other around real soon.  Just settle in and you'll be meeting with your counselor in a little bit.  Best of luck at the Drawing Board.


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