PM Quote of the Day — Golda Meir

You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.

I had forgotten about this quote from one of the most memorable leaders of my youth (more on Golda here).  For those who don’t know, sparring is a boxing or martial art term referring to simulated matches held during training.  It is a way of preparing both body and mind for the rigors of the ring.

As the quote suggests, shrinking from adversity may be the easier, softer way.  It is not usually the most successful.  Below are two examples from the boxing world itself.

It is the rare boxer who can afford the luxury of a training camp filled with soft sparring sessions.  Most often, such training “vacations” are the prelude to a boxer ending the bout flat on his back, wondering what hit him.  Roberto Duran was infamous for camps that focused on weight reduction, not training.  He got away with this for a while, until he met Sugar Ray Leonard in the infamous “no mas” fight.

Sugar Ray may have been pretty, but he was no dummy.  Before Leonard faced his greatest challenge — stepping up in weight to fight Marvin Hagler — he ensured his camp was more strenuous than anything he had endured before.  For instance, he fought his sparring partners while wearing “pillow” gloves, which softened his blows.  Also, he fought full 12 round sessions, swapping in fresh foes every three rounds.  While he didn’t overpower Hagler, he was able to hang in with him long enough to steal the win.

Sometimes that’s all it takes: hanging in long enough.

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