Robertson, second row, second from left PAT ROBERTSON … FOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK, AND THE CHRISTIAN COALITION … HOST OF THE 700 CLUB … AMERICAN CHRISTIAN TELEVANGELIST Few lapses of self-control are punished as immediately and severely as loss of temper during a boxing bout. KONRAD L ORENZ, Austrian ethologist (zoologist who studies animal behavior) 132 IT’S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME In prep school, we had to pick sports to play and I chose boxing. I didn’t do it to be a great fighter, I picked it because I thought it would get me in great shape. I mean, you have the roadwork, the sparring, the bag work, so how could I go wrong? Well, northing went wrong and, in fact, I wound up on the boxing team, competing in the Golden Gloves fighting heavyweights at the age of fifteen. I don’t think I have ever done something as intimidating or felt more fear than those moments sitting on a cold locker room floor, waiting to fight a guy who was more than likely bigger, stronger, and more experienced in the fight game.
And at most of these tournaments, there were about five thousand mostly hostile fans. BIG CHALLENGE, BIG LESSON Slick Evans was a big, rangy fella, a lot older and a lot bigger than me. He was my sparring partner, and he became like a coach to me. To be candid, I was scared to death of him. So here I am sparring with Slick, keeping my distance, and he offers me great advice. Pat, he said, even if you’re fighting Joe Louis, don’t back off. Go after the guy, because you can’t just cover up and play defense in the ring. You have to fight. And I knew, even at fifteen, that I’d just gotten a great life lesson as well as a boxing lesson. THE CHALLENGE The fighter nicknamed the Ooltewah Terror was a certified hillbilly from the mountains of Tennessee. He was big, angry, and powerful, and I was not looking forward to mixing it up with him. He was my next opponent in the city tournament, so I knew I would not have a choice. Don’t you know, I bumped into his victim from the previous day and he explained to me that he’d just gotten out of the hospital after being knocked out by the big heavyweight the day before. This guy had knocked out everyone he had fought in this tournament.
Before this guy left me he let me know that the Ooltewah Terror had one weakness: he telegraphed his punches. Well, I get into the ring, the bell goes off, and he races across the ring and PAT ROBERTSON 133 nails me with a telegraphed punch that put me through the ropes. I got up, put myself back together, and fought him to a standoff the rest of the way. If I had not been knocked down early, I likely would have won. To this day, I am proud of that, and though I’m seventy-six years old, I still remember the punch and the fight like it was yesterday. Why? Because it taught me to always search for the edge in any situation. Find out what you have that the other guy doesn’t have and then try to overmatch your opponent in everything you do.
Sure, a man or woman may be stronger, faster, and younger than you, but there is always something that God gives you that could give you an edge, if you choose to use it. NO FEAR I have run for President and been involved in high-profile debates in front of millions, and I just took it all in stride. Partly that’s due to the pressures and fear I felt as a kid in the ring. If I could survive all these big punchers, I just felt I could hold my own in front of all these heavyweight intellects. THE WRAP Who would have thought that one of the world’s most popular preachers could pack such a wallop and still lift and run today? We all face fear, but how many look to avoid it, and how many climb through the ropes anyway? Pat Robertson may not always win, but he always makes his way through the ropes and into the ring, and, I imagine, always will.
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