October 31, 2020

Simon Ruvalcaba

This past weekend I was privileged to venture my writing experience into the world of music and entertainment when I was dispatched to cover an Ice Cube concert at the outdoor arena at The Hard Rock Hotel/Casino in Lake Tahoe, NV ( concert review). Coming from boxing as a participant and covering the sport since 2007 as a journalist, it was a night and day experience of how it works. Journalism, however, is all the same in my opinion, no matter which section of news you are covering? You are witness to something and give account of what just happened. Looking on stage and seeing the passion behind his work, I couldn’t help but feel many similarities between Athletes and Musicians and how they go hand in hand with music being a huge part of sports and in many cases, the way sports is the inspiration for a great song? Think “Eye of the Tiger.”

1. MUSIC SETS THE MOOD– I was one of many athletes for which music sets my mood either the mood that I’m feeling or the mood that I wanna feel. I remember my 2nd pro fight, which was a rematch against the veteran that had spoiled my pro debut 2 weeks earlier. For the rematch, in my hometown, I was determined to seek and destroy so it was a hard rap song to the ring that set my mood for that fight. A few years later, when I had a local rivalry match against a local area fighter, I had learned my lesson and believed that whoever stayed the most in control of themselves would win the fight over whoever was fighting over pure emotion. So while the opponent, an amateur champion out of the Marines, played an upbeat Rob Zombie song, I kept it calmer with “Stand By Me.” It turned out to be in my opinion the most artistic performance of my boxing career.

2. I CAN RELATE TO THE STARVING ARTIST– In boxing, it seems that it is similar to Hollywood or the music industry in that ninety percent of fighters make less then $10K a year, but ninety percent of the 10 percent that make more, make at least 1 million a year. There just has never seemed to be a middle class in boxing. So a fighter many times can relate to a certain Musician because you are in the same type of struggle in your field of work but aren’t going to give up your dreams!

3. PASSION FOR SURVIVAL– With that determined drive to succeed, there is similar passion to stick with it with the hopes of someday getting a big opportunity. In music, you are one hit song from super stardom, in boxing you are always one big punch away from changing your fortunes. You dedicate years to this craft, and at the end of the day, coming on stage or stepping in the ring and hearing a roaring crowd, when there’s no more lights and no more cheers, you still hear them in your head years later!

4. FAN APPRECIATION– As a journeyman fighter but in a way a local celebrity in my hometown, it does feel nice when I’m stopped at the grocery store or when I’m out and about and someone shares a story of having come to one of my fights. The occasional picture and/or autograph, for me is a consolation prize that I was appreciated despite falling short of my goals in the sport. I’m sure for a superstar fighter, to have that kind of scene everyday for years, may get tiring? Seeing Everlast perform in the lead up act and the way the crowd still gets pumped when “Jump Around” is played, reminds you that one great fight or one great moment you are involved in is never soon forgotten by the fans.

5. LIVE FOR THOSE MOMENTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT– Ultimately, Musicians and Athletes live for the spotlight moments, the moment of truth where all of your preparation is over and it’s finally showtime! The thrill of a performer’s life is an adrenaline rush that after a career is over, you find it difficult to duplicate with anything else you ever do. One advantage for a Musician is that you can still get on stage and play your stuff until your heart stops beating. For a fighter, the window closes at a young age and when those days end, you don’t get them back. Either way, whether music or sports, it is a love and passion that you never lose and that never leaves you!

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