Despite being a sports writer at one time, I don’t think I’ve ever watched an entire boxing match that wasn’t in a movie. And yet lately as I’ve worked out at the gym I’ve looked a little bit longingly at the people in the aerobics room pounding on a bag.

About two weeks ago I mentioned it to one of my gym buddies, who knows how to work the gloves. I had a mad desire to punch, to work through some stress, to go outside my comfort zone. And so he offered to teach me a bit and I eagerly accepted.

It was awkward that first day. I was self-conscious about form. But I just kept repeating in my head what he was saying — hands up, use the body, keep moving. Two from the left, one from the right. Then quick hits one after another. My hands ached that night, but the next day I was a good kind of sore.

Today was our second go-round and he challenged me to remember what I’d learned, use my hips, and try working the bag through an entire song on my iPod. So with Lenny Kravitz piped into my ears I circled and jabbed and sweated like crazy. Still a little self-conscious, but more focused on the bag in front of me, I found it heady because it was so outside the realm of anything I’d ever contemplated doing.

I am really proud of myself.