Take a Swing


Posted Thu, Nov 1, 2012

I think Mike Newhouse said it best back in ’93… or ‘76. Everybody needs some “good ol’ worthwhile visceral experience.” Call it violent, call it primal or whatever you will, but for my money, nothing delivers that experience better than a sturdy speed bag. It combines rhythm and repetition with the guilty pleasure of violence, all while avoiding actually hurting anyone. Hurting oneself while using a speed bag is another matter. Before we proceed please take my opinion lightly and the sport of boxing seriously. However, don’t let a lack of experience deter you because if you make it as far as the store. It will not deter the salesman, as I learned.

“How can I help you, sir?” the salesman asks.

“I’m looking for a speed bag,” I say.

“You a boxer?”


“You had any training.”


“Right this way sir.”

When I was about 21, I decided I’d squandered enough creative outlets and sought a more physically cathartic one. Initially speed bags were just cool to me. The rhythm and repetition, combined with the speed and precision of it all, created a kind of hypnotic violence. I saw Mike Tyson do this when I was a child, and I just figured it had something to do with all the grownups around me calling him “the baddest man alive.” However, there is something about YouTube, be it the immediacy or the abundance of talent showcased, that dilutes it all. It fosters delusions of grandeur that manifest themselves in an all too dismissive “I could do that.”

I could (and so could anyone), so I set about to do just that: buy a speed bag and learn how to use it. First came the supply list:

1 Speed Bag Kit (includes gloves, wraps, platform, factory swivel and jump rope, because who doesn’t want a jump rope)

1 Professional (Metal) Speed Bag Swivel (the factory one will inevitably break)

1 Concrete Drill

1 Powder-Actuated Tool (also known as a Hilti Gun. Please be careful with this thing, or get someone who knows exactly how to use it)

1 Dozen or so Cartridges for the Powder –Actuated tool

1 3’x3’ cut of particle board

If you are to buy these items, use cash, lest you be put on someone’s watch list somewhere.

  • Mark and drill holes in the wall where the platform mounting screws will go.
  • Mark the same spots on your particle board.
  • With a partner, mount the particle board to the wall using the powder-actuated tool and at least four cartridges. (Note: do not mount using the spots marked for platform mounting screws)
  • Affix the assembled speed bag platform to the mounted particle board using a drill and the included screws
  • Inflate the speed bag and attach it to the platform with the professional speed bag swivel

Swing away!


About Stephen Young

Stephen Young is currently a student studying writing at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. He believes that writing is torture, but still does it for some reason.

View all posts by Stephen Young

One Response to “Take a Swing”

  1. Scott Corbridge Says:

    I really liked the list you included at the end of your story. It was concise and told the point from the start. Nice work.


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