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Champ (A Novella)

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**2nd Place Winner of The Genesee Valley Council of Arts New Deal Writing Competition**

Can a name define your future?

From the moment his son was born, Frank Miller dreamed of turning his son into a prize-winning boxer. So why not define his son's future by naming him Champ?

As Champ grows up, he spends every free moment in the boxing ring, and much to his father's delight, Champ has a natural talent when it comes to boxing. But Champ discovers he also has another talent. Art.

Frank, who has given up everything including his own health to ensure Champ gets the best training possible, refuses to allow Champ to persue anything but boxing. Not wanting to displease his father, Champ goes to great lengths to hide his untamed desire to draw. When a teacher recognizes Champ's skill she offers him a full scholarship to the best art school in the state. 

As he climbs into the ring for a high stakes fight, Champ faces a choice of throwing the fight and going after his own dreams, or of taking the easy win and keeping his father's hopes alive.

If you're looking for a tale of rivalry, desire, and sacrifice, be sure to grab your copy of Champ today!

This novella is 9000 words, or approximately 45 standard paperback pages.

Note: Payhip delivers a EPUB & MOBI (Kindle) version of this book. However, very soon after your purchase, you will also receive a download link from BookFunnel that will allow you to grab an EPUB and/or MOBI (Kindle) version best suited for your device. These are included with your purchase, you will not be charged extra for them.

Want a sample? Here you go...

Sometimes the name they give you changes your life. Other times, it rules your life. Oh sure, if you're born a Hank or George or something common like that, you don't have much to live up to. You're a blank slate as they say. You can go to school, make good grades, and no one’s going to pigeonhole you into becoming a mechanic, a shop clerk, or even a doctor. You're your own man, your destiny hasn't been set by the name your parents placed on your birth certificate.

Not so with me. I can't blame my mother, she was pretty weak after enduring ten hours of labor to get me into the world. She’d done her fighting for the day and had no energy left to stage a battle of wills with my father. And so it was my pop — a Frank, in case you were wondering — who told the doctor what name to inscribe on the official document.

"You sure about that?" the doctor is reported to have asked.

"Quite. Won't have nothing else for my little man," replied my father who had started a whisky-fueled celebration of my birth the moment someone told him I had crowned.

The doctor, the same one who would diagnose my father with lung problems in eighteen years’ time, touched his pen to my record of birth. I swear you can see his doubtful hesitancy in the cramped lettering as if he thought maybe if he squeezed the letters tightly enough that somehow someone else could come along and jot down a different name in a bigger, more confident script.

And the name he wrote in that cramped scrawl? Champ. 

Not a nickname as in Robert "Champ" Miller, but as in straight-up, no-nickname-needed Champ Miller. 

That’s not so bad, you say. Champ’s a good, solid name for a boy born in post-World War I America. Maybe it was, but it would be my middle name that sealed the deal, that locked me on my life’s path, that fully spelled out what my pop was determined I’d be. Because after barely thirty minutes in the world, I was to be Champ Ian Miller.

* * *

To say my dad was a boxing fan would be like saying the mob was a community protection organization. A vast understatement. My dad could name every fighting champion in every division all the way back to his childhood and relate highlights of each winning round. He had match announcement posters in the basement, he had ticket stubs from the few bouts he could afford to attend, he had a photo album full of boxing clippings and articles from any newspaper he could get his hands on. 

What he didn't have was any skill in the ring. He tried his best in a few matches at the local gym, but he didn't have a lick of speed (except when it came to naming me apparently) and he didn't have the talent to do much but test out the springiness of the mat when he was knocked down.

But, as of that spring day in 1919, he no longer needed to face these humiliations to fulfill his dreams. Because from that day on he had a son to do it for him. A son named Champ.

The day I could walk, shoot probably before that if I'm being honest, my dad did everything he could to set me on the path he dreamed of. Where some kids went to pre-school or kindergarten, I trained at Coach’s, the local boxing club, for a year before I ever started school. Dad was so convinced I was destined to be a champion boxer he didn't even want to send me to school, but the law and my mother put their feet down on that one.
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