Way back in October, the L.A. Times staff was told that Pulitzer-winning automobile critic Dan Neil would begin writing a Sunday Magazine column about pop culture on Dec. 12. The first column finally ran yesterday. It's a piece about receiving a ring lesson from Lucia Rijker, "widely regarded as the best female boxer in the world." She plays "The Blue Bear" in Million Dollar Baby.
Oh my God! A chill runs down my spine as I realize this sweet-natured, lovely woman could rip my head off. It's one thing to watch women boxing in a movie, or to witness their power packaged in a jokey exhibition match, or to accept it as the birthright of the daughter of "The Greatest." It's another to stand two feet away from a great female athlete and feel that energy tingling on your skin like radiation. Something heavy comes untethered in my psyche. I lower my head, and all I can think is: "Please, lady, don't hit me."
Neil's columns will run weekly under the banner "800 Words."