Monday, August 22, 2016

Claressa Does It Again


I rushed home from church after service yesterday to catch Claressa Shields' match at the Olympics.  To my surprise, church service ended early, so I had plenty of time to get to my computer and watch the live stream.

Like one of the announcers pointed out, "T-Rex" Shields schooled her Dutch opponent, Nouchka Fontijn.  I wish I could slip and duck like T-Rex.  I wish my reflexes and my hands were that fast.  Wow.  I hope that this time, the world will wake up and recognize Shields and not ignore the girl like they did in 2012.

There were plans to buy some jump ropes over the weekend for LaFollette boxing gym, but after attending an Italian street festival after watching Shields' win, I came home exhausted.  I dozed during the closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics.  I became alert along enough to eat a little something, take my medicine, and then I went back to bed for the rest of the evening.  That was the longest I've slept in awhile.

It's the last week of the extended summer day camp, and hopefully the end of working summer hours at LaFollette as well.  I'll miss the extra pay, but I'll be glad to get back to my normal schedule.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Late Summer and Sean


John gets in one on Ro during their sparring session at Loyola Park in this photo.

Unfortunately, I have to begin with some sad news.  Sean Curtin passed on several days ago.  He was the author of two books about Chicago boxing -- Chicago Boxing and Chicago Amateur Boxing.  Sean boxed while in the military, and he worked as the boxing commissioner for the State of Illinois for 15 years.  He also served in boxing as a judge, a time keeper, and a referee.  Sean and I became friendly over the past ten years or so.  He often was the referee at the Chicago Park District boxing shows.  He always greeted me warmly when he saw me.  Sean was a good guy, and he will be missed.

A staff member at LaFollette pointed out something about James that I had failed to notice.  James is pigeon-toed.  That would explain the boy's odd gait when he runs around the gym to do his warm up.  It doesn't stop him from wanting to get into that ring to spar.  James recently told me that he loves to spar.

However, James does not make good use of the ring area, and I'm at a loss as to how to get him to utilize it better.  He and Donovan sparred yesterday, and James kept sliding along the ropes and stopping in the corners.  I showed him out to turn or punch his way out of those situations.  But Donovan is taller and has a longer reach.  "Grab Donovan's arms to slow him down!" I told James, but he replied that he couldn't reach out to do that.  I took him aside afterward to show him again.  We're really going to have to work on that.

Meanwhile, Donovan's parents are really eager to have their son fight in a boxing show.  I'm trying to pre-match him with a kid from Ogden Park whom Kenny coaches, if Kenny is going to the Harrison Park show next week.  If that is not possible, I know that a lot of kids show up to Harrison.  Hopefully, Donovan will be able to get a fight with someone.

My left shoulder is no longer constantly hurting.  Stretching it and working with light hand weights did the trick.  My knees have felt better too since I started taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of cold water with a packet of Stevia daily.  I've gone back to exercising in the gym, usually alongside the 12 and under class.

Jakie surprised me again by showing up today to the gym.  He admitted "I have to work on my stamina,"  and I agreed.  It's not too late for Jakie to appear in another boxing show, but he's got to show up more often to train.  I didn't know that he had to attend summer school, which is why Jakie wasn't in much.  I reminded him that he needs to sign up for the fall boxing class beginning next week.

I was going to shut down the gym for a couple of weeks once the summer session ends next week.  It has to remain open for people to practice because the boxing shows are still going on.  I don't want Donovan (nor the other kids, for that matter) having to lay off of training for all that time.  He starts school next week, and that's going to have an impact on how much he can train.  If I can get him into one boxing show before September is out, that will make me very happy.


Monday, August 08, 2016

Blood In The Mouthpiece


Jesus and Carlos sparred down at Loyola Park.  Carlos had his hands down too much, and kept hesitating to throw punches.  Jesus took advantage of this.  At the end of their session, I saw a lot of blood on Carlos' mouthpiece.   Alan wiped him off, but some blood ended up on the floor.  I got paper towels to clean that up.

Kathy sparred with Marta.  I was on the side, giving instructions to Marta to hit harder and do more body shots.  "Kathy can take it!" I said, to which Kathy laughed.  Kathy was not hitting Marta as hard as she is capable of doing.  I think that was because it was Marta's second time sparring.

When Alan sparred with Kathy, he caught her with a punch to the face that stopped her for a moment.  "I'm telling Reva," referring to Alan's wife.  "What?  Kathy walked into that!' Alan protested as I laughed.

I didn't do much of a workout.  First of all, I was hot.  Sometimes I think I don't take the heat as well as I used to do.  My left shoulder still hurts, but not as much.  But now I also feel discomfort across the back of my neck.  Kathy asked if I had gone to the doctor yet.  I still haven't made that call, but I need to because it's gone on for too long.  Two months?  Three months?  I've lost count.

This is the last week of regular summer camp -- thank goodness -- so things will get back to normal at LaFollette soon.  I have plans to go to Sheridan Park later this week for their boxing show.  Summer is slipping away, and outside of Jakie, I haven't had any fighters participating in the shows.  I hope that changes before September.