Saturday, December 31, 2005

Small Crowd

It was raining, and a damp cold permeated the streets. The weather might have been the reason why very few people came into the gym.

A woman was brought into the gym by Mary. The woman seemed to very excited that there was a boxing gym in the fieldhouse. She told Steve she was going to sign up for the next session. I couldn't help but wonder how short-lived her enthusiasm would be. It's a common scene: someone is all gung-ho to train, then they are gone long before the session ends.

The upper respiratory tract infection and the nagging cough I had is practically gone. Makes it very easy to work out these days without that hanging around. The workout tonight was very good. My energy level is better than it has been in over a month. Now all I have to do is keep it up by eating right and taking better care of myself in 2006.

Steve's wife, Ellen, came by; they had to go to a party, so there was no hanging around late in the gym tonight. She looks very healthy. He told me she has really taken care of herself during the whole time she's been pregnant. "The baby has been kicking a lot," she told me. "He's probably ready to come out," I said. Women have told me that a kicking baby in the womb is a restless one, especially near the end of the pregnancy. It might be an old wives' tale, but who knows?

Friday was the second day in the row I actually exercised; yesterday, I volunteered at a kids' roller skating party. I was still sore from that, but I had to go down to the gym. Wish I could go roller skating more. It's great cardio that would go hand in hand with endurance in the ring.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Energy Burst

The antibiotics must be working, because I had a lot of energy in the gym last night. Of course, I need to take probiotics to replace the good bugs that the antibiotics will kill off, but I'm going with the energy flow. After a visit to the foot doctor, I ended up at the gym a half-hour early. I was in the ring with Steve for three rounds. He wore a chest protector, and let us take turns punching away. Poor Steve's left hand is numb because something happened to a nerve, so he kept it behind his back during the rounds.

Another old home week situation with Gabe and Jermaine in attendance at the gym. Both guys are in college, so they don't come in often. Steve told me that Keith was talking about coming back and training. He has a seasonal job that is ending, so he has some time right now. I still wonder what happened to Jeff, who was a great help around the gym. There were rumors that he was in a homeless shelter, but that was never proven.

The youth boxing program is full of 2005 Illinois Silver Gloves champions. Montrel, Nate Jr., Alex, Kevin and Diego all won their bouts in Rockford, IL a little over a week ago.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Sick Month

Wasn't in the gym at all this week. Finally discovered the illness plaguing me since before Thanksgiving is an upper respieratory infection. I have antibiotics to take care of it. I was too sick to go to the gym on Wednesday. Luckily, I caught a showing of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". Not the Jim Carrey version, the animated one from 1966 with Boris Karloff as the voice of the Grinch.

Yesterday was the single ministry's annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange. As usual it was woefully unattended, which is the main reason why I'm not planning monthly events for the ministry next year. I cut it down to six. Also, I've become more busy with my other activities, boxing included, and I can't spend time on something that appears not to be appreciated by the very folks for whom it was created. All I get is excuses from various church singles as to why can't go to the events, or either they say nothing and just don't show up. No matter how much I talk up the events before and afterwards ("You all missed a good time!"), it doesn't seem to generate much interest.

I did get some boxing in at Dave and Buster's, a restaurant/video game emporium about two weeks ago. They have a boxing game there, and my boss was eager to see how well I'd do on it. I won the first round, but was KO'd in the second. Les, and the two program directors who also attended the luncheon we had that day, didn't want to try it out.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Reason For Low Energy

I was in the gym, the day after my 44th birthday, and my energy level was extremely low. I spent more time standing around or sitting down. The next day, I woke up sick as a dog, the congestion in my lungs having moved up to my sinuses. Good thing I had begged off going up to Rockford to help Steve out at the Silver Gloves. I probably would not have made it through the entire day.

I've been sick with cold/flu for about a month. Maybe I should have cooled out on exercising, but I keep reading that it is good to workout while sick if you don't overdo it. In my case, it had the opposite effect.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Last Boxing Tournament Of The Season

Steve was talking to Swifty, who is one of the referees who is always at tournaments, show fights, and the Golden Gloves. Sarah, Mike's wife, had a bout against Jessie, a rather tough fighter out of the Hamlin fieldhouse. Sarah and Jessie are good friends. Swifty asked Steve if that was Sarah's first match. Steve told him that she had fought three times in her native Sweeden. Swifty said, "This is why I don't like to watch good-looking girls box. They don't work hard enough because they're afraid of messing up their faces." A judge sitting nearby nodded his head in agreement. Obviously, if she's fighting, she ain't worried about getting a few bruises and cuts on her face. That's men for you.

We were at Brooks Park, which is way out northwest. Alex and his younger brother Kevin both got fights, both of them looked very good in the ring, and both of them won. I worked the corner for both of them. The kid that Kevin fought came over to the corner to shake hands/touch knuckles afterwards, and to my surprise, he touched his glove to my hand. That was the first time I had ever been acknowledged in the corner by the opposing boxer. Usually they bypass with a surprised look that says, "What is that girl doing in the corner?"

Jovan started out fast and tough in his bout, but got winded in the second match. He ended up getting a standing eight count--twice. His opponent kept him up against the ropes for most of the third round, and he lost his match. Mike fought a guy with huge arms. The guy was very aggressive, and never gave Mike an inch. Mike ended up with a little blood on his shirt, and a loss.

Junior and Larry crapped out again in terms of getting fights. I especially felt bad for Larry. It appears that the other coaches are scared to put their boys up against him. Larry is a solid built guy.

Of all the fieldhouses I've been inside for tournaments, Brooks was the brightest in terms of lighting. Maybe it is a newer building. Looked like a strange set up for a boxing gym. It looked like the program just had a long hallway that had two heavy bags swinging, boxing posters plastered around, and a weight room tucked in a corner. A ring had been set up in the middle of the basketball court for tonight's event.

I was surprised to learn that Junior has a girlfriend. Junior has never mentioned her before. I don't know. . .Junior always seemed too antsy to just have one girl. But then, most of the really young guys in the ring, those who are in their late teens and early twenties, strike me as being that way. I can always tell the difference in priorities between them and the older guys, especially Steve, Neil, Mike and Rob, who are married.

Been reading Box Like The Pros, a book by "Smokin" Joe Frazier, who once took Muhammad Ali out during a match. Much of the stuff has been covered in other how-to-box books, but there a few things that were new to me. For example, Frazier explains that leather jump ropes are better than lighter speed ropes because of the resistance they offer. I also liked how he broke it down about going to a boxing gym as opposed to going to a health club that offers boxing classes. I had to agree with him on that. Many white collar boxing classes have popped up recently, but many of them are little more than glorified aerobic classes with gloves. In order to learn the proper ways of the game, it is better to go to a place where boxing is the primary focus.

A Beat Down

Still trying to figure out how I hurt my wrist during last night's sparring session. It might have happened while I was trying to deflect a punch from Sarah. After it was all over, I realized, "She's gotten good over the past few months." I also realized that I had taken a good ass whupping.

Steve told me, "You can't tell yourself that you're tired. Suck it up!" But inside my head, I kept yelling for the bell to ring to end the rounds. My problems began when I started out too fast in round one. Steve warned me to pace myself. When the fourth round came around, I was dying, having spent the previous three rounds plodding around the canvas. I remember a series of right and left hooks raining towards my head. One of them hit me hard enough to stun me.

I'm sure that Laura, the journalism student, got an eyefull of stuff to write about that. She talked to several of the other boxers, and had met with Steve a couple of days before, so she was able to get a lot of material. She was really surprised to find out that two other sparrers, Mike and Sarah (I kept calling his wife Cheryl, and she is the other Sarah, not the one who beat me) were married.

It was sort of like old home week again on Wednesday night. The gym was packed, as I figured it would be coming off of a holiday. Keith, a good boxer who unfortunately, was low on motivation, showed up. He told me he was planning to come back into the gym to work out more regularly.

Rob, who will soon be licensed as a pastor, also came in. Rob always asks about how things are going at my church, then we get into discussions about God and religion. God turned Rob's life around. He had been involved in a lot of bad stuff that eventually put him in jail when he was a young man. These days, he's a solid family man, has a steady job, and has his life on track.

The darn chest cold is still hanging on. One of the choir members told me during rehearsal tonight that maybe it wasn't a good idea for me to spar. Maybe so. A turtle would have been faster than me last night. I was sitting with my head in my hands at work earlier, and Les asked what was wrong. "I'm just tired and sore," I said.