Thursday, May 31, 2007

No Incident Wednesday

I was hoping there wouldn't be any kids/teens roaming into the gym, being underfoot, or the occassional odd adult whose agenda about boxing is murky hanging about last night. I was pleased that the night started and ended without anything out-of-pocket happening.

Tried as I might, I couldn't re-adjust the Cobra bag down to my height. I'd been fooling with it since last Friday. I think Muhammad adjusted it so Jermaine can use it -- Jermaine is very tall -- but I can't get it back to any other height. I skipped using it as part of my workout last night.

Normally, I would use the uppercut at the back of the gym, and use the mat back there for crunches and push ups. However, I'd rather not be back there if I'm the one watching the gym, and Steve is out. Have to keep an eye on who is coming in and out. I told G last night that I was going to suggest that he not leave his gym bag near the door. He was told about when Sadiq's backpack was stolen, and when some kids tried to roll away with Steve's bike when he left it propped up by the rail just outside the door. I often offer my locker as a place where others can place their belongings.

We did intervals on the heavy bags again -- rather, everyone else did and I just called out the rounds. Did four rounds this time. Maybe on Friday, I'll suggest that all do five rounds.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Friday Intervals

This past Friday in the gym was mostly uneventful. Only Rachel, Danny, Jermaine, G, Sadiq and Muhammad were there. It was a nice night, weather-wise, so I wasn't surprised at the low turnout. I braced myself for lookey-loos rolling into the gym, but that didn't happen.

I was the first one in, so I put the radio on the oldies station. Later, after G and Muhammad came in, I went to put fresh water in the water bottles. When I came back, both guys said, "We've got to talk to you about your choice of music!" We all laughed about that. I'm not crazy about a majority of the hip-hop/rap/contemporary R&B that most of the others like to hear. Most of it is crap to me, but I don't care if the station is changed to that music. The only time I was irked when the music was changed was when John used to come to the gym. This was back when I used to bring in a lot of my old school tapes and CDs. He decided he didn't want to hear The Eagles' song, "Life In The Fast Lane", and took the tape off, without asking me if it was okay to do so. "The Eagles were lame when I was back in high school," he declared. I decided not to make a big deal of it, but it was irritating just the same.

We did intervals near the end of the evening for three rounds. I called the rounds, but did not participate. The soreness I experienced from when Steve worked us on Wednesday was hitting hard. I took Tylenol before I left the house, but that didn't do much of jack.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Workout and A Half

We did drills for everyone last night -- a lot of pad work, exercises with the medicine ball, and interval training on the heavy bags. I was dripping sweat afterwards. It was an extremely good workout. Too bad we can't do group training every time. Since boxing is not a team sport, trainers have to work with individuals on specific techniques in order to make fighters better.

Steve will be out of the country for a couple of weeks, so the usual rule of no sparring while he's gone applies. I asked him about Nate Sr., who has been dropping in recently most Fridays to get some work in with JJ. "Uh, oh. I'm glad you said something, because I forgot about that," Steve said. He told me he would call Nate to tell him he'd prefer that he'd not spar with JJ or anyone else until he returns. Nate Sr. and JJ never go completely all out when they spar, but it's best not to take the chance on something going wrong.

The coach also asked that I not allow anyone to sign up for the class while he's out. Whenever Steve is gone, someone always comes in, wanting to join the gym. Most times, it's someone who is all hyped up about the idea of boxing, but not about the actual work that goes into it. They usually don't come back again after asking for information.

Lan came in, and brought in a cobra reflex bag. One of the anchor bags needs to be filled with sand or rocks to steady it more, but it's all good. I like working on the cobra bag whenever I go to JABB Gym, so I thought it was cool that she donated it.

Barry and Montrell stopped by. Barry had tried to get Montrell a fight somewhere downtown, but it didn't work out. Indeed, when Steve returns from vacation, there'll be a lot more boxing shows going on for our fighters to participate in.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Old Home Week Again

JJ pointed out that the boxers greet each other as if we hadn't seen each other for years, even though we saw each other a couple of days before. I don't know why that is, but I guess it's just the comaraderie everyone has. Sadiq stopped in on Friday, and he was treated like a superstar. He's still working nights, and trying to save money, but he's planning to return to the gym.

Craig had headgear with had a face guard on it. I've seen those advertised in Ringside and Title's catalogs, and wondered how good they were. Craig said the guard didn't restrict his vision at all while he was doing some sparring drills with Steve. "The bars sort of gray out, and you don't notice them," he explained. Such headgear may be worth investing in down the line.

Steve is going out of town after this upcoming Wednesday. I told him that I would open the gym, but that he should check with Mary. The last time Steve was out for several days, Mary decided against the gym being open. Too many folks were roaming in and getting free workouts was the reason. Mary did say it was okay for the gym to be open, but if she hadn't it wouldn't have bothered me. The main problem I have whenever Steve is gone is stray kids and teens thinking the gym is either a playground or hangout spot or both.

I must be getting soft, because I don't snap as much at the tresspassing little kids like I used to do. I've found that the best tactic is to show them around and talk to them a little about boxing. That does cut down on some of the more offensive behavior. Because of their short attention spans, the little kids will eventually find something else to do other than hang in the gym, anyway. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work with the teens who want to give people word-for-word when given orders. With the teens at the fieldhouse, I always have to act hard to get them to back off and back out.

I was laughing with JJ, Jermaine and Danny about something -- I think JJ was imitating the other boxers again -- when a loud scream was heard in the hallway. Several of us ran out to see what happened. There is a stairway outside of the gym that leads to the second floor. A couple of guys appeared in that doorway, looking a bit annoyed, and Mary questioned them. They said some kids were running up and down the hall, disturbing their meeting. I overheard Mary telling Steve that the back emergency door at the bottom of that stairwell needs to be locked at all times. "I try to keep an eye on it," Steve told her. During warm weather, too many of the kids attempt to use that door as an exit or entry point. I wish there was an alarm on it.

Nate Sr. was there, and he loves to get sparring in with JJ. I thought JJ was a little rough on Nate, however. He caught the older man in a corner at one point, and let loose a flurry of punches. I had just taken a refresher CPR/first aid course at work the day before. I thought, "JJ, please don't hurt Nate so badly that I have to use what I learned." Nate always has praise for JJ afterwards. "He really got me good there," Nate commented.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Makin' Fun

JJ has a talent for imitating how others train in the gym. I'm almost afraid to ask him what I look like in the gym! He's too funny, especially when he imitates Jermaine, which he did in front of him last night. JJ makes it look like that Jermaine is so fast with his punches that no one can see them. He also does a good imitation of Keith throwing punches. Jermaine had the best impression of Keith, however -- he just sat down in a chair and rested. We all fell out laughing at that one.

Both Erin and Rachel came in; they hadn't been there for awhile. I was really glad to see Erin. I thought she might have given up after she lost her first fight at the Sabre Room last month. Rachel explained that she would have been in last week, but she had a lot of trouble with her car. It had even been towed at one point, and it's not cheap to recover a car when that happens.
Steve worked with Muhammad on the pads. I didn't hear what Muhammad said before they began, but Steve laid down the law. "You've got to put in the workout, and I can get you fights. But I don't want to go through what I went through with Keith," he told him. It appears that Keith has quit boxing, according to a conversation he had with Steve a couple of weeks ago.

Javonta was there last night as well, and I watched him as he worked on one of the heavy bags. He looked good, calculating his punches, slipping, bobbing and weaving. I hope there are some good matches coming up for him this summer.

I had to watch it while I practiced bobbing and weaving, as well as when I was doing squats. My knees were talking to me, and they weren't giving me good news. Sometimes I notice my arthritis in the gym, and sometimes it doesn't bother me. I managed to make it through the squats, but one round of bobbing and weaving was enough.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Boxing and Motherhood

I was thinking that if I had kids, it might be difficult for me to do a boxing workout. It would difficult for me to do a lot of things. My mother always grumbled to my siblings and I that children were in her way. According to her, we prevented her from having the glorious life she felt she was entitled to have.

Several years ago, she wondered aloud why I would take up boxing. Now I realize that was just another way of her expressing her jealousy of both my younger sister and I. It all fits -- the comments about why we didn't travel more often, why we didn't we own property, why we didn't have cars (although at various times while she was still speaking to both of us, my sister and I did own vehicles), etc. Add that to the fact that I have no children and Cindy gave her two girls up for adoption, and you have why the green in Ma's eyes glowed like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz.

Her concern about me boxing probably also figured into why she also didn't want to see me after she had a last falling out with a terminally ill Cindy in late 2001. Dad joked about, "You might be able to knock my teeth out," after he learned I boxed. Ma might have thought I might have been angry enough to knock hers out after she turned her back on Cindy and I for the second time in our lives. She didn't want to take the chance that I might have, so I was banned from coming to her apartment.

I guess I was hoping for too much. . .boxing is a positive thing, and I thought maybe Ma would have been proud of me participating in it. But then she never appreciated anything that I, Cindy, or my brother Ken that was remotely positive. It was always easier for her to focus on the negatives, whether real or imagined.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chico's Death and Medical IDs

Earlier in the day, I had peered at a newspaper over the shoulder of a guy while riding on the train. He was reading the sports section which had an article with a heading that gave the impression that Diego "Chico" Corrales had retired from boxing. I couldn't see the content of the article. When I arrived at the gym, JJ told me that Corrales had died in a motorcycle accident.

Corrales' fight with Jose Luis Castelijo was the bout of the year in 2005. It was brutal, bloody, and exciting as hell. Corrales looked like he was down for the count in the last round, but came up off the canvas and beat Castelijo down as if the man had insulted his mama. I liked Chico. He always came to the ring ready. He was a little cocky, not annoying cocky like Floyd Mayweather or Antonio "The Magic Man" Tarver can be, however. He didn't make it to 30 years of age. It's a shame.

Mort ran the conditioning session at the end of the night, consisting of push ups and crunches. A little easier for the younger guys to do, but not for me. I did them anyway, because I need to do them. My knees were bothering me, which was a bit annoying since they hadn't done so in several days. I couldn't do squats easily nor practice bobbing and weaving for long.

I showed Steve my medical ID bracelet, and he pointed out something I should have caught. My phone number is on the bracelet instead of my doctor's or another emergency phone number. "It won't do me any good, in case you collapse, to call your house and get your voice mail. 'Pick up your phone! You've collapsed! When you get this message, go to the hospital!' " he said. Both of us had a good laugh off of that one, but it pointed out the seriousness of the situation. I'll have to buy either a new bracelet or necklace with the right info.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Laughing Boxer

Floyd Mayweather was having a lot of fun at Oscar DeLa Hoya's expense during their fight this past Saturday. I think DeLa Hoya let his temper get the best of him sometimes, judging by how some of his punches looked. Like Tracy Sr. was telling his son Tracy Jr. when they were at the gym a few weeks ago, "Ain't nothin' on those punches but your arm." Then Mayweather announces that he is retiring. JJ commented, "That's what they all say. He'll be back." He's probably right. Very few boxers stay permanently retired, except for Rocky Marchiano. The rest show up a few months or even weeks later for one to several more go arounds. The sad things is, some of them get forced out of the game after the last hurrah.

Steve showed me a new exercise on Friday night. It involved holding the medicine ball between one's forearms, then taking long side steps, above 5 to 10 in each direction, with knees bent, and up on the toes. Hard, but a good exercise. I did something similar while in physical therapy back in January. Instead of the medicine ball, I had a heavy band around my ankles.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I Didn't Think Of That

Both Mort and JJ announced that they found jobs -- Mort will be at a downtown currency exchange, and JJ has a job at Home Depot. The goal is for the both of them to move out of their parents' homes and get their own places. I was glad to hear about their new employment.

Steve asked me if there is anything he should know in case I get sick in the gym. It should have occurred to me to give him some guidelines when I first got the news that I have diabetes. Earlier yesterday, I brought some glucose tablets from Walgreens. They are for whenever my blood sugar drops low. I highly doubt that'll happen. Never heard of my dad or my two grandmothers having that problem. However, it does pay to be safe rather than sorry. I'll remember to carry them with me whenever I go to the gym.

I also told Steve that there was a possibility if I got cut open during a sparring match, it might take a long time for me to heal. I've always had a problem with slow healing cuts and wounds, long before diabetes hit me. I don't spar very often, so that shouldn't be a great problem.

Everybody seems to be hyped about the Mayweather-De LaHoya match this Saturday. Intially, Mike was going to order the fight and have people at his house, but he changed his mind. Mike is going to watch the fight with friends at a bar instead. "Eh, I don't want to go to a bar, because then you can't pay attention to the fight because of people around you yelling and asking stupid questions, " Steve said. If Barry or Gary don't get the pay-per-view, then Steve will get it. I'm looking forward to it. The Golden Boy and Pretty Boy Floyd have been talking much $100 trash for weeks. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in the ring.