Thursday, June 28, 2007


Water ran down my face as if someone had thrown a bucket of it on me last night. It was extremely humid in the gym. The windows being open and the fan being on didn't do much. Plus, there were a lot of people in the gym.

One of the new people, Nikki, was telling me that her sibings and her mom are diabetic. She has been trying a raw foods diet, and she told me she would bring some info in for me to look at on Friday. I don't like most veggies and fruits; I have to force myself to eat them. I am interested in the raw food diet, since I've heard a few things about it.

Turns out that one of Nikki's sisters went to school with Mort. Nikki said that her sister had a crush on Mort when they were small children, and was always talking about him. Small world. Mort gave Nikki his number and asked that her sister call him. He hadn't seen her since high school.

Steve will have a sociology article of his published in an online journal, which is very cool. It will look good on his resume as he searches for teaching positions.

Another guy named Jermaine, who usually goes to Barry's boxing class was in the gym last night. Steve introduced him to me. "She volunteers and is a great help around here," Steve told him. "Yeah, she works us ten times as hard when Steve is not here!" Tommy joked. "I have a beret and a whip," I laughed, imitating myself using an imaginary one to keep the boxers in line.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Out At The Golf Course

The gym was closed this past Friday, as JJ had a match at a private show out at a country club in Park Ridge. JJ said his first fight took place there. I couldn't remember being at that club before. All of them tend to look the same: the parking lot, the front entrance, the rooms that perpetrate the smell of old money, even though a lot of younger guys are members these days.

All of the boxers were ushered into a room where few chairs were available. Mike and Erin were in attendance, and they sat on the floor most of the time. The doctor who checked the guys beforehand wasn't even given a table to put his things on.

I only watched three of the seven fights that took place, including JJ's since I was working his corner. Too much cigar smoke in the room. I watched one guy take puff after puff, blowing it out in the air, like a kid who was able to do something he had been forbidden to do for a little while. One guy came up to JJ after he was suited up and said, "You gonna win your fight? You gonna do it for me, baby? I'm gonna put a 'G' on you!"

JJ won, but the fight was a squeaker. Steve kept telling JJ not to hesitate. We don't know why JJ always waits for the other guy to do something before he reacts. JJ had his mouthpiece knocked out during the second round, and Steve and I rushed to get it back and rinse it off so the round could continue. JJ didn't do so well in that round, but roared back during the middle of the third round. The guy who had bet money on him was pleased. "Got a 'G' in my pocket thanks to you!" he told JJ afterwards.

What irritated me the most during JJ's match were the ring card girls. Steve and I could barely get the stool and the bucket in between rounds because those chicks were entering and exiting via our corner. Ring card girls are extremely unnecessary.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Same Out Of The New

A small crowd of new people showed up for the beginning of the summer session last night. I speculated that Martin, a friend of Graubien's, would probably continue. I didn't hold out much hope for the rest. I know that sounds a bit down, but people always disappear after the first two weeks.

Erin's uncle John is featured in a book about Chicago's amateur boxing scene. Unfortunately, the book doesn't go too far into the 2000s or else JJ's picutre would have been included, since he won the Golden Gloves in 2006. Pictures of Yale and Gary when they were young champions were also in the book. I believe I'll pick the book up the next time I go to the bookstore.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fighting Despite Limits

I told Steve on Friday about an article I saw on the BBC web site: Joanne Larkin is threatening to go to the European Court of Human Rights to force boxing authorities to let her 15-year-old son box. Her son is diabetic, and he is prohibited from competing. I know how the kid feels. Steve asked my thoughts on diabetics in boxing. I can see how being diabetic would be a problem in professional boxing. However, in amateur boxing, headgear is present, and there are checks and balances to make sure competitors are safe. The mom of the teenager asked, "Why isn't it discrimination? Diabetics are allowed to enter into any other type of sport and competition. . .why not boxing?" Why, indeed.

I was diagnosed with high blood pressure back in 2003, but I wasn't stopped from competing. My hypertension has always been controlled with meds, and my doctor would write notes comfirming that. I also have a minor heart problem. One of the valves has a small hole in it. The only thing I have to remember about that is taking antibiotics before any kind of medical procedure is done, like having a dentist work on my teeth, for example. There are many days when I grumble, "I was healthy until I turned 45 years of age," but I thank God that I'm not as bad off as I could be. I know that doctors recommend every other exercise to diabetics except boxing, but I see no reason why I should stop participating in the workouts. As long as I can move, I'm fine.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Steve and I worked on the punch mitts last night. He had me doing a combination -- left, right, left, left, right uppercut, left hook, catch a hook, left hook, right, left hook, duck, left hook, right, left hook -- that seemed to impress the guys when I did it correctly. "Is there something you're not telling us?" Mort grinned after observing me. Later, Mort got on the mitts with Steve and practiced the same combination.

Actually, he doesn't call out, "left, right, hook" etc., but the number of the punches ("1,2,3") instead. I'll get caught up thinking about the sequence instead of executing the punches, as Steve often points out. The trick is to just let my hands go.

Among the missing last night was JJ and Muhammad. JJ has a retail job now, and unfortunately, work hours for employees in that industry change day-to-day, week-to-week. Muhammad is so hyped up about learning how to box, but his attendance has been sporadic. I understand that he's looking for a job, so maybe that's why he hasn't been in. I've been thinking about Rias a lot, too. I wonder where he's been hiding.

Tommy just happened to ask, "Did any of you see an iPod?" I remember about the one Barry found last week. I pulled it out and showed it to Tommy, who was extremely relieved. The iPod was his. "I was about to spend $150.00 on a new one!" he said. "You were saved some money!" I replied.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Steve's Back

Steve was back in the gym this past Friday. I didn't get a chance to ask him how Italy was. I'll ask him on Wednesday. Gave him a report about what happened in the gym while he was gone.

Finally figured out to adjust the Cobra bag! Took me long enough. Guess I wasn't turning the knob to lift the bag up and down correctly.

JJ was ticked because a cop gave him a $20 ticket for riding his bike on the sidewalk. Chicago rules of the road for bicycles states that no one over age 12 should ride on the sidewalks. In the neighborhood where the gym is located, the cops don't want anyone riding on the sidewalks, regardless of age. The fieldhouse sits off of a main street that has narrow sidewalks. Usually, they paint signs on the concrete at each corner saying "No bikes on the sidewalk", but they haven't gotten around to it yet. Unfortunately, JJ was caught. He doesn't like to spend money, and he was really outdone by receiving the ticket.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Things Left Behind and A New Face

Just as I was starting to walk out the door to go to the gym, Barry called. Someone left an iPod behind in the gym, and he let me know where he hid it, just in case someone asked for it. I asked the guys when I arrived at the gym, and it didn't belong to any of them. Must have been one of the kids who was careless. Most of the stuff that is left behind are the things the kids forget to take with them when they leave. If I was their mother, I'd go off on them for wasting my money like that. Most likely if they leave something behind that's valuable, they'll never see it again.

A guy came in saying that he knew Graubien. Steve didn't come in the gym last night, and the guy hadn't signed up previously, so I asked him to wait until the coach returned. He hung around for the whole night, watching people. When he got on the double end bag, I had to tell him a) he shouldn't hit the bag without handwraps and b) he should wait until he's actually signed up for the gym. "I'm just trying to get a little bit of a workout in. I really don't know what I'm doing," he told me. He claimed he had come in the gym a long time ago, but I didn't remember him.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Two In The Room

G and I were the only two in the gym for about an hour this past Friday. "The weather's too nice", G said, as an explaination as to why no one else showed up. Around 8:00 PM, Jermaine came in, but it was very quiet in the gym. I closed up a little after 8:30 PM.

It is not unusual that people become MIA when Steve is absent, but that was the lowest attendance I've ever seen during the times he's been out. I'm still thankful that no stray kids, boisterous teens or odd adults came in during the past week. It makes running the gym easier when those distractions aren't in play.