Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Friday of The Year

JJ and Keith came in, plus a couple of guys who normally train at a gym out in Schiller Park. One of the Schiller Park guys looked very familiar to me. I think he might have visited Loyola Park over a year ago. He reminded many of Mike, by his quickness and the way he moved.

Gabe also came in, as he usually does when he has breaks from college. He told Steve that he was planning to attend law school at the college where Steve and Ellen will be teaching later in 2008. "I don't have contacts in the law school, but I'm sure Ellen does," Steve told him.

Jordan walked in the gym later on. "Well, look who it is! Jordan comes in 15 minutes before closing time!" Steve commented. "I've been sick, man," was Jordan's excuse. He said he'd be on time next week and wanted Steve to work him hard.

Steve wondered about Josh, who used to come in the gym on and off. "I think Josh is still in Japan teaching English," I said. For a brief minute, I had considered doing that. All you need is a college degree in anything. Seeing how I've never been on a plane in my life, nor been anywhere outside of the USA --I've seldom traveled outside of Illinois, for that matter -- that idea faded quickly.

The gym will probably be crowded next week when the winter session begins. It usually is with people looking to burn off all pounds they gained between Halloween and New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Three For The Gym

Outside of Steve, myself, Andy and Keith were in the gym last night. Steve commented on how he assured everybody last week that the gym would be open, but yet, few showed up. I noted Jordan's absence especially. He was begging Steve to let him spar the last time, and Steve wouldn't because Jordan had been missing a few times. I bet he shows up on Friday to put the beg on Steve again to get in the ring. I wouldn't be surprised if Jordan gets turned down again.

I had been home all day because I took a floating day to extend the Christmas holiday a little bit. After I got a little housework done, it felt good to get a short nap in during the afternoon. Luckily, Les called and woke me up, or else I would have been sleeping up until it was time to go to the gym. Les got the men's spa certificate I sent him, and he told me to expect my birthday/Christmas gift in the mail. I'm wondering if he actually brought me something from the Ringside catalog I lent him.

Steve and I worked on the punch mitts. He pointed out that I have a habit of not moving around after I throw punches. After all this time, I'm still trying to figure out why I do that. The idea is not to get hit, or get hit much. One resolution is set for 2008 -- move around more in the ring!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Getting It On Film

Terrell, Wally, and JJ sparred this past Friday. Terrell taped Wally's sparring session on Wally's cell phone. The images came out nice, as well as the sound. Steve told them both that he wished they were around all year. Wally's a recent college grad, but he has projects lined up already. Terrell still has another year to go, so neither can spare the time, although they wish they could. Terrell mentioned that he tried to start up a boxing club at his college, but the funding fell through.

Jordan kept begging Steve to let him spar. "You haven't been here, man," Steve told him, which was true. Jordan was MIA the last few times the gym was open. Steve told him he had to work out more and get his cardio up. Jordan reminds me of other guys who've come into the gym who always want to spar, but never want to do the other work involved.

Keith came in briefly to hang out a little, then he was out. None of the other women showed up except me. I'm wondering if Arin and Nina will return for the winter session; the both of them seemed very interested in keeping up the workout.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Closer To The End

Rich told me he'd been away for a month, training in Brazil at a mixed martial arts gym. He said it was intense, with training going on practically every day. Sounded fascinating to me. If I had a little more martial arts experience (I only have a yellow belt), and was about 15 years younger, I would have been all over mixed martial arts.

Steve announced that he and Ellen are very likely to sign a contract to teach at a school out of state. Terrell, Rich and Wally wondered what would happen to the adult boxing program once Steve is gone. Steve wasn't sure. I told him about Willie expressing an interest in the job. Steve said that Willie would probably make a good coach because he has the presence for it. Terrell didn't remember who Willie was, until I reminded him about the sparring match they had a few weeks ago. Willie went a little wild, and Terrell took a lot of shots to the face. "Oh, that guy," Terrell laughed.

The Chicago Park District has instituted a stricter procedure for hiring, which requires that anyone teaching a sports or exercise class has to have a degree. "Boxing is not something you go to college to learn," Steve pointed out. Barry became the kids' boxing coach because he was recommended by Harlin, the late boxing coach who ran that program for 20 years. The adult program came into being because Barry recommended Steve for the job. Steve had started in 1999, assisting Barry with the kids.

While driving me home, Steve asked me if I would be interested in taking over the coach's job. "I like coaching. But I don't have the experience that you and Barry have," I said. I would also have to get a coach's license, which I need to get next year. "I think you could do it. But you'd have to ask yourself if you'd be comfortable dealing with the characters that come in the gym from time to time," Steve said. Every time Steve has been absent, stray kids roam in along with adult oddballs. I've learned how to deal with them. I've even gotten better where the kids are concerned. I used to act so evil towards them; I guess I'm mellowing out as I get older.

My main concern is being accepted by the males. The guys who come there now are used to the middle-aged lady in the gym. I'm usually the only woman in there after all the other women have dropped out. Any new women coming into the gym would probably be comforted to see a female coach. The new guys who sign up might be a different story. I still remember one guy who was miffed because Steve asked me to teach him the basics the first day of a new session. The guy had the usual attitude of those who want to jump into the ring without learning what to do first. He also had a problem with a woman telling him anything, so he never came back after that day. As boxing is still extremely male dominated, I could see some challenges due to my gender if I became the coach.

I don't have a car, which is important for taking the fighters and their gear around to matches. I could rent a car when needed, I suppose. My father's probate case is still pending; if that money comes in there may be enough to buy a used car, I don't know.

The extra money would come in handy, that's for darn sure. There is some lead time before Steve resigns, so I will seriously give it some thought.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Silent Night, Boxing Night

I walked in the gym, and Steve was the only one there. "Where is everybody?" I asked. Steve shrugged his shoulders. A little while later, JJ came in, but that was it. Steve gave JJ pointers as JJ shadowboxed in the gym, and later they worked on pads. I went through my usual routine, but I put a little more energy into it than I usually do.

We closed up early, and Steve said, "It's nice when it's a small crowd." I like it too, because I have a lot more room to move around. I shadowboxed while switching between all three mirrors in the gym, and used more footwork. But like Steve said, it is also nice when more people are there, too. There's more energy in the gym when that happens.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ellen and Eli

As I approached the door of the gym last night, I heard a baby crying. I knew it was Eli before I stepped inside the room. "Hi, Eli. What are you fussing about?" I asked. "It's because I won't pick him up," Steve explained. After he picked his son up, Eli did stop crying, as babies tend to do. Later, Eli had on a pair of Steve's gloves. It was funny because they looked humongous on the boy. I helped him put them on a couple of times when they slipped off.

Not very many in the gym last night, other than Eric, Mike and Jordan. Jordan noticed I had my portable CD with me and asked, "What kind of music do you listen to?" "I don't like a lot of new music, so I listen to the stuff that was out when I was a little girl and a teenager," I answered.

Ellen came in carrying luggage. She had returned from a trip. She looked great, and explained that "things will work" out with her and Steve's job search. I have no doubt that it will. They've worked too hard to make things happen.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Birthday Fight

Yesterday was my birthday, and I made plans to see the Mayweather/Hatton fight. Mike told me while we were in the gym Friday night that he was going to pop for the pay-per-view. He invited several people over including Steve and JJ.

Ricky Hatton, a tough guy from England, had Floyd Mayweather Jr. going for the first five rounds. Hatton was constantly moving around, and he popped Mayweather good several times. Unfortunately, Hatton stopped moving his head during the sixth round. Then, from that round on, Mayweather figured out his style and started timing him. Not long into the 10th round, Mayweather put a combination together and knocked Hatton down. Hatton got up as referee Joe Cortez ("I'm fair but I'm firm!") reached the count of eight. Mayweather caught Hatton again with another set of punches, and Hatton couldn't get up as easily. Cortez stopped the fight, Hatton's corner through the towel in, and Mayweather remained undefeated.

I was hoping that Hatton would win, just to bring cocky Mayweather down a notch. Hatton had been undefeated too, up until last night. The British fans were in force last night. They even had a guy with a drum and a few guys with trumpets playing in the audience. Ol' fine Tom Jones sang the UK's national anthem, and Tyrese sang the American national anthem; celebrities like Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell were in the audience. The Golden Boy Promotions executives -- Oscar De LaHoya, Bernard Hopkins, and "Sugar" Shane Mosley -- were in attendance, along with old school boxer Thomas "The Hit Man" Hearns. It was an exciting fight.

JJ did lose his fight at Brooks this past Friday night.

Jordan's friend, the recovering addict, came in Friday night, but wasn't able to work out like he wanted. Steve checked his receipt for the gym fee, and discovered the guy had signed up for the winter session, which doesn't begin until January.

Carla, who used to come to the gym, is getting married next month in a civil ceremony. She'll have a bigger ceremony in Hawaii in February. She was talking about coming back to the gym. The main reason she stopped going was because she moved farther away.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Missing Brooks

Steve had another interview last night, so the gym was closed. JJ, however, had a fight lined up at Brooks Park. Mike drove him out there. I would have gone, but I wouldn't have been home in time for Mike to pick me up. I'll find out later what the results were.

I hope both Mike and Steve didn't have much trouble driving yesterday. It snowed again, more ice formed on the ground and it was very cold. I saw a little dog tied outside of a mom & pop store on Sheridan after work. The poor thing was shivering and whimpering until its owner came out and picked it up.

Even though ESPN won't show boxing again until January, and I don't have HBO or Showtime, I keep forgetting that VS. has matches on every Thursday. They show them again later in the week, but I always seem to catch them by accident when I flipping channels.

Speaking of upcoming matches, I'm hoping that Steve will get the Mayweather Jr./Hatton match on pay-per-view this Saturday. If not, I'll find a bar where I can watch the fight. I had nothing else planned for my birthday, which is on Saturday, so seeing the fight will be a good activity.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Fight Inquiries

No sooner than Mary opened up the gym, and I turned the radio on, a woman came in with a young guy. She was his mom, and she was interested in signing him up for the gym. Somebody told her she had to talk to Steve, who was still out. I advised her to wait a couple of weeks to sign up for the winter session, as the fall session is quickly coming to a close. She appeared to be more interested than her son. The 20-year-old guy seldom said anything the whole time they were there.

Another set of guys who were in the building for a basketball game stopped by and asked many questions about getting involved in boxing. Jordan had come in by that time, and he interjected with some of his own opinions.

Mike came in and brought Eric with him, and Arin was there. It was a light turnout. Keith came in briefly, asking where Steve was. "He's interviewing for professor positions", Mike and I told him. "Wow, he's trying to get out of here," Keith laughed.

I had a little more energy last night than I had on Wednesday. Mike held the punch mitts for me, but after a couple of rounds, I was worn out.