Thursday, February 28, 2008


Brian asked Kristin if he could use her interval timer. I had seen them in boxing equipment catalogs, but wasn't sure how they worked. They can be set for different times (15 second spurts, for example). The bells marking the interval periods ring differently than the bells on the normal round timers. Brian, Ben and myself did intervals -- hitting the heavy bag furiously -- and it was a good workout.

The gym was fairly populated last night, but I noticed that Kristin and I were the only women in attendance. I ran into Nina at Starbucks several days ago. I noticed that she was doing some work on her computer and was surrounded with papers. I thought I remembered she told me she was a college student. Perhaps that's why she hasn't been able to come to the gym for awhile.

I had ran into Jordan on Sunday while I was walking to church. He was a no-show last night. Jim, whom Steve likened to being an older version of Jordan, returned to the gym after being gone for several sessions. Jim appeared to be miffed because Steve didn't have the time to work the pads with him. "That's what I came in here for," Jim grumbled before he left for the evening. He hasn't changed much; still expecting personalized attention that Steve can't really afford to give.

Igor was there last night, and he looked like he had lost some weight. I heard that he was a professional boxer in Europe, but never boxed professionally in the States.

I seemed to have a whole lot of energy last night. It was as if I was the Energizer Bunny. I don't know where that energy came from, but I wish I had it all the time.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Return To Friday

I wasn't at the gym this past Wednesday because of a cold. When I came in yesterday, I learned that I had missed some craziness.

Igor, who was attending the gym when I first started there six years ago, stopped in with his girlfriend. Igor's command of English was never that good, and according to Steve, it hadn't became any better since the last time he saw him. Steve figured out that Igor wanted to bring in ten boxers to train at Loyola Park. The boxers would pay Igor, and Igor would use the space. That was a no-no, because Loyola Park is a Chicago Park District gym, not a private one. Steve steered Igor over to Antonio's MMA gym instead.

Jordan, who hadn't been there all of last week, popped up on Wednesday. He was bugging Steve about working with him in the gym. Jordan just doesn't seem to get it. No matter how many times Steve has told him that he has to be more consistent in his showing up to the gym, it doesn't sink in. Neither does any of the advice that JJ, Mike, or any of the other guys who've been there for awhile, seem to take in Jordan's mind, either.

On Thursday, I was working out at the Englewood site. Ashanti and Diana, two of the Early Childhood staff persons, expressed their regret at my having to leave the agency. Les decided to resign after 30 years. As a result, the agency decided not only not to fill his position, but they decided to close down the office that only he and I were in. My job was eliminated; I'll be out after the first week of March. No, it's not cool the way everything went down, but on the positive side, I won't have to ask Les if I can leave early for the City-Wide Tournament and the Golden Gloves, which both jump off in March.

Ashanti told me that she used to participate in Muy Thai, but hadn't had the chance to take it up in awhile. She'd like to get back to it. Diana was surprised that I boxed. Les had mentioned it to her some time ago, but she thought he was joking. While I was talking to them in the cafeteria, Les walked in. "That is a pastime of hers," he told them.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Eli and Laila

Friday night was a contrast to Wednesday. The gym had been packed on Wednesday, but few were in attendance last night. Pete, who's a freshman at nearby Loyola University, came in but he was gone after an hour or so. Carla and Deb came in, but that was it.

Steve brought Eli with him when he came in. Little Eli kept wanting to pick up the medicine balls, and he was a bit frustrated when he couldn't move the heaviest ones. He did manage to pick up a couple of them, which surprised me.

Barry stopped in with his daughter Laila, who's about the same age as Eli. I hadn't seen Laila since she was an infant. I was surprised to see she had become a tall girl for her age. Barry had taken her to the Daddy/Daughter Valentine's Day dance that's held every year in the the fieldhouse. The little girl was pretty in pink. I asked Barry if he was planning to go to an upcoming coaches' clinic that is happening on March 8th, and he said he was. Steve was thinking that he may not go. After all, he won't be coaching for awhile once he starts his new professor's job in July. The location of the coaches' clinic hasn't been announced, but the last few times, it was out in Harvey, IL.

Jordan didn't show up again. Steve told Barry he compared Jordan to how JJ was when he first started coming to the adult's gym. I'd like to think JJ wasn't that bad.

Eli became fussy, probably because the toddler had become tired. Steve opted to leave early to take him home, and I stayed behind with Carla and Deb to close up the gym.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Full Of Brooks

I was surprised to walk into the gym last night and find it packed with boxers. Jack, the coach at Brooks Park, brought several of his guys in for sparring. Paul was also there with Kristen. The only regulars were myself, JJ, Mike and Ben. There were a few of this sessions newcomers at the gym, too, including Carla, Pete and Brian. Twelve year old Toby (Kevin) and his older brother Alex, who are in Loyola's youth boxing program, were there, too. It was really good to see them, because I hadn't seen them for a long time. I ran into Nate Jr. while I was riding the bus home from work, but he was playing basketball that night.

The evening consisted of non-stop sparring, with guys going in and out of the ring. A couple of guys were bloodied up a little. I know Paul took a hit, and I think Pete did, as well. Everyone had a good workout out of it.

JJ commented that Jordan should have come in that night. I wish he had. I would have loved to see him play the "I know everything" role with the Brooks guys. It would have even been better if Jordan could have sparred with them. They all would have schooled him in what he doesn't know.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Comedic Sparring

Friday night sparring included a few rounds between Jordan and a new guy in the gym named Pete. Steve reminded Jordan that he had to listen to him while he was in the ring. However, once the bell rang, Jordan fancied himself to be Roy Jones Jr., trying to do a lot of moves. It looked sloppy. At the end of the first round, Steve warned him. "Do you want me to stop this right now?" he asked him. Jordan shook his head no, but continued his nutty behavior. Steve kept telling him to keep his hands up.

Pete had sparred a couple of times before, but he looked unsure against Jordan. Jordan caught him up against the ropes a few times, and got off some hard hits.

The rest of the guys in the gym stopped to watch what was going to happen next. Suddenly, we all were yelling out instructions to Pete. "Head movement!" "Work your jab!" "Keep going forward!" Pete caught Jordan in the fact a few times, mainly because Jordan kept dropping his hands. The other guys were falling out laughing at Jordan's attempts at trying to look cool in the ring. "This is comedic sparring right here!" JJ exclaimed.

Pete hung in until the end, even though he wasn't putting up much of a defense. When Steve took his headgear off after the last round, Pete was bleeding from his nose. I was surprised that Jordan managed to get a hit on him like that.

Jermaine told Jordan, "Roy Jones Jr. was boxing for 15 or 16 years before he started doing fancy moves. He can do them because he knows how to get out of them. You can't start off doing that stuff right away. You have to learn the basics first." It was sound advice, but I doubt that Jordan heard any of it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

JJ and Paul

Finally, JJ was in the gym the same time Paul was, and they were able to spar. The last few times Paul came around, JJ was missing, so it was good they finally were in the same place. Kristen, the IL State Champ, came with Paul; I learned that they live together.

Otherwise, the place was populated mostly by newcomers. Ben came in later, but that was it.

I struggled through my workout. The energy just wasn't there. The next day, I woke up with a scratchy throat, and I was dead tired. I hadn't been sleeping well for weeks. I stayed home from work.

Monday, February 04, 2008

It Figures

Jordan was a no-show this past Friday. Maybe he was still ticked over me stepping to him last Wednesday. Ask me if I care. He's constantly telling Steve that he's going to work out more, blah, blah, blah. Right after he makes such a statement, he disappears for a day or two. I bet any amount of money, Jordan will show up Wednesday begging to spar, or asking Steve to get him ready for the City-Wide or the Golden Gloves. After Steve tells him -- again -- to show him that he's serious about boxing, Jordan will play the same broken record.

Other than Keith and myself, the gym was filled with all newcomers. Shawn, the guy who Jordan was attempting to dazzle with his nonsense the other week, didn't come in. I wish he had, because we would not have been interrupted.

Steve and I did a few hard rounds on the pads. "You needed that," he told me, and I agreed that I did. The next day, I stood on the scale in my house and was shocked to find that I had lost 20 pounds. When I saw the foot doctor last week, he commented, "Whatever you are doing, keep it up. You look good." I didn't think I had lost but about five or seven pounds. Gives me incentive to keep watching what I eat. It's not about trying to look cute these days, it's about staying healthy.