Friday, March 28, 2008

Hints Not Taken

Mike and Brian both got on the roster for fights at the Golden Gloves this past Tuesday. Brian was lucky to get the number eleven slot, but poor Mike's bout was number 24 -- the last one of the evening. By the time he climbed into the ring, it was after 11:30 PM.

Brian's fight was close. It appeared he was pressing harder than his opponent was, especially during the last two and a half rounds. Unfortunately, the judges gave the decision to the other boxer. Mike was hyped up when he was in the ring. I could hear Steve giving him instructions to calm down. Mike did win, however. Because there are so many guys in his division, he has to do another preliminary bout this evening.

Seldom do I ever say, "I'm glad the gym is closed tonight", but this is one of those times. When Paris (Jordan's buddy) started coming to the gym, I had a feeling it wouldn't be long before he started making noises about having a relationship with me. I'm not bragging, mind you. I'm average looking because I received more of my dad's looks than my mama's, and I still need to lose some pounds. Yet I tend to attract men like Paris, who are, without question, nowhere near my type of man.

Let's have an understanding. Jordan ain't the brightest candle in the room, but he's still in his early twenties. There is time for him to (hopefully) improve. Paris is a year younger than I, and has issues he has admitted to, that I don't want to go over here. Let's just say he's done some things that have goofed his life up in a major way. Now at age 45, he's trying to rebuild his life. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's a lot easier to do so if youth is on your side.

It begain with him asking me if I had a husband when we were in the gym on Wednesday. "Are you looking for one?" he asked when I affirmed there is no hubby at home. Knowing what he was up to, I tried to cut him off at the pass. "I don't know why some men seem to think that all women are looking for a man. After my dad divorced my mom, she got along very well without one. She never got married again," I told him. "But people need love and companionship," Paris countered. In my experience, guys who come back with that statement in an attempt to woo some woman, are usually the least equipped to give those things. "I like to live alone," I replied, hoping to give a hint that the subject was closed for further discussion.

When a woman gives the hint or states outright, "I'm not interested," the best thing for any man to do is to take her words at face value. It is foolish for a man to flatter himself into thinking he's the exception when it's clear the woman is not going to play ball. Paris continued to grin at me for the rest of the evening, and made some comment about me being "cute". "We ain't the two, and I ain't the one," I thought to myself.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Long Night

Neither Mike or Brian got matches at the Golden Gloves last night, but JJ did. However, the organizers took a long time in putting the boxers' names up. Finally, we learned that JJ's match was number 26.

I had arrived around 6:00 PM and managed to get in free. As usual, the happenings didn't start on time at 7:30 PM, but a little later. One of the boxers failed to report to ringside, so he was disqualified; another boxer got a walk over. Quite a few of the matches were stopped because of boxers who couldn't go on after being pummeled.

Steve and I were in JJ's corner. His fight didn't come until after 11:30 PM. When JJ first came out, he was mirroring the odd stance of his opponent, a Russian kid. JJ later said that he was trying to figure out the guy's style. He spent a good part of the match hesitating, waiting to see what the Russian would do. The Russian was nervous about JJ's right hand, because he shied away every time JJ raised it. JJ popped the guy with several good blows to the body. Finally, the referee stopped the fight, and JJ got the win.

Right before JJ's bout was a bout between Lui and another guy. The ref was accused of cheating and making calls in favor of Lui by the people in his corner. The other guy's coach was particularly loud and vocal, so much that Mike Q., the president of the IL Boxing Association had to step in to calm things down.

Besides Mike Q., most of the regulars in the boxing community were there including Shifty, Ted, Kitchens, Gentleman Gerald, Rita, Tina, Alan, Gary and Johnny B. I was looking for Percy, but he wasn't there. But pro boxers Michael Walker and Fres Quendo were.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Before The Gloves

JJ could be a good coach. He held pads for me on Friday night, and explained (very well) the reasoning behind different combinations.

The Golden Gloves begin tonight, and since I no longer have an amateur boxer's license, I'll probably have to pay to get in. There's a chance I could get in free if I arrive very early, and catch Steve. He's not planning to get there until after 6:00 PM. The guys who have matches are expected to get themselves there and weigh-in on their own.

I'm wondering if Gary dropped off his old boxing equipment to Les. I've refrained from calling my ex-boss to check, out of lingering anger over how quickly I was ushered out of my former job. For all I know, Les could have been driving around with the stuff in the back of his trunk for all this time.

At Joe's last week, Mike and Brian didn't get fights. Kristen didn't want to fight that evening, so she didn't have a match either. I believe that Paul fought and won.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Retractions and Apologies

I attributed a quote to the wrong person in my last post. It was Mike, not Pete's buddy, who said during intervals, "The one girl in the gym is not complaining!" I had my head down, focusing on the bag, heard the two Petes (yes, Pete's buddy is Pete, too) razzing each other, and assumed the second Pete had made the comment.

Last night, Steve told the first Pete that I had made him out to be a whiner during that interval session. No insult was intended! So I apologize to both of the Petes as well as Mike for not being accurate.

Too bad I can't attend the show fight that is coming up this Wednesday. Margaret, the choir director, called for a rehearsal that night. The church is having a Maundy Thursday service during the time the choir usually practices. This upcoming Wednesday is the last rehearsal before Easter, and I can't skip it. I hope everybody who has a match does well.

Igor had told Steve he wanted to spar for ten rounds, but when Steve asked him to get in the ring with the other guys, Igor changed his mind. "One round," he said in his broken English. Steve gave up on him. "Forget it. If you don't spar now, you won't spar again," he told him.

JJ was wearing several tops in an attempt to lose a few pounds. I couldn't help but think about an incident with actor/comedian Martin Lawrence a few years ago. Lawrence went jogging -- in Los Angeles heat -- wearing a sweat suit along with several other clothes and fell out. Most of JJ's weight loss was probably going to be water weight, which would come back once he drank water. But then, like a lot of the guys in the gym, he's young and his metabolism hasn't started the inevitable slow down yet.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Three In The Place

Igor, Jim and Jordan were all in attendance last night. Fortunately, it appeared that all three did not give Steve a lot of grief. Igor mumbled something about signing up for the Golden Gloves, and I rolled my eyes. Steve was confirming with him that he would spar with Jim on Friday. Igor should have done that last night, but every time he's given the opportunity, he puts it off for the next time. "Hold him to his promise if he comes in here on Friday," I heard Steve tell Jim.

Surprisingly, Jordan did not bug Steve about getting some sparring. He watched the other guys with curiosity, which included Daniel, a friend of Brian's.

Near the end of the night we did five, three minute rounds of intervals. Pete and his buddy were razzing each other about keeping up, and his buddy noted, "The one girl on the bag is not complaining!" The one girl was me, since Carla had left before that took place. I was sweaty at the end of it, but I felt very good. My mood, which had been down all day, was considerly lightened afterwards.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Training Misconceptions

"Is anybody teaching here?" Jim asked me last night, with irritation in his voice. "Steve does give instruction the first few weeks of the session," I told him. "I mean, I come in here to learn, and if the only way I can is by watching and mimicking others, that's not helping me," Jim continued. I felt a little annoyed at his attitude. He seemed to have forgotten that he signed up near the end of this session. Therefore, he missed the first three to four weeks, the time period when Steve teaches the basics to beginners.

If I become coach of that gym, I'm going to overemphasize that no personal training sessions will take place. I hope that if someone else becomes coach, they will hammer that point home, too. If people want that, then they need to go to JABB Gym, which does offer private boxing lessons. But they will pay a pretty penny for that. Jim is not the only one who has walked into that gym expecting personal attention every time they are there. But honestly, how many times does Steve have to alert people that they can't have that there? Do they not recognize they aren't the only person in the gym? What do they expect? It's a park district gym, not some place like Bally's or Crunch.

I told Jim that he is free to ask Steve or anyone else to help him. I've observed Jim doing that, so I don't get his irritation. Is he waiting for someone to come to him? That's not necessarily going to happen; this is not grade or high school. If he or anybody else really wants to learn, they'll put the effort forth to get the information.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Igor's Pipe Dream

I was the first one to arrive at the gym last night, so I waited outside the door for Steve to arrive. Igor showed up next, mumbling about his plans to enter the Golden Gloves. When Gilberto saw us there, he came and unlocked the door. A poster announcing the registration dates/times and the dates of the tournament was under the door. Igno spied the poster and proceeded to pester both Gilberto and I about the dates. Gilberto was able to escape, as he had to go back to his duties, so Igor continued to ask me the same things over and over. Finally, I became annoyed and told him firmly, "The information is exactly what it is on the poster, Igor." He might not have picked up on all of my English, but he had to have caught my attitude. Thankfully, he left me alone to do his workout.

No sooner than Steve came in, Igor was on him, peppering him with the same questions. Steve has the patience of Job. Several times, I heard him explain patiently to Igor that he has to find someone who is no more than five years older or younger than he is in order to get a fight at the tournament. Igor is 47 years old, a year older than I, and therefore, would be in the Masters boxers category. The Chicago Golden Gloves hasn't included a Masters division in the tournament for a long time. The only way a boxer over age 35 can get a fight in that tournament is to show up during registration with another Masters division boxer. Between Steve and I, we could never find opponents for me when I was still allowed to compete before diabetes took over. Igor isn't going to have much success, either.

Kristin told me that she works out at various gyms, including a new gym that opened up on the south side. I would like to check it out. It sounds like it's sort of a replacement for the old Windy City Gym, which operated on the west side for decades before it closed down a couple of years ago.

I heard that David Diaz is having an open training session at JABB Gym today. Sure wish I could go. Sometimes, professional boxers have open trainings that the public and the press are invited to view. I've seen old films of Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, having open training sessions at gyms. They look interesting, as well as a lot of fun.

Since my current job will be over due to downsizing after tomorrow, I sent an email to a board member who had told he had some old boxing equipment he wanted to give to me. I asked him to drop it off with Les, then I'll arrange to get it from him later.

An early warning was sent to Margaret, the choir director, that I may be missing from choir rehearsals when the Golden Gloves start later this month. The tournament begins right after Easter; I know Margaret will be happy I won't miss rehearsals before that holiday.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Competition For Coach

Steve said, "You have some competition for my job", this past Friday. Paul and Nate Sr. have expressed an interest in applying for the coach's job.

The advantage of having Nate Sr. as the coach would be his experience. He was a professional boxer in his youth. Like me, he's volunteered in the program -- with both the kids and the adults -- for a long time. Also, many of the young guys like and respect him.

Paul, who's around the same age as JJ, could bring a lot of guys into Loyola Park's gym. Paul is a good boxer with a good record. He's well known. His girlfriend, Kristin, is hooked up with other female boxers around the city, including Rita, who is a professional boxer. She could help bring some women into the gym who could represent Loyola Park in various competitions. Also, there's the added value of her bringing more women in who would be serious about the sport.

I told Steve that Willie was interested in his job, too. I like Willie, and he has boxing experience. But Willie does have a temper. No matter how many hotheads may be in the gym, the coach has to be the one person who can keep his or her cool most of the time. Even if I don't get it, I'll still continue to assist whoever becomes coach.