Friday, September 26, 2008

National Anthem Time Again

Tonight was the annual Loyola Park Boxing Show, and it felt a little different without Steve being around. Some of the old gang did show up: Pete, Otis, Eric, Mike, and JJ brought his Golden Gloves belt along. I sang the National Anthem for the sixth time at the event.

There were nine fights in total. Only two of the bouts featured boxers who were not from Loyola Park. The crowd was smaller this time. I'm guessing that was because the first of the Presidential debates between Obama and McCain were aired this evening. The matches were better entertainment than the usual political arguing. All of them went fast.

The fastest match was also one of the strangest. The boxer in the blue corner kept taking punches from the red corner boxer, and didn't return much fire. He was running from the guy several times. Near the end of one round, the blue corner boxer decided he had taken one hit too many, and he turned tail and ran -- straight out of the ring and out of the gym. The red corner boxer won by default.

JJ and Mike were honored for winning belts at the Golden Gloves, and the announcer also gave credit to Steve for leading them to their victories.

Several people asked me what was going on with the adult boxing program. I wish I could have given them a better answer. People want to come back. Even JJ said he missed the feel of Loyola Park. But things continue to be up in the air about whether it will re-open soon.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

One Guy From The Gym

The other day, I was musing about the fact that I never see anyone from the gym, but I forgot about EJ. EJ lives up the street from me. He used to come to Loyola Park on a regular basis, but over the past couple of years, he hadn't been in. But whenever I see him on the street, he asks about what's going on at the boxing gym.

EJ has a wife and a teenaged daughter. They live in what I thought was a condo building; it's actually a co-op. There's not many co-ops in the neighborhood. In light of the gentrification (which seems to have slowed a little due to the economy and various neighborhood problems), I don't think that co-ops are encouraged much. I don't know why. They seem to be a better alternative to the high costs of condominiums.

Last night was the season ender of ESPN's "Friday Night Fights". Unfortunately, due to money disputes between the sports cable outlet and boxing promoters, the program no longer runs all year long. The next season won't start until January. It's a shame -- boxing is one of the few sports that don't operate on seasons, like baseball and football does. Doesn't make sense it has to be regulated like that on ESPN.

The program had been celebrating its ten years on the air by having people vote on the best fights and boxers. Emmanuel Augustus (formerly Burton) was named "the most memorable fighter", and it was a good choice. The guy showboats like a big dog, and is always entertaining to watch. A clip was shown of him fighting someone -- it might have been "Irish" Micky Ward -- and Augustus did a cool sequence of slips to get away from the punches. If only I could move that fast.

I also wish I had Ann Wolfe's job. She's a three-time world championship boxer. She had one of the boxers she trains in a match last night. Like I predicted, the 10 round fight would not go the distance. Her fighter stopped his opponent early in the match. Ms. Wolfe said that she doesn't just want to coach one man to a world championship, but several men to world championships. She comes off as very tough, very determined and very serious. I saved a You Tube clip where she knocks the living hell out of one of her opponents. It was a beautiful punch.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fall Approaching

I was looking at the many pictures I've taken at the gym and at boxing events. It's rather sad that I don't see the guys on a regular basis anymore. It's just as sad that the adult boxing program is still in limbo down at Loyola Park.

The kids are there on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and I've been forgetting to stop in to see Barry and everyone else. The idea occurred to me to empty out my locker. Maybe one of the kids could use that locker. But then, the combination lock on there is not mine; it belongs to JJ. There's always the hope that the adult portion of the program -- which Mary fought to have at the fieldhouse along with the kids' program -- will be resurrected. Then I would have need of the locker again.

Since fall is approaching, and my diabetes and high blood pressure still exist, I do need to get myself in an exercise program. I like the Loyola Park field house, but most of the other sports programs there are for kids and teens. I believe there's a class for adults, but I'm not a fan of aerobics.

I could shadow box at home. I have boxing exercise DVDs. But I can't seem to bring myself to do it. I miss using the equipment. I miss learning techniques and tricks. I miss the guys. I miss the smell of the gym.