Friday, November 28, 2008

Disagreement In The Ring

Old Jim was doing a drill with Matthew, a young man who came to the gym with his girlfriend on Wednesday. I was on the speed bag when I heard Old Jim raise his voice. "You're pushing me! I thought we were supposed to be doing drills!" he snapped. Matthew claimed that he wasn't pushing him. Then Old Jim said, "Are you showing off for your girlfriend?" Matthew took offense at this, and they continued to argue until Allen told them to cool it. It made me wonder what is going to happen if Old Jim ends up sparring with one of the younger guys. Some of the younger guys don't hold back during sparring, even though the objective is not to totally beat down the other person.

It won't be long and the Fall session will be over. The Winter session for the adult boxing program begins on January 6, 2009. Hopefully, the word will get around more that the Loyola Gym is open again, and more people will come in. I hope that those that used to train at Clarendon, which is now closed, will sign up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Two Of The Old Gang

Near the end of the evening on Monday, MoMo (Muhammad) and Jermaine strolled into the gym. "We saw the lights on and decided to come in and check it out!" they said. They've been going up to Hamlin Park to train. MoMo really looked good; he's lost a lot of weight. It did my heart good to see those two. They said they were going to tell as many of the guys they run into that the gym is open again.

I had emailed Jon and Mike some time ago to let them know. Didn't hear from Mike, but Jon told me he goes to Evanston Boxing Gym along with JJ.

Wasn't that many people in the gym on Monday. Marisol, a new woman, came in with a male companion. I wasn't sure if it was her boyfriend or her brother. Mark was another new face; he used to train at Clarendon Park. Paul and Johnny didn't come in, but Jim was there. He was going on with Allen about wanting to learn defense. He even brought a paper with defense drills on it. The paper looked familiar, and I realized that Steve had brought the same thing in over a couple of years ago.

Jim also brought in some punch mitts that he thought Allen could use for pad work. Allen had said last week that his hand was bothering him. I didn't want to ask for pad work because of that. However, Jim kept on and on about getting on the pads (the same thing he used to to when Steve was there), so Allen obliged him. Allen also held pads for me.

Allen believes in having the bell set for three minute rounds, which is a good thing. Amateur bouts are usually two minutes long (sometimes even less when women are in the ring). A boxer who trains consistently at three minutes each round has an advantage in terms of stamina.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Days and New Coach

Ahh. . .finally the gym has re-opened! The new coach is Allen, and he has been coaching for 30 years. I'm guessing he's about five to ten years older than I. He told me that he won a Golden Gloves belt in the middleweight category back in 1975. Allen gives a lot of tips. He gave me some on how to throw a better jab and uppercut. It was very helpful. I told him that in another month or so, I'd like to spar again.

Old Jim was back in the gym as well last night. He told me that while waiting for Loyola Park's gym to re-open, he had been going to a gym out by Naperville. "I felt like I was really a student there," he said. I took that as a dig against Steve, whom he always complained about.

There were two new guys in the place: Johnny, who looked to be in his mid-twenties, and Paul, an older guy. Johnny sparred with Old Jim. Paul told me that some women were attending the gym, but none of them were there yesterday.

The gym is now open a half-hour later and on Mondays and Wednesdays, instead of Wednesdays and Fridays. Due to my usher job in the evenings, there are some days that I will miss. I did promise Allen that I would be in the gym when I did not have to work.