Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Long Six Minutes

It is true that when you are inside the ring, those two or three minutes (whichever time the round is set for) seems like a long, long time. I was sparring with Oksana yesterday. Before we started she said, "Take it easy on me. I've never done this before." I agreed to go light.

When the bell rang, Oksana came out slugging. She's taller than me, so immediately I had to go to fighting on the inside. However, like most people who are taller than I, she has a longer arm reach. I was boxed about the head a lot. If I had moved my head, bobbed and weaved, and slipped a few punches more, I could have avoided the slight headache I had afterwards. That's always been a problem with me about moving enough in the ring.

I was pushing Oksana back at one point, because she was crowding me. For the first time ever, I heard the coach say, "Break!" while I was sparring. That never happened before. Later, Oksana explained that when I kept coming forward, she wasn't sure how to counteract that. Allan told her that she needed to use her jab more to keep me away. "You're taller than she is, so you don't have to throw a lot of punches to keep her back. Just pump the jab," he said.

Oksana told me she punched harder, but yet I kept throwing light punches. "You should have came back at me hard," she said. However, I had promised not to do that beforehand, and a promise is a promise. I have witnessed guys sparring who made similar promises, only to change their minds once the action began.

Allan told me about Leon, who is the big guy who always seems to show up just in time to spar. "I like the guy, but he calls me about getting matches, but doesn't come in to work out," he said. Leon sounded suspiciously like Jordan, and a few other guys in the past who would call Steve with the same line.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Holiday Boxing

I was a little surprised the gym (and the field house, as well) was open on MLK, Jr. Day. But then I had to remember the gym never used to be open on Mondays at all.

Amanda is the person who saw this blog on the 'Net. She asked about sparring with me in a couple of weeks, and I told her we could. Later, Allan asked me about sparring with the women in the class. He wasn't sure how many would be interested. The guy who works in airport security figured if the women keep coming into the gym, they would eventually want to spar. That's not always true, but I'm always hoping more would be interested in sparring.

Another guy in the gym, one whom I helped wrap his hands a few times (I have to get people's names straight), saw the picture of me up on the bulletin board. "Boxing has really helped you! I can tell that you are a lot smaller than you were in that picture," he said. The picture is from Halloween of 2002, and was taken of me sitting at my former job in my boxing gear. I do look bigger in that photo, so I guess I have lost some weight. Still have more to take off, however.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tired Wednesday

"Do you feel as tired as I am?" Allen smiled at me in the gym on Wednesday. I was pretty worn out. I had spent extra hours at church helping to get an annual business report done. After that, I went to visit an elderly friend, who's not doing so well, in the nursing home. I almost opted out of going to the gym, but I never want to start that habit.

One of the new persons, a woman whose name I unfortunately can't remember, said "You're the one who writes the boxing blog! I googled it online and found it!" That was the first time Allen heard about my blog. I don't know why I didn't mention it to him earlier. But then, I think Steve found out sometime later that I wrote a blog as well.

Paris Two came in that night (not to be confused with Jordan's buddy of the same name). He goes to school on Mondays, so Wednesdays are the only nights he can attend the gym. It was good to see him again. "There's a lot of new faces," he commented. He asked me did any of the regulars come in anymore. A few of the people who were around during Steve's reign -- Muhammad, Wally, John, Jim, Jermaine, Deb -- still come in. I like Allen, and I like meeting the new people who have signed up. But it's a different feel in the gym since Steve and the other guys left. I'm still adjusting to it.

I heard Allen asking Paris Two if he wanted a match. The Golden Gloves is coming up soon. I have no idea if anyone from the gym is going to be ready to compete in that. I wouldn't be surprised if someone like Igor, Jordan or Keith came in soon asking about getting in on the action. Those three are good for coming in near showtime wanting to get matches.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Wednesday Sparring

The gym was packed again on Wednesday, as it appeared that everyone who was there on Monday returned for another round. I think MoMo was the only person missing.

Wally sparred with the biggest guy in class. I can't remember the guy's name, only that he brought his girlfriend with him. Wally and his friend Keith saw the guy sparring with another guy (an airport security guard whose name I also can't think of). They commented on how slow they thought the big guy was. Indeed, the big guy was very wore out after going a few rounds with the quicker Wally. He kneeled in a corner of the ring to catch his breath.

Matthew sparred with a long-haired friend of his who looked to be about the same age as Matthew. I noticed after they finished that Matthew's friend wasn't wearing a mouthpiece. His friend took a couple of hard hits; he could have lost some teeth.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New Year and Some Old Faces

It was the first night of the Winter session. Allen was surprised when he saw all the newcomers who showed up. He immediately put them to work.

Muhammad, Wally and Deb returned to the gym last night. Wally has now graduated from college. Deb stated that she had taken boxing long before coming to Loyola Park at a gym in Iowa. I finally got to tell Muhammad (MoMo) how much I loved the lamb that his mother had fixed. He told me that he and I will have to check out some Pakistani restaurants.

I shadow boxed most of the time because there wasn't much space to do anything else. The newcomers were on the bags for most of the evening. My right shoulder was acting up. I have no idea what that is about. Maybe I've been sleeping on it wrong. It could also just be another hint that I'm getting older.