Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Relaxed In The Ring

Oksana was surprised when Alan told her and I that we could spar in the ring first. Later, she apologized to Alan for being irritated the other week when she and I went in last. Alan smiled and said, "I learned my lesson. My mother didn't raise any fools."

I was amazingly relaxed in the ring. Usually, I'm a little tense. Too many flashbacks to schoolyard fights, I guess. I paid attention when Oksana gave advice such as, "Protect your face!" and "Keep your eyes open!" It was very helpful. Alan kept telling me to throw overhand rights. I will practice those on the bags, but seldom throw them during sparring. Oskana and did two good rounds.

Sadiq came in, and I was glad to see him. He asked about JJ, Mike, and some of the other guys who used to come into the gym. Melanie, who had attended the gym along with Betty about three years ago, came in with a friend named Heather. I was just thinking about Melanie the other week, and wondering what happened to her. "Betty lives out south, so it's easier for her to take boxing classes out there," she told me.

I had forgotten that tonight started the new spring session. Manny was confused by all the new faces. "What's going on today?" he wondered out loud. About eight new people signed up, including a guy who had a little girl with him. He looked young, so I assumed the girl was his little sister. She explained that he was actually her dad.

Last night, I did a long overdue update to my boxing web, www.survivethegym.com . I need to keep it fresh more often than I do.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tough Star Guys

Wasn't able to get to the gym this week due to working at the opera.

I've always been curious about celebrities who either box currently, or have boxed in the past. I found this picture of Robert Conrad of "The Wild, Wild West" fame. Conrad, a former Chicago native, boxed for awhile when he was a young man. Apparently from this photo, he still uses boxing to stay in shape.

Several other celebs have boxed were Jack Palance, Dean Martin, Lou Costello (of Abbott and Costello fame), Mickey Rourke, Martin Lawrence, Charles Durning, and Tony Danza. I'm sure there are more.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Picture Day

Manny brought his sister to the gym. "I've been a tomboy, but I think I'm too girly girly for this sport!" she told me. Manny laughed about his sister not being able to keep up with him during a run from Howard Street to Touhy. In her defense, she said she hadn't done much running since high school.

Pete, Otis and Joe came in. Otis didn't stay long, but Pete and Joe put in a workout, which included sparring. Manny, Leon and Steve sparred as well. Oksana and I sparred, but we had to wait for the guys to take their turns. It didn't bother me, but Oksana was irritated because she thought that Alan was putting us off because we were females. Her and I actually agreed to spar after the guys had already decided to do so.

Oksana is rather aggressive in the ring. She kept pushing my head down during the one round we sparred. My aches and pains were acting up, so one round was all I could manage. Alan later told me that I was "punching easy", and that I needed to put more power behind them. I know I do, but in the back of my mind, I continue to be concerned about hurting someone. After all the years I've been in boxing, I should have gotten over that by now. Maybe it's because I still hear my mother telling me never to be a bully. She was the first one to teach me how to throw a punch. Her intent was to teach me to defend myself, not to beat people down at random.

But I am my father's daughter. The night before, while riding the train home from my usher's job, I shoved a guy. He was sitting next to me, falling asleep and leaning on me with his big backpack. It was St. Patrick's Day, and I suspect the guy had been drinking and drugging. When he didn't move fast enough as I trying to get off at my stop, I snapped "Move!" and shoved him. The guy didn't give me enough room to get by him, so I stomped on his foot. I hate riding public transportation on St. Patrick's Day. I always end up cursing a drunk out or putting my hands on them, or both.

I wasn't at the gym on Monday due to work, but I learned there was a bad fight outside of the fieldhouse. It's not even summer yet, and the outside rumbles around the fieldhouse have already begun. The park district staff tries to keep that stuff from escalating, and the cops visit the fieldhouse regularly, but incidents jump off too often.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Wrists

On Tuesday night, I ran into Helen. She had attended the gym several sessions ago. Helen has a couple of little kids at home, and she goes to college. I told her about the new gym schedule, and she thought she might be able to fit boxing in again.

Tommy visited the gym on Wednesday. He's dealing with work issues, but he wants to come back and get into shape. He asked me if any of the old regulars have been around. I was just thinking that I haven't seen Wally and Keith for a few weeks. Of course, JJ and MoMo train elsewhere these days.

My right wrist continues to hurt on and off. Last night, I noticed my left wrist was acting up, too. When it was just the right wrist giving me problems, I suspected carpal tunnel syndrome. Now I'm leaning towards arthritis. It's already in my knees; I don't need it in my hands and wrists, too.

Manny came in. He sparred with Mike (not to be confused with the other two guys named Mike who used to train at Loyola Gym). Mike is a friend of Johnny, who also came in yesterday after having been gone for awhile. Manny kept telling Mike to remain loose. It is so easy to tense up in the ring, but it's not helpful.

I've been spelling Alan's name wrong, so from here on in, I'll do it correctly.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wednesday Return

Oksana thought I had quit the gym because I had been gone for awhile. Work and sickness have kept me out longer than I thought. There were a couple of guys I didn't recognize; they were new. One of them was a buddy of John, who was in attendance.

"I can do defense, but my feet won't move fast enough. I guess it's because I'm 47 years old," John told me. "I'm the same age," I told him. He stopped and gave me a look of disbelief. "You look really young," he told me. "Eh, I look in the mirror and see the small wrinkles and the gray hairs," I smiled. I agreed with him that middle age slows down reflexes. My footwork isn't what it used to be, either. It's just as well I didn't spar tonight. After being out for awhile, I need to work my way back up to that.

The speed bag is still down. When Steve was the coach, it was noticed that where the bag screws in looked stripped. The bag seems to be down more times than it's up lately. I console myself by getting time on the double-end bag.

Greg is going to sign up for the Golden Gloves, Allen told me. The sign up for the tournament is soon. I need to catch up with Barry to see if he's heard anything about a coach's clinic.