Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fallout After The Punch

Mary was very concerned about Deo (not Deon, as I wrote on Monday) being hurt in the gym. She asked Alan to come down the hall to talk with him about it. They were gone for a long time, and I feared that Alan might get into trouble because of it. Deo is 19 years old, about 6 feet tall, and thin. Leon is 36 years old, 6'5, and is easily over 250 solid pounds.

Johnny was in the hallway jumping rope, and Ieisha was walking towards us, having just arrived at the field house. Johnny asked if Deo was okay. "Leon's punch broke Deo's eye socket. He has to have surgery next week," I told him. "No fucking way!" Johnny exclaimed. When Ieisha heard this she said, "I was thinking about not sparring today. Now I know I don't want to spar today." As my left hand is still acting funny, I wasn't hot on sparring either last night.

Mary put the hammer down: no one can work out and/or spar in the gym unless they have paid to be there. Alan wanted to make exceptions for people like Willie and JJ, who come in from time to time, but Mary would not budge. I told him, "Mary used to get on Steve about that all the time." I understand Mary's position. It's a liability issue. Leon is not officially signed up to train at Loyola Park. I also understand Alan's stance. It seemed to be a understanding that people who train at Chicago Park District boxing gyms could go train at other gyms in the Park District system without paying a fee. That would also go for boxing officials like Gary and Yale, for example. Even though it has happened, I'm assuming that it is not looked upon favorably by Park District administrators.

Willie remembered Leon trying to goad him into sparring one of the last times he was there. "I guess Leon made it bad for everyone else. Now I've got to come up with the fee," he said. Alan had to tell his cousin Ricky to sign up his sons, and he also told Art, a new guy, that he had to pay. "Mary's the boss, so I have to go along with it," Alan sighed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taking It To The Eye

I teased little Justin last night. He came in again with his father, Carlos. "You and I are going to spar on Wednesday," I told him. Justin gave me an amused look, and his dad laughed. Willie did a workout last night and noticed E's son. "Hillari, didn't you say that he was the one who knocked you out?" he winked. E's son gave us both a confused look as we giggled.

E thought he had taken a hit to his eye during sparring. I was working out on the uppercut bag while he was in the ring. He rested in the corner closed to where I was during the time out. "Is my eye swollen and red?" he asked. "No, not at the moment," I answered. His son stood next to Alan on the other side, helpfully holding up his dad's water bottle.

Alan's cousin, Ricky, came in with his two sons -- one 20-years old and the other 17-years-old. The sons worked out. "I saw your blog," Ricky smiled. More and more people that come into the gym tell me that.

Ieisha was going to ask me about sparring until she saw me rubbing my left hand. It doesn't hurt as much as it has been, but it still does, depending on how I move it. I was going to do uppercuts on the teardrop bag, but Ieisha suggested that I not do that. "I'm older and that's why it's taking me longer to heal," I said. "They say that 40-something is the new 30," she said. "Can't prove that by me," I grinned. Alan also asked me about sparring. When I told him about the continuing pain in my hand, he said something that indicated he found my claim dubious. "I don't want to get knocked out before I go to my high school reunion," I joked. I can imagine showing up with a black eye and having my former classmates thinking, "Who knew she was that crazy when we were all in school together?"

Deon (I think I have his name right) and Leon sparred. Alan kept warning Leon not to go so hard. I was working on the heavy bag that's closest to the ring, partially paying attention to the action. Several people gasped, and I turned to see Deon fall to the canvas. Leon had hit him in his left eye. Alan instructed Deon to remain laying down, and he did for several minutes. When he finally arose, Deon was a little unsteady on his feet. He said that his vision was blurry in that eye. I overheard Alan admonishing Leon about his heavy punching.

Alan ended up driving Deon to the hospital. I left a message for Barry to say that Deon left his bike in the gym -- he didn't have a bike lock, so that was the best place to leave it. I hope his eye is okay.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Protect The Hands

Ieisha asked me about sparring last night, and I turned it down. My left hand is still sore. Perhaps next week, it'll be okay to punch again. I just want to make sure. A boxer's hands are their most important weapons. If they're not functional, then getting into the ring is not a good idea.

Punch in style with women's boxing gloves by Everlast.

Carlos sparred with Leon. While they were in the ring, Carlos' son Justin was recording the action with a little Nintendo gizmo. I didn't know such a thing existed; see, I learn something new every day. Leon popped Carlos good while he was up against the ropes. At the end of a round, Carlos was kneeling in a corner.

There another new guy in class who's name I haven't learned yet. He sparred with Ieisha instead of me. She was getting the best of him early in the game. A few left jabs got him square in the face. But then, the tide changed. Ieisha got tired, and her opponent had better wind. He backed her into the corners more than once. "He was trying to knock me out," she said afterwards.

I was thinking that while my late dad did not know how to box, he did know how to fight. There are numerous stories around about Dad putting beat downs on people. Unfortunately, he had a bad temper, and it didn't take much to set him off. A few months before he passed away, he was talking about jumping on someone whom he felt disrespected him. The old man was in the hospital at the time. "All you are going to do is lay in that bed and rest," I told him. His habit of putting his hands on people influenced my boxing to an extent. But, fortunately, I learned a long time ago that always being on war alert is not a good thing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday's Coach

Everyone was hanging around in the hall outside of the gym on Monday, wondering where Alan was. "He's probably running late," I answered. Then I remembered he said he wasn't going to be in that evening. I found Carol and BK so they could open up the gym.

Two new people, a man and a woman, were there. The man looked familiar to me. He might have signed up for the gym in the past and not stuck around for too long. The woman's name was Shanice, I believe. I spent time showing them the one-two combination (left jab, right cross) and how to stand.

I didn't get much of a workout in, partially because I was lazy, partially because I was coaching people, and partially because I was watching the room. Three other people roamed in, two guys and a girl who looked like they were in their late teens/early twenties. The taller of the two guys asked if he could hit the bags. It's annoying when people walk in and assume they are entitled to play around just because the door is open. However, I was polite as I explained they had to pay to play. Fortunately, they strolled back out after a few moments.

Carlos brought his little boy, Justin, in with him. Justin got bored, as five-year-olds will do when asked to sit and stay still for long periods of time. He had a couple of action figures to play with, but Justin kept getting up and down. "Which superheroes are those?" I asked him. "One is black Spiderman, and the other is red Spiderman," he answered. "Do you read the comic books?" I said to him. "Yeah, sometimes," Justin replied. "I used to read Spiderman comic books and watch the cartoon when I was little," I informed him. Justin gave me a curious look. "Spiderman was around when you were little?" he inquired. "Spiderman first came out when I was a little girl," I smiled. I didn't tell him that the character was created in 1962. Little kids cannot wrap their minds around the concept of decades. It's kind of funny, actually, about small kids and their concept of time. Years ago, another five-year-old told me that I was old. I was fourteen years old at the time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Girl, Don't Do That Anymore!"

It was another no sparring day for me last night at the gym. My left hand and arm are still not performing up to par, so I wisely begged off from getting into the ring.

Alfred was sparring with Alan. He was not committing totally to a lot of his punches, especially the jab. I have the same problem, basically because I worry about really hurting someone. I know that's silly, given that boxing is partially about inflicting pain. Alfred had sparred earlier, with Josh, I believe, and both men were stiff. Alan kept telling Alfred to "stay loose".

Carlos got in the ring with Leon. Leon wore him down, but Carlos remained in the ring until the rounds were over. At one point, Carlos was on all fours on the canvas, crawling around, dead tired. But he got back up and into the game.

"None of the women showed up," Alan said later as he drove me home. "It's not like any of them were hurt." "You're right. I was the only one who got knocked out," I laughed, but that wasn't entirely true. I had forgotten about Maggie, whom I knocked out a few weeks before. I called my friend Linda, who was at home recovering from a fall. I told her about me being laid out in the gym. She gasped. "Maybe I'm getting too old to keep taking hits like that," I said. "You have to be careful. Girl, don't do that anymore," Linda said. Paulette, a fellow church-goer, had told me that perhaps I should concentrate more on the coaching aspect of boxing instead of the fighting aspect.

It keeps crossing my mind. But I made a promise to myself that I would stop competing and sparring when I turn 50 years old. That won't be until 2011. I figure that if I still feel good enough to fight between now and then, I might as well. I still have to figure my weight loss goals into that. While I was out running errands today, a guy trying to get a date with me asked if I was pregnant. Last night in the gym, I kept looking at my pot in the mirror. I really need to do something about that.

Get in shape with fitness magazines subscriptions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fighting With The Sidewalk

I should have waited to put my roller skates on until I got to one of the empty parking lots around Loyola University. But no, I mistakenly thought I could skate there all the way from my apartment during Sunday afternoon. A fall I took as I reached the other side of a busy street made me change my mind. "How in the hell did I skate on the street when I was a kid?" I thought to myself. The pair of roller skates I had back then had metal wheels on them, but somehow, I was able to deal with the cracks and bumps on the pavement. My past youth and lost flexibility must have had a lot to do with that. I did get to the parking lot, and skated longer than I should have, ignoring the cries of my right knee.

Luckily, I had a pair of skating gloves on, so my hands didn't get scraped up. Unfortunately, most of my weight was on my left hand and arm when I connected with the ground. I iced my hand and arm up that night, but it still hurt all day yesterday. I avoided the heavy bags Monday night, and of course, sparring was out.

A guy was in the gym who looked familiar to me, but I couldn't place him at first. "I'm Brendon. I was here back in 2005," he said. He lost some weight, and he seemed to have become taller. He smiled when I told him I remembered his daughter Briana. "She's seven years old today," he beamed.

Jamie was asking about the tear drop bag in the gym. It wasn't there the last time he was attending on a regular basis. "It's good for hooks, uppercuts and body shots," I told him. I had to avoid that bag, too. Even hitting the speed bag and double end bag was aggravating my left hand. I did a lot of shadow boxing last night. I really need to take care of my hands better than I do.

Get your boxing gloves and equipment for less.

Alan announced that Leon has a show fight lined up this Wednesday. It's going to be at a country club in Lincolnwood. I would love to see him fight, but I have to open up the gym for the others that evening.

My aches and pains have officially become a running joke between Pastor Roger and myself. This morning, Pastor walked into my office, grinned, and asked something along the lines of, "How did you injure yourself this time?" I've shown up to just about every job I've had since 1976 with an injury at one time or another. It's only been in the last eight years that a lot of the injuries have been from boxing. Before that, it was mostly due to roller, in-line and ice skating.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Promise To Pastor

I came by the church today to do some work on my laptop. It was cheaper than going to the coffee house and having to buy food and drinks in order to sit at one of their tables. "I kept my promise and didn't spar last night," I informed Pastor. "Don't you feel better, energized, happy?" he said with a grin. He went on to say that I needed time to heal.

"You should have told him you just had a headache," Alan told me yesterday. "That's why he admonished you. Or else that you were boxing for God." I didn't think of that one. There are always people who say, no matter what they are doing, "I'm doing it for the Lord!" "We need to get him to come in here," Alan continued. It would be a good idea for Pastor to come in and look around. I know his wife Virginia is concerned with him losing a little weight.

Nicole came in with Julio, but she didn't stay long. She appeared to be tired, and she probably wanted to go home early. Leon showed up during the last ten to fifteen minutes of the evening, and wasn't able to get a workout in. E didn't stay long either; I think his thumb is still bothering him.

Alan noticed my bag gloves and thought they were new. "Oh, no. I've had these for a few years," I told him. There is a little tear on one of the gloves near the wrist. I will have to replace them eventually. I don't have a pair of regular boxing gloves, mainly because the gym has both sparring and bag gloves available. But it might be a good idea to have my own pair.

Punch in style with women's boxing gloves by Everlast.

Gary came in to workout. He and Alan agreed that Raymond would make a good pro boxer. Raymond started training with Barry and Steve a few years ago. He's now a grown man with a full-time job. Raymond comes in to train once in awhile. He can't always do that because he's busy with other things. That's how it is for a lot of the young guys who were once always hanging in the gym. They go to school (like Mort), they move away (like Ike), they have a kid, their jobs keep them busy, etc.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blasts From A Left And The Past

Ieisha and I sparred last night. "I don't have a mouthpiece, so don't hurt me too much," she joked. I agreed to go light. After taking a long bike ride up to Fort Sheridan the day before, my knees weren't in the best shape. Since I couldn't move as fast, I had to rely more on punching. I also had to watch out for Ieisha's punches, which I thought I was doing better than I did before.

Alan noted that I wasn't hitting hard. "She's breathing hard, too. Get in there," he told me. I also thought I was covering myself up better, although Ieisha got me with some good body punches during round one. During round two, I should have remembered that Ieisha can fight southpaw. She caught me across the bridge of my nose with a punch, and I backed up. Each time I came in, I went more for the body then for the head. The hooks weren't getting in well.

She caught me in the face with her left, and I was stunned. It was my intent to shake it off and keep going. My legs decided they were done, and they buckled under me. I found myself looking up at the lights in the ceiling. "I'm fine, I'm fine," I told Alan from my prone position on the canvas. "Stay down, stay down," he told me. After a few moments, I sat up. It was another few minutes before I could stand up.

Carlos sparred with Ralphie. I noticed a guy standing near the ring watching them. I was surprised to see that it was Jamie. Jamie used to come to the gym during the first year I started going there. It was good to see him. He told me he ran into Steve a few months before. Jamie told me that he was coming back to the gym on Wednesday.

Oscar and Leon went up against each other again. Earlier in the evening, Leon was joking with Oscar. "What? What did you say?" he said menancingly to him. We all laughed about that. I continue to give Oscar credit. He took several hard hits in the head from Leon, who is literally a giant over him.

Alan asked Ieisha and I about perhaps getting matches this Friday at Garfield Park's boxing show. The coach was trying to guess our weights and heights. "You're about 140, right?" he asked me. "I wish! The last time I checked, I came in at 179," I answered. I know that's too big for someone who stands five foot one. I've been losing weight at a good rate, but I need to lose more.

Cut weight with the women's sauna suit by Everlast.

This morning, I told the Pastor I needed to get aspirin from the first aid kit in his office. "Are you okay?" he asked. "Oh, I got knocked out last night," I casually answered. "Hillari, Hillari", Pastor lightly admonished, shaking his head as I followed him down the hall to his office.

"I'm a pretty tough built chick, Pastor," I laughed. "Don't you think you might have a concussion?" he asked, as he took a seat in front of his computer. "Probably. I wouldn't be surprised," I said. "If you still have a headache after taking the aspirin, maybe you should go to the doctor and get checked out. If you have some real damage, you could die the next time you get hit," he said, his face serious. "Coach was talking about getting a match for me this Friday, but maybe I'd better re-think that. After a knockout, a boxer is supposed to take off for awhile," I answered.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Only Woman

Alan sparred with Oscar last night, and he wore headgear that had a faceguard on it. Josh commented that he thought that was good headgear. The faceguard may offer a little bit of protection from getting a broken nose, but like most headgear, it will not prevent a knockout.

Matthew was there, and he told me he's been doing a lot of weight lifting at Clarendon Park. His goal is to become an MMA fighter. Since Matthew has also trained in boxing, he's one up on a lot of MMA guys who don't throw punches well, nor are able to take a lot of punches.

Alfred and I sparred. "You can hit her harder, she can take it," Alan told him, but Alfred and I had agreed to go light before we stepped in the ring. Alfred caught me in the face with a right cross, but it only stung for a second. I had a feeling if that right cross had full power behind it, I might have found myself looking up at the ceiling.

E hurt his thumb again while sparring. He had sprained it before. I think he sparred with Jamil. He had ice on it when he and his little boy left the gym.

Several minutes passed before I realized that I was the only woman in the gym. Ieisha, Nicole and Tanya did not come in. It reminded me of when I first started going to Loyola Park, and I was the only woman in the gym for about a year. Just like now, I was sparring with the guys.