Thursday, December 31, 2009

Four Guys and A Stiff Middle Aged Gal

Alan received a copy of the roster for the Winter session.  It appears that only one person had signed up for the gym.  "That's odd.  Usually, a crowd of people show up in January," I said.  Maybe people are waiting until the last minute.  But then, the price of admission went up over this year, so maybe the economy is to blame. 

Jamil, Ralphie, JJ and Ed showed up at the gym tonight.  "Are you going to spar tonight?" Alan asked.  I could have, but I figured the four guys were matched up with each other.  Plus, both my knees and my lower back were stiff.  I stretch each time before really getting into the workout, but that didn't help much Wednesday night.

JJ held the punch mitts for me.  I've always said that he would make a great coach.  He was working with Ed earlier that night on his punches.  "You haven't done punches in a long time," JJ said, noting the intensity of the punches I threw.  "No, I haven't," I said.  Alan's wrists bother him, so he doesn't hold the mitts for people.  I became a bit winded, and JJ noticed.  "You're breathing hard, and we're only in the middle of the first round.  Let me know if you're gonna die," he smiled.  "I'm an old woman, JJ.  It takes me awhile to work up the stamina," I laughed.  We ended up doing two rounds.

As I sat down on one of the ringside stools, Alan commented, "You're not huffing and puffing."  "I'm still tired," I said.  "But you went a few rounds with JJ.  That's good," the coach said. 

Ralphie and I were worn out doing an interval exercise.  It was the one where boxers alternate between holding the bag for each other and punching the bag.  My arms felt like they were going to fall off near the end of that round, which would be the last one of the evening.  Ralphie said he had a hard time keeping up the punches, too.  It's such a good exercise, however. 

I keep thinking about that 40-plus pounds that I need to lose.  I finished off the last of a half-gallon of eggnog earlier and said to myself, "Time to replenish the eggnog!"  Luckily, eggnog is only available in the stores during the last two months of the year.  It is also a good thing that I don't know how to make the stuff, or else, I'd drink it all year.  I don't want to make losing weight a New Year's resolution.  That's the best way to make sure that a resolution won't work.  I have to continue to look at it as a lifestyle change decision.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hair and Weight

Alan was concerned that there wouldn't be that many people signing up for the winter session.  "A lot of people start in January," I told him.  "Most of them will be fulfilling New Year's resolutions to lose weight or to try something new."  But I also mentioned that most of the new people would probably be gone by the time the Golden Gloves registration begins in February.

Only Jamil and I came in, and we sparred.  Outside of that, I spent most of the time working on ducking and coming up with hooks.  Alan helped me work on them further by holding the punch donut. 

"If you could get down to 130 pounds, that would be good," Alan said.  "I used to be 125 pounds years ago," I said.  "And I used to have hair," Alan grinned.  I fondly remember being able to walk around wearing midriff bearing tops.  "I can't grow back my hair, but you could lose the weight," Alan told me.  That about forty-plus pounds I have to lose.  I'm really going to have to work.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Little Woman vs. The Coach

Ralphie, Carlos and Jamil were in attendance Wednesday evening.  Alan told me to get suited up for sparring.  I assumed I would be sparring either Carlos or Ralphie, who were mixing it up in the ring at that moment.  The both of them came out when the bell rang, and took off their gear.  "So who am I going to spar?" I thought.  I turned around to see Alan putting on a pair of gloves.

The bell rang, we moved around for a few seconds, then I asked him, "Where's your headgear?"  "Eh, I don't need it; I'm okay," Alan replied.  I hit him in the back a few times, which is an illegal thing to do.  But he would turn just as I was aiming for his mid-section.  For a moment during the second round we did, I made the mistake of being more focused on being tired instead of on Alan.  He got in an uppercut that stunned and knocked me a little off balance.  There was a second when I thought I was going to collapse to the canvas.  "You okay?" Alan asked.  I shook my head "yes" and kept going.

I backed Alan up aginst the ropes and gave him a right to the chin.  I didn't think I put a lot of power on that punch.  Later, Alan told me, "You hit very hard.  You could have taken out that fire fighter."  Ralphie said in amazement, "That other woman Hillari fought was a fire fighter?"  I still go over in my head what went wrong during both matches I had with Meg.  If only I could have pinned her against the ropes, if only I could have gotten some hooks off, if only, if only.

Earlier that day, I was telling Pastor Roger about the Christmas forty-six years ago when my late dad brought me a baseball and a laser gun.  I was two years old then.  My mother was not amused.  "Walter, don't you see that she's a girl?" Ma pointed out.  I don't remember exactly what Dad's response was.  I do know that he had expected another son (my oldest brother had passed away the year before I was born).  "Boxing. . .I bet your dad didn't see that coming," Pastor Roger commented. No, most likely he didn't.  I do have to give Dad credit that he didn't discourage me from the sport when he found out.  But I have no doubt that he thought it was unusual for me to be involved in it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Change?

Carlos and I sparred yesterday, and this time, I actually covered up when he threw shots to my mid-section.  If only I had covered my head as effectively.  I did one round with him, then Alan asked me to step out of the ring, so Jamil could get in.  After Jamil was through, I went back in with Carlos for a second round.  "Do you use batteries?" I joked with Carlos.  "I don't think I expend that much energy because I'm trying to gauge how the other person is punching and moving," he grinned. I was leaning over the ropes, breathing hard as Alan removed my gloves.  "You okay?" he grinned.  "I'm an old woman," I gasped.

Alan sparred with his son Matthew, who is on holiday break from military school.  I thought the two were going to kill each other.  Matthew was throwing some hard shots.  He and his dad had numerous clinches against the ropes and in the corners.  They kept throwing punches even then.  "Break!" I called out once when they were grappling on the ropes.  "Aw, let 'em go," Carlos said.

"Matt was doing the MMA stuff at home and he caught me with some moves.  My wife was screaming that we were tearing up the house," Alan said later.  Manny was in the gym, and he was showing Matthew several different wrestling moves that looked very aggressive.  Matthew told me that he hasn't done a lot of boxing at his school, but he's been wrestling quite a bit. 

On the way home, I teased Alan again for stopping the fight between Meg and I.  "I'll never hear the end of that.  Know that I did it out of love," he said.  "I know," I chuckled.  "No fighter wants a fight stopped on them," he added. During that fight, I did lose my balance a couple of times.  Lost of balance is a sign of perimenopause.  My skin feeling itchy and "creepy crawly", which it has been for some time, is another sign.  So is not being able to get to sleep and stay asleep.  It's almost 4:00 AM as I'm typing this entry.  Maybe I'm entering "the change of life".  I'm certainly old enough for that to begin to take place. If that is what's going on, I wonder if it will have a negative affect on me boxing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

You Tube Boxing

Carlos announced that he took his fight at Brooks Park off of YouTube.  "I only put it up there so my cousin could see it," he said.  We all told him that he should have left it up.  I think it is still accessible on this blog.

I had been searching YouTube, hoping that my most recent fight had not been posted there.  It's bad enough that the previous fight Meg and I had is on display there. 

I didn't spar again this past Wednesday.  Still too sore and unsteady on my knees.  Alan decided to move  around in the ring with Carlos.  He looked relieved when Ralphie came in.  Alan was going to be too tired to keep going like Carlos likes to go.  It was good that Ralphie could take up some of the slack and spar with Carlos. 

When the ring wasn't being used, I got in there to shadowbox.  I practiced moving my head, the technique I wasn't using the last time I fought Meg.  Alan said that using the rope (stretched out along the side of the ring for the purposes of bobbing and weaving) would be good to practice head movement as well.  I didn't do much bobbing and weaving because my knees couldn't take it that night.  In fact, as I write this, my right knee is slightly throbbing.  It's been doing that all day.  It may be the arthritis flaring up, or residual pain from when I sprained my knee twice (in 2005 and 2006), or both.  Taking aspirin will only help for awhile; unfortunately, the pills won't cure arthritis. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Back To Square One

I had considered not going to the gym last night.  My body was still sore, and I had been dragging all day.  Plus, it is not a good feeling to walk back into the gym, knowing that one has lost a match, and knowing that everybody else knows it as well.  I had decided before I got there that I would not spar that night.

Johnny was grumbling about the match he lost last Wednesday.  "I was so mad!  All that I had practiced in here went out of the window during my match!".  He and Jamil sparred that evening.  Alan and I both noticed that Johnny was not moving his head constantly.  He had been moving it a lot during the last match he had. 

Manny came in, saying that he now has Mondays free to workout.  I like Manny.  He wished me a belated birthday when he arrived.  Manny reminds me of my paternal grandfather.  My granddad James was about Manny's build when he was a young man, and my granddad also boxed.  Manny has facial features like my grandfather, especially the high cheekbones.  He was telling everybody about the trip he had taken to Europe.  I had seen the pictures on Facebook.  One charming picture showed his little girl wearing a beret, and posing outside of a shop in Paris, France.  His vacation sounded like a lot of fun.

Manny was working the bigger of the two heavy bags in the gym.  Boom!  The chain and big nail holding it up broke, and the bag crashed to the ground.  Alan attempted to re-hang it, but the bolt had broken, too.  He was going to let Barry know, so that Park District personnel can repair it.

There may be a third match with Meg.  I would like to do it, but I also know that I can't stomach a third loss to her.  Neither can I take the aches and pains.  Usually, I'm able to shake off being banged up after a couple of days.  When I was involved in a car crash back in 2005, not only did I walk away from the totaled car, but I only took one day off from the job I had.  The effects of the latest banging up has continued to hang on. 

Several people noticed that I was limping and dragging about at church this past Sunday.  I moved slowly to get up to the front of the church when it was my turn to read Scripture (I'm the lector for this month).  I thought I felt Pastor Roger's eyes on me as I painfully made it up the few steps to the lecturn.  Yesterday, pain shot up my side while I was talking with him in his office.  "I'm still sore," I groaned.  Pastor shook his head.  "Remember, you got into the ring," he commented.  Margaret, the choir director, had said basically the same thing in an email she sent me earlier this week.  "Sorry to hear that you got banged up, but it's your own fault," she said.  Alex figured that I now owe Meg a couple of beatdowns.  But he, Margaret and Pastor all agreed that Alan should have stopped the fight.

"I knew you were mad because I stopped the fight.  But I had to consider that you were taking a lot of punches, and I had to consider your age," Alan explained Monday night.  I remain disappointed, but I realize that my hurt pride is the real issue. He and I both agreed that I need to work on technique before I meet Meg again (if that happens), or anyone else in the ring. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Carlos' Fight At Brooks Park

Here is Carlos' fight that took place at Brooks Park this past Wednesday.  I recorded it on his digital camera. Carlos is in the red shorts.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Carlos picked me up to go to Brooks Park tonight.  We made it there right at 6:30 PM to weigh in.  Johnny, Jamil and Alan were already there.  The crowd was small, probably due to the snow coming down.  "There are more boxers here than spectators," Johnny commented.

Some of Barry's boys were there -- Kenny, Kevin and Marquis.  I was happy when Marquis got a win.  Kenny is very long and tall, and he used that to his advantage to get a win over his opponent. 

My fight with Meg was the fifth bout of the evening.  Johnny's fight was the seventh, and Carlos' was the tenth and last fight of the evening.  Jamil didn't get a fight; he worked the corner during our fights.

I walked into the washroom to change into my boxing clothes.  Meg walked out of a stall.  "This is awkward," she giggled nervously.  I didn't think it was.  "I'll see you out there," she said before rushing out.  Some boxers do build up a temporary animosity towards their opponents, but I don't do that.  Focusing on what moves I can use to the win is more productive than giving an opponent the evil eye.

The bell rang and Meg came out of her corner like a bull.  The combinations I planned to execute just fell by the wayside.  I took Alan's advice and threw more hooks than I usually do.  The hooks were focused on her body, but Meg worked her punches on my head.  I was worn out by the end of the first round.  The second round wasn't too better, even though I threw as many punches as I could.  Meg was scoring more because I have the annoying habit of not moving my head to avoid incoming punches.

I could hear Jamil encouraging me from the sidelines.  However, Alan's instructions during the rest periods got lost in the fog permeating my mind.  All I remember was him saying, "She's tired too.  Keep sucking air."  The referee asked me if I was okay at the end of the second round.  I nodded.

Meg continued her assault after the bell for the third round rang.  I was desperately trying to hang on, despite being popped in the eye, getting rocked a few times, and losing my balance.  The referee got in-between Meg and I and stopped the fight.  I rolled my eyes, sighed, and shuffled back to my corner.  "I would have given her a eight count," the referee told Alan.  After we were all out of the ring, Alan confessed that he gave the referee the high sign that the fight should be stopped.  There are a couple of ways a coach can do that.  One is to throw a towel in the ring.  The other is to stand on the apron of the ring while the fight is still in progress.  "Why?" I asked him.  "I didn't want you to get hurt," Alan said.  "I understand," I said, even though I would have rather lost on points.  However, that's what a good coach does.  They look out for their fighters.

Johnny lost his fight, too, and he was even more disappointed.  He hung in with the guy, an opponent whom Carlos had fought with during the Loyola Park boxing show back in September.  "Somebody's got to win in our group," Johnny said.

Carlos got fired up on his opponent beginning in the second round of his bout, and he never let up.  I was recording it using Carlos's camera.  Later, as he drove me home, Carlos said, "I can't believe I won."  But of all the guys currently in the Loyola Park gym, Carlos displays the most energy and stamina.  He can go for six, seven, eight rounds sparring.  Carlos said, "I won't fight again until I lose some weight.  I don't want to be knocked out by a heavyweight."

I feel the same way.  Besides not moving my head, my stamina is not as high as it should be, and I need to seriously lose weight.  The pounds have been creeping back up since the holiday season began.  I can't keep plodding around in the ring.  If I keep it up, someone is seriously going to knock my behind out.  It won't be a TKO like I took back during the summer when Ieisha clocked me.  I'll be laid out cold. 

Now there's another second place trophy sitting next to the other second place trophy I have.  I'm ticked because I know I could have done better.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Day Before My Birthday

Outside of Alan, the only people in the gym tonight were myself, Carlos and Jamil.  Alan was still trying to get fights for this Wednesday for Jamil and Johnny.  "I'm a little nervous about having a fight. I think I'm not ready," Jamil said.  "How long you've been coming here? About four months, right?  You're ready," I told him. 

"Did you practice over the past few days?" Alan asked me.  I did, finding my Title individual workout timer, setting it for three minutes per round.  The combinations were coming fast and furious.  "Now how come I can't go this fast while sparring or in a match?" I wondered.  I've been feeling all of 47 years old lately.  I suppose I'll feel all of 48 years old tomorrow. 

Before Carlos and I sparred, I thought to myself, "Please, no body shots."  Carlos got the body shots in, and I covered up against some of them, but not all.  The nausea began to rise again.  Later, Alan told me, "Well, Carlos is heavy-handed, plus he's taller than you."  So is Meg, who I'm scheduled to box with on Wednesday. 

Earlier in the day, my dry bottom lip was irritating me.  The cold weather plays havoc with my skin, and my lips go bone dry.  I picked the dead skin away, a bad habit I need to stop.  I pulled too much and blood appeared.  I put on lip balm, hoping Pastor Roger wouldn't notice it.  "Do you have a bloody lip?" he asked after I stopped in his office before leaving work for the day.  I explained my dry skin problem.  "It'll probably get cut open again tonight at the gym," I joked.  Pastor shook his head.

Carlos took a look at my lip at the end of the evening.  The blood had stopped coming by that time, but there was a spot indicating the damage.  He thought he busted my lip, but he initially didn't want to say anything.  I chuckled. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Shots and More Shots

I didn't go to the gym this past Monday because of a short bout with the flu.  I wasn't overly congested; I seldom am when I get the flu.  I get headaches and feel aches all over.  Monday and Tuesday I spent sleeping, since I took off from work. 

Carlos and I sparred, and I've never taken that many shots to my stomach in my life.  I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach.  Luckily, I didn't eat anything before I went to the gym tonight.  My head didn't do much better, as Carlos cracked many right hooks to my skull.  I've got a real problem with not covering up to avoid hooks that needs to be solved.

Alan was yelling instructions from the side, reminding me that Meg was going to rush me again when we meet next Wednesday for the rematch.  Carlos wore me out, and the punches I returned barely grazed him. My back began to bother me, and I was grateful when the bell rang, ending our second round. Afterwards Alan told me, "Forget about pawing for her punches to slap them down.  Cover up, then return as many punches as you can."  Even Pastor told me that I need to wait on Meg to come to me before throwing punches.  "You'd throw one punch, and she'd score points by throwing three back.  Wait until she gets up close then let those punches go," he told me during lunch.  Good advice.  Alan and I worked the pads, and he admonished me to hit harder, which I can do, and I did.  Why I often don't hit hard during sparring or during the last match I had, is a big mystery, even to me.  I've got basically five days to correct myself.

Alan suggested that I run, but my arthritis has really been a bear lately.  I was limping on and off while at work earlier, then again at the gym.  My right knee stayed sore most of the day.  Yet, I have to get my stamina up, another problem I'm always struggling to work out.