Friday, September 24, 2010

The Eighth Fight

Tonight was Loyola Park's Annual Boxing Show ("Boxing Explosion").  There were only about ten fights, and the crowd was small.  The gym where Antonio trains was also having fights tonight, which may have accounted for the low attendance.  My fight was the eighth of the night.  Before leaving the house, I painted my nails red.  I thought it would be fun to box with nail polish on. 

Marquis' fight was first.  He hung in there, but the other kid got more pops in on him, so the winning trophy went to him.  Eric's fight was the third one, I believe.  He won his bout, but I was so busy pacing out of nervousness that I didn't see much of that bout.  Professor had a fight; he ended up on the canvas twice, and taking eight counts despite making a good effort. 

Evangelina's fight was number four and she was up against Meg the fire fighter.  I didn't get a chance to give Evangelina tips ahead of time, since I had fought Meg twice before.  She did well against Meg the first round, but the second and third rounds belonged to Meg.  I kept yelling to her, "body blows!" and Alan kept yelling, "Keep your punches straight!"  Meg picked up another win.  Below is a picture of Evangelina and I in the gym after the boxing show was over.

I met my opponent, Andrea, before our match.  She was wearing a very cool "Fight Like A Girl" T-shirt.  I have a shirt with the same saying, but hers has a rose on it instead of a boxing glove.  We looked to be matched evenly.  Alan said that we both were about the same weight.  But when we got into the ring, and I was staring at her from my corner, she looked a lot more buff than pudgy little me.  "I just may get my ass whipped," I thought.  Alan rubbed my shoulder.  "You know what to do.  You've done this before," he said. 

I kept throwing punches throughout the first round, but I didn't think I landed anything of importance.  The nerves caught up with me when that round ended.  The mouthpiece felt like it was choking me, and I thought I was going to be sick.  Alan was giving me instructions, but all I heard was "body blows" and "Are you okay?"  I was winded, but I went back out for the second round.  Andrea cracked me in my head a few times, which was a hint to me to keep my hands up.  "Come on, Hillari!" I kept hearing Alan yelling, while Cynthia, a staff member at the field house, was yelling, "Get her, Hillari, get her!" from the other side of the gym. 

Alan gave me a look during the rest period between the second and third round.  Later, he told me he was thinking of stopping the match.  I had a feeling that was on his mind, which is why I kept insisting I was fine, when I was close to upchucking.  I was determined to suck it up and make it through the third round.  I kept coming forward, landing punches where I could manage.  Andrea leaped in with several bombs of her own.  Thankfully, the minute finally ended (the amateur matches are one minute per round), and I dragged myself into my corner.  "That was a close fight," Alan grinned, but I thought, "Nah, I don't think so."  After hugging my opponent and shaking the hand of Bill, her coach at Hamlin, I stepped to the middle of the ring, prepared to take another loss.

My mouth dropped open when my name was announced as the winner, and Kitchen, who had refereed the bout, raised my hand in victory.  A few years ago, Anna, who used to attend my church told me, "You're not a fighter because you've never had any fights."  Alan told me as he drove me home, "Hillari, you were a gym rat.  Now you're a fighter."  Willie had held pads for me to get me warmed up before the match.  "You didn't throw many jabs, but you kept moving," he grinned.  Several other people said I never let up on Andria, but I didn't feel I had been as aggressive as I should have been. It is so true that battle plans are forgotten once the bell rings.

But I got the win.  Alan joked that I should bring my trophy to church service.  After he pulled off after dropping me on corner up the street from my house, I said, "Praise God, praise Jesus, all day, forever!"  I was still in shock that I actually won. 

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