Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sparring With the Professor

After he sparred with Jamil, Professor and I went for three rounds.  I used up a lot of energy throwing punches that did not connect.  Professor was very agile, and he turned away from most of them.  At least my jab was better, according to Alan.  Professor was dancing around a lot, and I tried to stay on my toes to match his movements.  It was to no avail.  "My old behind is not going to get anywhere chasing this young man around the ring," I thought to myself. I was plodding after awhile, and running our of stamina. 

When the 30-second bell rings, Alan always points it out to the fighters.  Then he says stuff like, "You're almost home, you've only got a few seconds," when actually, it's more time left than the boxer knows.  "You always say that," I told Alan while trying to keep my eye on Professor.  "It's a lie," he grinned.  "I know," I grinned back. 

After taking the usual break to cool down the hot flashes, Alan told me, "Give me four rounds on the bags."  I ended up doing five, and the last one was a burn-out.  There are so many things to remember, and I was trying to keep up with them all -- footwork, hand positioning, proper form, correct throwing of punches, etc. -- while doing that.  It was a good workout.

I was somewhat impressed that I was able to move as much as I was.  Earlier in the day, I fell down some stairs again in church.  Missed the last step and went flying.  I got up quickly, but I had bumped both knees and landed in an awkward position.  My left leg was turned in a funny way.  I thought about the fall Alan took, and asked him if his leg was better.  "It still hurts," he said.  "Have you gone to the doctor yet?" I asked.  "No, but I'll go," he answered.  "Why is it that men will not go to the doctor?" I wondered.  "Because we think we can heal ourselves," Alan said. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sparring With Kevin

As the march towards the holidays continue, the attendance in the gym goes down.  Only Kevin, Danny and I were in the gym in addition to Alan. 

Kevin and I sparred.  He has to be at least six foot one.  He kept me off of him with his long arms. Kevin also displayed a lot of fancy footwork.  He danced away, and I tired myself out chasing him around.  I got in some head shots, body shots, and a near low-blow, but Kevin didn't have a hard time slipping most of the other punches I threw.  Afterward, Kevin and I did a burn out on one of the heavy bags. 

Right now, my back feels stiff.  I don't have the best bed at home; eventually, it'll have to be replaced.  Also I was reaching and missing a lot of shots against Kevin.  That wastes a lot of energy, and also, it can be a bit of a strain on one's muscles.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Slapped By The Coach

Eric, Kevin and myself were in the gym along with Alan on Wednesday night.  The crowd was bigger than Monday's, but not by much. 

Eric and I sparred, and I wimped out in during the beginning of the third round.  I hate when I do that.  Eric got me at the right angle in the solar plexus, and I couldn't go on.  I hadn't been feeling too well all day, but I was going to spar anyway.  But I got taken out.  "I'm sorry!  Are you ok?" Eric asked.  I was after a few minutes, but I was mad with myself for having punked out like that. 

Alan held one of the heavy bags for me to give me pointers about throwing my jabs and rights.  I don't always throw them out completely, especially the jab.  Then we were working on hooks.  I learned that I'm always too close when I throw them.  I should be back a little bit, as not to crowd myself.  Alan was yelling, "Come on!  Shit, if you throw punches hard like that, you'll knock the girls out that you have matches with!"  I had my right hand down at the wrong time, and SLAP!  "Alan!" I protested, as my face was stinging.  "I'm sorry.  But don't drop the hands when throwing the hooks!"  he said.  Only in the gym do guys get to hit me and get away with it. 

Elsewhere, it's been a tripped out week.  An arguement broke out between myself and a guy who attends my church on Monday, and it continued into Tuesday.  I've been hot about that for awhile, so much that my stomach was in knots.  That is never a good thing.  That means that I'm beyond angry.  I don't want to have to revert to my Hothead Hillari days back during my kid/teen/twenty-something years when I would break my foot off in others at the drop of a hat.  I'm old enough to know better to take other tactics to handle a problem, and I should.  But I entertain fantasies, believe that.

About the best news so far this week is that Pastor Roger and Virginia had their baby, a boy who weighs nine pounds.  I joked to Terri, another church member, about how Ma would pull out the maternity card on my late brother Ken when she got mad at him.  Ken was ten pounds when he was born.  There were many times when she'd grumble about the difficulty in pushing out his head when she thought he was being disrespectful towards her.  My brother did have a large rock head; I wish I had one of his old baby pictures to post on here. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Distance To The Bottom of the Stairs

What a day. . .a guy who's a member of my church made the grievious mistake of royally pissing me off today.  I don't want to give him much press, or rehash the details of the offense, but in short, he called me a lie.  When I was a kid, to call someone that was akin to calling them a bad curse word.  I called someone that when I was in second grade.  My teacher, Miss Clincy, took me to the janitor's work closet, got a bar of heavy duty soap, and washed my mouth out.  I never forgot it.  I responded to the guy by informing him that I do believe in pushing back, and I dropped him from my list of friends on Facebook. 

Afterwards, I remembered hearing a story of an aunt of mine who pitched her husband head first down a flight of stairs for saying something out of turn to her.  Then I pictured the stairs at church, wondering about the distance to the bottom.  Luckily, I was able to go to the boxing gym and take out my frustrations there.

Outside of Alan, J and I were the only two who showed up to the gym.  J was willing to spar, so we went for three rounds.  "Don't hit me in my head," she half-joked, and I tried not to do so.  I directed the punches mostly at her sides and stomach. 

Poor Alan was limping because he had taken a fall the day before.  His ankle was swollen, and his right leg was hurting.  "Did you go to the doctor?" I asked, assuming that he didn't because he's a man.  Men are notorious for not seeing doctors when they should.  Alan confirmed that no, he hadn't had a doctor look at it, but if it gets worse, he would. 

I did see the Margarito-Pacquiao match.  Before the fight, I saw a news report that showed Margarito mocking the fact that Pacquiao's trainer -- Freddie Roach -- has Parkinson's.  It was so wrong.  I was glad that Pacquiao beat Margarito on that alone.  He was nicer to Margarito during the last two rounds than I would have been.  It was obvious Pac-Man was pulling punches to allow his opponent to finish out the fight.  He could have easily finished him. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Boxing In A Soccer Venue

I didn't have a fight last night at Chi-Town Futbol.  Yale couldn't catch up with Andrea, whom I fought back in September.  On top of that, my blood sugar was low.  A piece of "wine" candy (a watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher) helped, but I hadn't been training for a fight for yesterday.  I told Yale not to worry about, and I went to the match to observe.

I had never heard of or been inside Chi-Town Futbol before last night.  It's near Cermak and Throop, in an industrial area.  It's main business is indoor soccer, and it boasts two fields for teams to play the game.  The boxing match was in the back of the building.  It was a cool place.  I'll have to come back down there sometime to take in a soccer game.

Most of the boxing matches were good.  I love watching the little boys fight.  They don't have a lot of fear, and they don't seem very concerned about getting hurt.  There were some scrappy little boys mixing it up last night.  Once the small boys were done, it was time for the teens and twenty-somethings to battle.  Scottsdale Park was well respresented, as was CYBA.  Bill had one guy in it from Hamlin, and Antonio had a couple of guys from Chicago Fight Club participating. 

I was surprised to learn that the person behind the promotion organization that put on the show along with Yale, was a woman.  I've seen female boxing managers, referees, announcers, coaches and fighters, of course, but that was the first time I knew of a woman who was a boxing promoter.  Good for her!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Three Rounds

Hayk came in, but had to run back out to pick up his brother.  For about a half-hour after that, I was the only one in the gym, surveying the damage. 

A water pipe had burst earlier.  The field house staff did their best to stop the flow, but plumbers will have to come in and do a more permanent solution.  Barry had a lot of vintage boxing memorabilia, mostly posters, over in the area by the coach's desk.  Only a few posters could be saved; the rest were damaged and had to be thrown away.  The coach's desk, a file cabinet, and the lockers had been pulled away from the wall.  Luckily, there was no water seepage into my locker.

Jamil came in about a few minutes before Alan, who had called Mary earlier to say he would be late.  Jamil and I sparred for three rounds, and it was tough.  Jamil is a southpaw, and Alan kept telling me to throw rights instead of constantly leading with my left jab all the time.  I was usually able to catch Jamil in corners, where I would try to follow Alan's instructions to "work the sides, then go up to the head, and throw some uppercuts". 

The usual hot flashes showed up after the sparring was over.  Alan laughed because I had picked up the box fan and put it right next to my face.  "From now on, you have to do three rounds or more during sparring," he said.  "Okay," I gasped, still trying to catch my breath.  There was a time when I regularly did three or more rounds, but somewhere over the years, I slowed down.  I'm gonna have to pick up that pace again.  I won't be fighting this Saturday at the boxing show that Yale has going, but most likely, I'll be fighting at Brooks Park next month.

Danny came in even later. When 9:00 rolled around, Alan announced that it was time to go.  However, Danny was in the back of the ring, using a medicine ball.  "Come on, Danny, we gotta go!  Why do you come in so late?" Alan said.  "I only live two blocks away," Danny grinned. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Poor Man's Sport

Jay, a friend of Alan's, stopped by the gym Monday night.  Ed B. and Hatk were walking around the ring during the rest period in-between rounds of sparring.  "Boxing is a poor man's sport," Jay commented, and Ed B. and I agreed.

I remember Steve saying something similar back in the day.  Certain sports, like tennis, horse racing, and professional ice skating, with a few exceptions, tend to be populated by the upper middle class and rich.  Some sports require a big layout of money in order to participate.  Not so boxing.  Show up with wearing a T-shirt and sweatpants or shorts, a decent pair of gym shoes and a pair of hand wraps, and you're good to go. 

Jay also said that Chicago is a "cemetary" for those who wish to turn professional.  There seems to be a long-standing agreement that there's not much boxing talent nor opportunities in the Midwest, period.  "Guys may get 10, 15 fights maybe," Jay said, "but then they run into a boxer from elsewhere and get stopped."  I read the boxers' standings in The Ring magazine, and there are very few pro boxers out of this area.  I don't know what that's about, but there are good fighters around.  Breaks may be hard to come by, but all hope is not out of the window. 

Alan asked Kevin if he wanted to fight at Seward next week, but Kevin grinned sheepishly and said "no".  "You want a fight at Brooks?  With the same girl you fought at our show?" Alan asked me.  "Yeah, I'd like to get another trophy on my birthday," I grinned. 

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Good Exchanges

Eric came in and announced that he's a dad again.  The next day after the last time he was in the gym, his wife gave birth to a boy.  Fortunately, labor did not have to be induced.  That was great news.

Hayk (I misrepresented his name as Ike previously, and I hope I'm spelling it right now) came in, as did Danny and Jamil.  Hayk and Jamil sparred; Hayk gave Jamil a lot of good pointers while they were in the ring.  Eric also sparred with Hayk.  Alan kept pointing out to them at various times, "Good exchange."

A good exchange is when the boxers trade a series of good, well-executed punches.  I ended up sparring with Eric, with whom I had never sparred before.  I learned quickly that he hits rather hard, especially when a jab landed square on my nose.  I felt that I was better at deflecting and patting down his punches than I usually am with someone who has longer arms than I.  Eric backed up, then came in, and I threw a bolo punch (overhand right).  It connected.  Alan said, "That was the best I've ever seen you throw that punch."  After the bell rang, Eric said, "It landed a little behind my neck, but it was thrown well.  You got me."

Around 8:45 PM, Josh came bouncing into the gym.  He told Alan that he tried to sign up online, but received a message that registration was unavailable.  It's a little too early for him to sign up for the winter session, anyway.  However, it would be a good idea to pay for the rest of the Fall session.  Neither Josh or Alan needs to incur Mary's wrath. 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Feeling Out of Sorts

Alan was parking his car just as I walked up to the field house last night.  We were the first ones in the gym.  Jamil came in, and so did Leon.  Leon was sporting a beard, and he was talking about sparring and getting fights.

My main gym bag has been light these days.  I try not to carry a whole lot of stuff in it anymore. Have to save wear and tear on my shoulder.  It needs to be aired out more than I usually remember to do that.  Inside is my headgear, mouthpiece, bag gloves, a couple of pairs of handwraps, first aid supplies, lotion, feminine sanitary products, lip balm.  The other gym bag I own has various items, including workout clothes, other handwraps and CDs.  That bag I used to take up to church to work out, that is, until someone stole the good boom box.  A new radio was brought, but I transitioned back to workout out at home when the old radio was stolen. 

Truth be told, I've gone back to only exercising while at the boxing gym.  The demands of paralegal classes have knocked out the other two days of the week that I would like to work out.  They have to be put back in, however.  I was fooled into thinking menopause would not be that much of a problem, based on my mother's easy experience with it.  But suddenly, I've been hit with bouts of irritability, and a bit of what feels like depression.  Extra exercise might help alleviate that; I didn't feel like this during the summer when I was exercising four days a week, I know that.