Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Candid Camera Moment

Alan, Michael (with glasses), and myself were at the gym door.  Alan was opening the door up.  Alan noticed a petite woman standing behind Michael.  "Are you here for boxing?" he asked her.  "Yes. Who is the coach?" the woman asked.  "I'm the coach," Alan answered.  She looked him up and down.  "Oh.  I was hoping for someone younger.  You don't look like you're in shape," she said, as Alan opened the door.

We all followed Alan inside the gym.  "Is there somebody else I could work with?" the woman asked.  Alan pointed to me.  "There's Hillari.  Hillari, would you want to go into the ring with her?" he said.  "Sure," I said, feeling a little uncomfortable.  "That's fine," the woman said, looking disappointed.  Alan gave her a look.  "I'm not happy with your attitude right now," he said in a stern voice to her. "Well, no offense, but I expected a younger boxing coach," the woman said, clearing standing her ground.  Michael and I looked from her to him, wondering where the tension was going to end.  It became quiet in the gym for a few moments.

Then Alan grinned.  "This is my wife, Riva," he said.  He and his wife laughed, and so did Michael and I.  "You got us good!  That was a Candid Camera moment!" Michael said.  They really had Michael and I fooled.  I came over to introduce myself to his wife, who gave me a hug.  "I feel like I know you already because Alan always talks about you," she said.  Alan had told me that he and Riva first started dating when they were in high school.  Riva told me that she and her husband actually have known each other since they were twelve years old.  "We had a few break ups, then we got back together and stayed together," she smiled. 

Deep-voiced Michael and Jamil came in a little later.  Jamil recently had a birthday; he's now 22 years old.  Deep-voiced Michael has had a few fights at a martial arts center. 

I sparred with Michael for three rounds.  My mouthpiece was making me feel nauseous.  My stomach was acting funny, too, which didn't help.  I took it out, and I sparred without it.  I made very sure to keep my mouth closed.  Michael was throwing some good punches.  He got me in my chest and stomach a few times.  I kept thinking that I should learn to wear my chest protector.  Another time, he caught me with something, I slipped, and fell head over heels onto the canvas.  "Come on, hit hard!  Pretend like you're hitting me!" Alan to me said from the sidelines.

Josh surprised Alan and I by showing up earlier than he usually does.  He sparred about two rounds with Deep Voiced Michael.  Michael did not hit Josh like he could have; the point was for the both of them to just move around in the ring.  Michael wasn't even wearing headgear.

Jamil sparred with Professor, who was also in attendance.  Jamil stopped at one point, and I was afraid he was going to be sick.  He did say later that his stomach was acting funny. 

Before Jamil and Professor sparred, I went down the hall to fill up a couple of the water bottles.  Some young man who looked to be in his mid-teens, passed me, rapping to himself.  Maybe he was wearing an MP3 player, but I didn't see one.  I noticed that he went into the gym, then came out after a few moments.  He passed me as I stood at the water fountain on his way to the basketball gym, still rapping.  I had an uneasy feeling.  Rob was standing behind the service desk, watching the kid, too.  When the kid went on by, Rob said, "I thought group homes had a curfew."  "I used to work at one where the kids weren't allowed to go out alone at all," I said.  There is a youth group home in the neighborhood, and from what I've heard and read, there have been problems.  It appeared the kid didn't cause any problems during the brief time he was in the gym, because Alan didn't say anything about him when I returned with the water.

Michael with glasses gave me some Christmas presents for keeping the shoes he forgot the other week in my locker.  I got some granola bars (good stuff) and a Walgreens' gift card.  I told Michael he didn't have to buy me anything, but he insisted because he was grateful that I had found his shoes.  I was appreciative.

As we were leaving at the end of the night, I told Riva, "I figured that Alan tells you when he spars with the guys, but I didn't think he dared to tell you he was sparring with the women."  "He told Matthew and I how he was sparring with you.  I asked Alan, 'Are you crazy?'  He said that you all were just moving around in the ring but. . . .it's just that he's so much bigger than you, and he hits hard," she said.  "I know, and he's always claiming that he doesn't," I laughed.  "Yeah," Alan confirmed with a grin, "my wife screamed at me when she heard about the sparring."  Riva told me that their son, Matthew, got on Alan about that as well.

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