Monday, February 28, 2011

Preparing For Thursday and Friday

Frank came in and asked, "Where is everybody?" Danny 2 (Kenny's friend) was stuck at work, and Professor wasn't there, either.  Oscar, Kenny, Colonel, and Danny 1 were there.  Sparring took place, but Alan didn't want the guys to do too much of it.  It's too close to the Gloves, and it wouldn't do for anyone to get hurt before their matches.  Earlier at work, I printed out a copy of the Gloves' schedule for Alan, and I brought that in. Kenny and Danny will have matches on Thursday, and Oscar is scheduled to fight this Friday.

My left knee keeps frustrating me.  One day it feels fine, then the next day, I'm back to limping again.  On other days both the left and right knee want to fight with me.  I can run down the steps of the 'L station, then a few hours later, have a hard time climbing up the steps to my apartment.  I was practically tip toeing to work this morning because of all of the ice on the ground.  "I won't have to worry about diabetes killing me off," I grumbled to myself.  "It'll probably be due to a slip on the ice, which I'll think is nothing, but it'll never heal, and then I'll die." I worry that when I do resume sparring sometime in March, the left knee will not support me like it once did.  Like Kenny told me some time ago, when an injury happens to a joint like that, most times it is never the same like it was. 

I keep assuming things about Pastor Roger that aren't true.  "Why do you think I disapprove of you boxing?  I never said that," he said recently.  "Well, you've said some things that make it appear that you don't think women should participate in certain things," I said.  We were talking about the girl in Iowa who won a wrestling championship.  Pastor understood that some boys might have been reluctant to wrestle her because they did not want to touch her inappropriately.  "I don't have a problem with you boxing because you're a woman.  I have a problem with the fact that you're boxing and you're not twenty years old anymore," he grinned.  I had to laugh.  "That's a nice way to put it," I said. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Sunday At The Gym

Alan opened up the gym this afternoon particularly for the guys who will be competing in the Golden Gloves this week.  Kenny, Oscar, and Reggie, who are all signed up to compete, were there; Jacob and I came in just for the workout.  All of the guys, including Alan, sparred with each other.  My left knee continues to keep me on the sidelines. 

A few kids came strolling in asking where Barry was.  "He's not here on Sunday," I told them, and I repeated the answer -- a bit more sternly -- when they asked the question again.  I had been at church earlier today where one kid felt the need to go running around the pews during service, and most of the rest were unnecessarily loud during the fellowship hour.  The last thing I wanted to deal with was more kids acting out.  One of the kids claimed he had a fight coming up.  Alan told them they could hang around to watch, but they couldn't work out.  Disinterested, they left, but not before one little boy gave me a hard stare down.  "Whatever," I thought, "they need to go home and do some homework or something."

Reggie said that it would be announced on the Chicago Golden Gloves web site tomorrow who will have matches this week.  That's a welcome change from getting all the way down there on the first night, only to learn that some people will not have a match, and being unsure as to when they will fight. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Those In The Gloves

Fernando, a trainer, came in with one of his fighters, Reggie, to get some sparring in for his guy.  Reggie is strong with muscular arms.  He signed up to compete in the Golden Gloves.  Reggie sparred with Kenny.  In the photo below, Alan watches as they mix it up in the ring.

The other guys who signed up for the Gloves are Kenny, Oscar, Professor and Danny (Kenny's friend).  Alan is planning to open up the gym on Sunday afternoon so they all can get extra practice.  That used to happen when Steve was the coach, and it was close to the Gloves.  Alan has to clear it with Mary.  Below, Professor (in the blue headgear, leaning on the ropes) watches Kenny and Reggie spar.

So many looky-loos were hanging around in the gym today.  I got that "looky-loo" term from an ad for a home business opportunity I saw years ago.  It basically means a person who goes window shopping with no intention to buy.  There were four of them hanging around.  I had to tell one of them to stop hitting the heavy bags; he had no gloves or handwraps on, and on top of that, the form displayed wasn't so hot.  "You can break your hand, son," I said.  Another one was on the second heavy bag in the ring, and as soon as the bell rang to end the round, I walked up and stopped the bag from swinging.  When the bell rang again, I practiced on it, effectively keeping him off of it.  I overheard one of the looky-loos say, "Hey man, I bet she could kick our asses." 

Alan told me that Josh came in last Wednesday, but Jordan hasn't been in for awhile.  I had noticed that everytime Oscar was sparring with someone, Jordan was watching him with interest.  Then I'd hear Jordan ask Alan if he could spar.  I'm assuming that Jordan wanted to mix it up with Oscar.  I could have told him, based on the times I sparred with Oscar, is that Oscar is not an easy target.  In the next photo, Oscar spars with Kenny.

I was afraid to get on the scale in the gym.  I haven't been on the one at home in awhile, thinking that, due to not being able to work out much, I was going to be unpleasantly surprised.  Well, I was a little.  The needle hasn't moved up much, but it didn't move down much, either.

Alan asked if I was going to spar.  "Eh, my knee still needs more time to heal.  You know I'm such a delicate flower," I said jokingly.  "A rose among thorns," Alan grinned.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Renewing At Gordon Tech

I went up to Gordon Tech High School to renew my boxing coach's license.  After decades of the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament being held at St. Andrews Gym, it will now take place at the high school.  Allegedly, it is a bigger venue.  I only saw the library where the registration was held, so I have no idea how big their gym is. 

Danny, Kenny's friend, was there filling out his registration when I arrived.  Other familiar faces included Ted, Jack, and Rita.  Ted told the men sitting at the first registration table, "She's signing up as a boxer."  "No, not this time.  Renewing for the coach's license," I answered.  The process was painless and quick.  New this year -- coaches now get license books, just like the fighters.  "Just show them that book and you can get into the tournaments free.  If anyone says anything different, you tell them that the president of USA Boxing Illinois told you that you could," one of the older men at the table told me.  "Thanks.  Your name, sir?" I responded.  He extended his hand, and I shook it.  "I'm Louis Rios," he said.  He owns a well known and respected gym. 

I'm not sure which other boxers from Loyola Park may have signed up.  I'm assuming that if Alan didn't renew his coach's license today, he'll do it tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day at the Gym

Upon seeing all the guys in the gym when I walked in Monday night, I commented, "So I see I wasn't the only one who couldn't get a date."  Alan laughed and wished me a happy Valentine's Day.  Two of his high school buddies, Ira and Donny, were visiting the gym that night.  He introduced them to me.  When Frank came in, it was like old home week.  He had gone to the same high school as Alan and the other two men.

Sparring was done on a round robin basis.  Below, Alan and Ira watch as Kenny and Hector spar.  Later, Alan sparred with Danny (Kenny's friend).  I believe Oscar sparred with Jacob.  Professor sparred with Kenny. 

There was a lot of activity in the gym, as has been per usual over the last few weeks.  I wasn't feeling my workout for some reason, and I didn't work as hard as I usually do.  I was so happy to get down to the gym the one day of the week I've been able to go, but then I got lazy when I got there.  Below, Frank and the Colonel (Ken Sr.) talk, as Hector looks on.

I don't know what's up with Angela.  She started the second week of this current term, came in one other time, but hasn't been seen since.  If you're wondering why there have been no shots of women (other than myself) here lately, it's because I'm the only woman in the gym again.

A couple of looky loos -- one Black, the other Hispanic -- who had hung around the gym the week before came back to get another look.  I heard the Black kid say something to Alan about the fee being a little high for him.  I've said it before; the high fee keeps a lot of guys out who would otherwise be there. 

I had gone to fill the water bottles when suddenly, a group of kids appeared outside the door of the gym.  It looked as if one kid was being ganged up on and the confusion threatened to spill inside the gym.  I hurried back down the hall with the idea that I may have to break up a fight and/or throw somebody out of the gym.  Turned out the kids were playing around, and they quickly dispersed.  However, it didn't look good.  A preview of what we might have to put up when the weather is warm again, perhaps. 

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

It's Poppin' At Loyola Park

After leaving church for the day, I slipped and fell -- on my bad knee, of course -- about a block north from the building.  I was so disgusted that I cursed and just sat on a snow bank for a few moments.  A kindly male stranger who was passing by helped back up on my feet.  It snowed again for a little while this afternoon.  There are mounds of snow on street.  Below is one right outside the Loyola Park field house.

Looking around the gym on Monday night really made me wish -- again -- that I could be there on Wednesdays, too.  This winter session has been poppin' with activity and a near-packed gym. 

Michael, Kenny, Jacob and Oscar sparred.  Michael told me he was going to beg off sparring from here on in, as he doesn't want to get seriously hurt.  He thinks he's become too old for that activity.  "You're not that old," I told him.  "You're an anomaly, and Alan is nuts," Michael smiled.  Oscar had to reach up to get to Jacob's head, but managed to get a lot of good shots in. 

Kenny, Professor and Hayk gave pad work to others. Hayk worked with Danny as seen in the picture below (Hayk is on the right).  Kenny even gave pad work to Jordan, who kept bugging him for it earlier in the evening. 

I finally asked the Colonel what his real name was.  "It's Ken," he said.  "Oh," I said, looking over at Kenny, his son, "Ken Sr. and Ken Jr."  "People call me Colonel, Commander, Officer. . .I answer to it all.  Just as as long as they don't call me something that begins with mother and ends with er!" he said, and we both laughed.  I found out from him that Kenny reached 2nd place two times at the Golden Gloves.

While driving me home, Alan asked when I would begin sparring again.  "Probably in March.  I want to rest my knee up," I said.  "That's the smartest thing you've said," he said, grinning.  I playfully popped him on his shoulder.  "Well, you were in the gym the day after you were hit by that car, hardly able to walk.  That was crazy!" Alan continued.  

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snowed In

Professor sent me a message asking if I knew if the gym was open tonight.  A quick check of the Chicago Park District's web site showed that Loyola was one of the field houses that would not be open this evening.  It's too bad.  My paralegal class was canceled this evening, but I would have trudged through the snow to go to the gym.

I had a taste for eggs and bacon this morning.  Too bad I didn't have a taste for them yesterday afternoon while I was shopping at the Morse Fresh Market.  I fought the snow drifts this morning to make a trip to the corner store.  The snow showed me that my left knee is still very unstable.  "That's all I need to do is to re-injure it," I grumbled to myself.  As I approached the corner of my block on the way back, I saw a guy standing there, looking in disbelief.  "All this snow," he said, as I got closer.  "This is 1967", I commented, referring to the blizzard that literally shut Chicago down in January of that year.  "You remember that, too?" he said, and we both laughed. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

High Monday Activity

Kenny told me he noticed that I wasn't throwing my uppercuts correctly.  I had been leading with my head, plus, winding the punch back too far before executing it.  He showed me how to throw them shorter and with more leverage using my shoulders.  I appreciated that, and I practiced them most of the evening. 

Alan kept telling me to "turn your back leg!" when I threw my right.  Both knees are jacked up: the left from the car accident a few weeks ago, and the right because it had to take on extra work duty because the left is messed up.  It was hard to get my right knee to cooperate, but it did, eventually. 

A lot of guys were in the gym Monday night: Hector, Kenny, Willie, Oscar, Michael (with glasses), Professor, Danny, Frank, Hayk, Vil.  Jordan was there, too.  His name was on the attendance sheet, so I guess he's paid up.  No Angela that night -- she's the only other woman signed up for the gym this session.  Josh, Jamil and Leon didn't come in, either, nor did Sadiq, whom I saw driving a cab while I was on my way to church on Sunday.  Kenny told me that Chloe had come by last Wednesday and asked about me.  I'm sorry I missed her.

The Colonel was there, which was a surprise.  Hadn't seen him in a few years.  I learned that he's Kenny's dad.  The Colonel -- so nicknamed because he's a Vietnam veteran -- is pretty amazing.  "This is my second workout of the day.  I did Jiu Jitsu this morning," he told me.  In the past, the Colonel had done triathalons.  For 30 years, he taught fitness classes at the McCormick Boys' Center.  He's 64 years old and looked to be in great shape.  He plans to come by the boxing gym more often.

A lot of activity was going on: Frank sparred with Michael, and that was their second time (they had sparred last Wednesday); Oscar sparred with Kenny; Willie was holding pads for people; and Professor had some of the guys doing push ups.  The way Jordan was hitting the speed bag, I thought for a moment that he might break it.  Hector was surprised at how busy the place was.  "It usually gets like this before the Golden Gloves," I said.