Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pad Work Night

Alan had to attend a job function, so he was not in the gym this evening.  In attendance were Jesus, Oscar, Kenny, Amy, Sarah, and Jacob.  There's a boxing show tomorrow at Eckhart Park; neither Jesus, Sarah or Amy wanted a match.  Kenny and Oscar plan to fight, but Jacob will let Alan know if he can later on. 

Taylor Park will hold the next Chicago Park District boxing show, but Loyola Park's, which follows Taylor's show, may have to be postponed.   Alan checked the calendar and noticed Loyola's show takes place during Rosh Hashanah.  That means neither he or Barry would be able to attend.  He let Mary know, but she said they'll discuss it later on. 

One looky-loo came by, a woman who had walked into the gym Monday.  She didn't ask any questions then, and tonight, she peeked in briefly.  Ramon, who used to train regularly in the youth program, came in with another guy who also was in the youth program, but briefly.  Ramon told me that he'd like to participate in the Loyola Boxing show, but he's been out of the gym for three months.  Barry told him he'd have to train for several weeks in order to be in the show.  I held pads for Ramon's friend, who nearly blacked my right eye when he missed a shot. 

Kenny and Jacob took turns holding pads for each other.  Then Kenny alternated between holding pads for myself and Sarah.  Kenny had me do jab-right-slip right-slip left-duck-straight right-left hook a few times.  I thought it was a good combination.  After we were done, I practiced that in the mirror. 

Overall, I felt I really got in a good workout.  Usually, I don't drink all of the water I carry in a bottle to the gym, but I did tonight.  I must have really been working.  But then I need to get back to drinking a lot of water anyway.  I've kind of fell down on the job over the past two to three years in regards to making sure I get my eight glasses in every day.  It was easier when I had a full-time job.  I kept a water bottle on my desk, so that was a constant reminder not only to drink it but to keep it full.  But since I was laid off, I've fallen out of the habit.  I brought another couple of diet planners, so that's an extra incentive to keep track of my water intake, as well as how much food I shovel in from day to day. 

I was talking with Rachel, who is Aaron's (the church's custodian) wife earlier today.  I told her about how I box.  "I couldn't do that (boxing).  I'd not want anyone to have to call 911 on account of me hurting them," she laughed.  When Alan often accuses me of not hitting someone hard enough, I now realize it's usually because I like the person whom I'm sparring.  I don't want to send them to the hospital.  I told Rachel it's easier for me to go extra hard in an actual match because I usually didn't know my opponent before we got into the ring.  But even in that case, I still don't want to seriously hurt someone, even though I want to win.  I don't think guys who box have that problem at all, even if their opponent is a buddy of theirs. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Five Times The Sparring

There was a small crowd in the gym on Monday night.  A guy came in with his five year old son; he just picked up the gloves and started hitting the bags.  I assumed Alan gave him the go-ahead because he didn't say anything to the guy when he saw him.  The guy ended up working the pads with Jesus later in the evening.  At the end of the night, the guy complimented me on my sparring. 

Renee and I sparred first.  She got me a a couple of good body shots, and I kept aiming at her head, since she's not much taller than I am.  Renee was done after the first round, because she was gassed out.

Alan and I did the next two rounds, and he had no headgear on.  He didn't really need it.  I kept laughing because he kept getting me with sneaky punches.  He was laughing, too.  However, I managed to avoid taking another kidney shot from him. 

Jimmy (wearing the orange shorts in the photo above) sparred with Nathaniel (in the red shorts).  Alan is seen watching the action.  Once again, another spectacular punch took place while my back was turned.  Jimmy punched Nathaniel in the nose; Nathaniel was bleeding.  Some of his blood was on the canvas, and I had to wash off one of the water bottles, because some of it had splashed on there, too.  He was okay, but he told me that his nose was hurting like hell.  "I'll be going to bed early tonight," he smiled.

Alan noticed that Jesus had not sparred.  "Do you want to spar?" he asked, and Jesus looked around the room to see with whom he could spar.  "Don't look around; it doesn't matter," Alan told him.  I agreed to get back into the ring with Jesus.  "Really hit him because he has to learn to hit back," Alan told me before the bell for the first round rang.  While I was in there, Alan told Jesus, "Hit her!  It's okay!"  Before the second round, Sarah suggested that I end my combinations with my left.  I took her advice, and it worked more times than not. 

I saw Ray this past Saturday.  He's a barber at Clippers and Shears, and I went to have my hair cut by him.  Ray would have gone to Harrison Park last week, but the man fell ill that evening and couldn't make it in.  Hopefully, he'll come in on Wednesday.  Eckhart Park is having their boxing show this Thursday, and maybe Ray could get a fight there. By the way, he cuts hair very well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

West Side Rumble

I packed my boxing gear to take to Harrison Park Thursday evening, but I knew there wouldn't be a match for me.  Alan, Kenny, Colonel, Ursula, Renee, and Uvee (a friend of Ursula and Renee) were standing in the back of the gym at that field house before the matches took place.  Alan pointed out a female fighter who was dressed and ready nearby.  "There you go," he told me.  "She looks like she's no more than fourteen years old!" I exclaimed.  "But she's your height," Alan grinned.

That boxing show was also the second one I attended where the singer who did the National Anthem mangled it.  They knew all the words.  The problem was staying on key.  I felt bad for them when I heard the widespread snickering in the crowd, especially when she tried to hit the high notes.  "That was no comparison to you, Hillari," Alan said, referring to the times I sang the song before Loyola's boxing shows.

The best bout of the night was between two young women.  Alan and Kenny pointed the taller woman out to me as she warmed up before the fight.  "Check out how she throws punches," they told me.  She was working those pads like a job.  I was impressed.  When the bell rang to open the first round, she dashed on her opponent with a fierceness.  There were body blows galore.  But in the second round, her opponent -- who was shorter and appeared to be heavier -- got revenge.  The shorter woman popped the taller woman in the face with a right.  The referee gave the taller woman an eight count.  They resumed their pummeling of each other, but the shorter woman bopped her opponent in the face with jabs six or seven times in a row.  The crowd was hyped up, cheering and clapping their approval.  The taller woman ended up receiving another eight count.  The women continued their war until the bell ended the last round, and the shorter woman won.  I believe she was fighting for Hamlin Park.

Kenny almost got a fight, but the matchmakers decided the guy was too young for Kenny to get in the ring with.  That guy ended up winning his match against an opponent who did not follow the "be first" rule and allowed the guy to get the drop on him.  Oscar did not show up in time, so he missed out on getting a fight when the weigh-in period ended.  

Kenny, Colonel, and Alan left early, but the rest of us stayed to the end.  Then we went to eat at Kopi Cafe, a place that I've passed by for years, but had never been inside.  It was a cool place, and the Mexican hot chocolate I had was delicious. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sister Sparring

I was on my way to the gym, when I saw two of my neighbors, Eric and Michael.  They walked down to the field house with me, but Michael didn't want to go inside.  Eric was curious about the gym, so he came in.  "So this is your spot," he said.  I introduced him to Alan, who gave him some curious looks.  Later, the coach asked, "Is that guy a little wacky?"  "Yeah, but in a good way," I answered.  I told him that Eric is a bodybuilder who is always giving me free passes to XSport Gym, where he trains.  "He looks like he lifts weights," Alan commented.  Eric walked into the field house with no shoes on, and his shirt off.

Amy sparred for the first time Wednesday night with her sister Sarah.  I got some of the action on video, but unfortunately, the battery in my camera went out.  I cursed to myself when I couldn't find any batteries in my gym bag, but here is what I got:

Amy told me that her arms got very tired after awhile, and that she turned away from her sister perhaps a little too much.  I told her that she'd get used to holding her arms up after awhile.

I sparred with Sarah afterwards, and we had several good exchanges.  I mainly kept going for the body (despite Alan constantly telling me to go for her head and use my hooks), and Sarah mostly aimed for my head.  I pinned her arms to slow down the onslaught of punches; Alan called "Break!" several times during the three rounds we did.  The both of us were worn down at the end of the sparring session.  As Sarah and I stepped out of the ring, Professor -- who was going in the ring with Jacob -- commented, "I think a fight broke out!" 

Sarah and I were worn out.  She was sitting in a corner, and I was sitting in front of the lockers for a few rounds in order to regain strength.  Alan told Sarah that he doesn't give instructions to her while she's sparring because he knows she can't hear it through the headgear and other noise in the room.  Sarah is hearing-impaired, and she wears hearing aids.  "I was wondering if you were giving Hillari instructions," she said to him.  "All the time, but Hillari listens to me sometimes, and sometimes she doesn't," he said, which is true.  Alan told Sarah that she has a good height advantage over me. 

Ray took on Oscar first in sparring, then Jesus.  Oscar was floating jabs towards Ray that connected a majority of the time.  But Jesus acted as if he was nervous about hitting Ray.  Ray did not return punches, but encouraged Jesus to practice punches on him.  "Hit me hard.  I can take it!" he told Jesus. 

There was an injury that I didn't see first hand.  Professor took a hard hit to his mid-section from Jacob during the time they sparred.  By the time I turned around -- I was on one of the heavy bags -- Professor was down on one knee, trying to catch his breath.  "You can shake that off," Ray said.  "Beautiful punch.  It was perfect," Alan pointed out.  Professor was okay after a few moments. 

Jacob could have had a fight at Harrison Park tomorrow, but unfortunately, he has to work late.  Alan had one lined up for him.  As of right now, Kenny and Ray plan to fight at that boxing tournament if they can get matches.  Alan told me to bring my gear, but there's a big possibility that I won't get a fight.  I don't remember there being any female fighters at Harrison, but some may show up from other field houses. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Oof! Ohh!"

As usual when we're in the break time between sessions, the crowds thin out a little.  Professor came in briefly, sparred with Kenny, then left.  Colonel was in for a minute, too, then he departed.  Amy and Renee were there, but neither wanted to spar.  Amy had planned to spar with her sister Sarah, but her sister didn't come in, so Amy said she'd wait until Wednesday.  Nathaniel and Jesus both sparred with Kenny, who gave them tips on how to improve their game. 

Alan and I sparred, which we hadn't done in a long time.  I was proud of myself for catching several of his underhanded jabs before they connected.  I also cracked him with a few hooks, an uppercut, and some rights.  He got me with something, and I slipped, fell, and rolled backwards.  He had to help me up off of the canvas.  Then Alan figured out that he could catch me with body shots, and he used them often.  I covered up against one shot coming in, but did not anticipate there would be a kidney shot behind it.  "Oof!" I went, as I covered up too late and backed up.  I came to a stop near the ropes and went "Ohh!" 

I haven't taken very many body shots over the years.  I remember Carlos gave me one that darn near stopped me a couple of years ago.  Amanda got in some when we sparred several weeks ago.  My head usually takes the brunt of the punishment.  I think I'd rather go with the head shots, because I can (mostly) shake those off.  Body shots aren't easy to work past.  "Are you okay?" Alan said, after he rushed over to hug me as I leaned on the ropes.  "I'm okay", I said, but it was a few seconds before the action continued.  I managed to finish out that round, which was my third.

After several minutes, Alan asked me again if I was okay, which he always does.  "I'll really feel it two days from now, and wonder why I'm in pain.  Then I'll remember: 'Alan hit me!'" I laughed. 

Alan mentioned that he had his ribs broken during a match, but he continued on.  I believe that was the fight that Alan took on when he was in his late 40s; at the time, he hadn't been in a boxing match since he was in his mid twenties. He had gotten the fight based on a casual conversation he had with Johnny B., who's a local fight promoter.  "What in the world made you take on that fight at that time?" Kenny asked.  Alan shook his head and said he figured he was up for it.

Kenny talked about fighting guys in their 50s who were still trying to be slick in the ring.  "Once people get that old, they have to realize they can't do that slick stuff they were doing 30 years ago," he pointed out.  Don't I know it, I thought to myself.  When I first started to box, I could move around the ring a lot better and faster than I do now.  I remember sparring for four and five rounds at a time.  But that was ten years ago. 

I remembered that Monday would have been my younger brother's birthday.  He passed away from heart failure at age twenty-two. He was not a big sports fan, even though our late dad tried to get him interested (mostly in baseball and football).  Baby brother may have thought I was a nut for fighting, but he might have cheered me on anyway, telling people, "She used to beat me up when we were kids."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Me vs. My Health

The ring is fixed.  The ropes are back up, and everybody hopes they stay that way for awhile.  When I got to the field house Wednesday evening, Colonel asked me to help ask a staff person to get some soap and water so he could clean the ring canvas.  Cynthia and Mary found some cleaner, and Colonel mopped the canvas.  It really needed it.  Alan went over it with paper towels to make sure it dried up.

I was feeling up with energy, but that disappeared halfway into another sparring session with Sarah.  My hands stayed up so my head didn't take much damage.  But I was huffing and puffing like a big dog.  We stopped after two rounds.  "I've seen you tired before, Hillari, but never like that.  Why?" Alan asked afterwards.  "It's a combination of things," I told him.

The day before, I had to get a checkup in order for the doctor to refill my prescriptions.   My meds ran out a couple of weeks ago, but the clinic couldn't give me an appointment sooner.  The scale read 197 pounds.  That can't be right, I thought to myself.  I had left my shoes on, and I was wearing a hat when I stepped on the scale.  I assumed those added the extra weight.  The doctor looked at my chart, and he told me that I need to lose weight (which by now is a broken record phrase; I hear it each time I see a doctor).  "The blood pressure is a little too high, too," he announced.  My left foot is swollen,  a condition which has happened on and off for years.  The doctors I've seen over the years have always been concerned about it, but they've haven't recommended much as to how to stop it.  I have noticed that the high blood pressure meds help keep the swelling down.  My late sister used to tell me that she thought the swelling had something to do with my heart.  Now my right foot swells up from time to time, too, but never like the left foot, which looks like a brick right now. 

As the doctor went on with his light admonishment, I felt a little like Dad used to feel when doctors told him to pay attention to his health.  My late father would get on the outside of the doctor's office and grumble about how the doctor didn't know anything.  I couldn't really grumble.  The weight gain is no doubt the effect of me not cooking 95% of the time and eating out.  I also didn't exactly take the doctor's suggestion from my last visit to add more days of exercise, other than the couple of days I go to Loyola Park.  Oh, I've made attempts this year, but I've also made excuses:  it's too hot, I'm tired, I'm busy doing something else, etc.

Ray and his friend Colette couldn't believe what the doctor said about my weight gain.  Neither could Alan.  "I don't see it," Ray said.  I explained how my poor cooking skills probably contributed to the pounds creeping up on me.  "I could see if he said a few pounds," Ray continued, "but fourteen in such a short period of time?" "It's also probably hormonal stuff due to menopause," I said, remembering an article I read about menopause weight gain not long ago.  "But, still, you move around in here every week," Alan said.

"Eh, I'm fighting age, too," I said.  Ray looked at both Alan and I.  "Don't start that 'age' shit.  Come on, now," he said.  "You're right.  I need to stop bringing that up," I agreed with him.  I'm still well enough to come down to the gym and bang on people and get banged on, so I can't be too far gone.  "You and Alan last longer than some younger people I know.  I've seen 17 and 18 year old guys give up after just 30 seconds in the ring," Ray said.  While Alan was sparring with Jacob earlier, I overheard Ray praising Alan to Marcus about the older man's skills in the ring.

Alan backed Jacob into a corner, and threw a flurry of punches.  Jacob's head gear flew off his head and out of the ring, but Jacob kept answering Alan's punches.  Sarah and I were suited up, waiting for our turn to spar, and our mouths flew wide open.  Ray put Jacob's head gear back on.  "Hell, yeah!  That's what I'm talking about!  The gear came off, but that didn't stop him from fighting!  That's right!" Ray exclaimed.  "My goodness!" I said in amazement, then I started laughing.  I was still laughing just before the bell rang to start the first round between Sarah and I.  

Amy plans to spar on Monday.  She was waiting for the ring to be fixed because she didn't want to spar without the ropes being back up.  I don't blame her.  It was hard going trying to spar and watch out for the downed ropes at the same time.  "All she needs is a mouthpiece, and she'll have that by next week," her sister Sarah smiled.

The clip above is a very short portion of a round between Marcus and Oscar (Oscar is the shorter guy).  Unfortunately, the card on my camera ran out of room, so I didn't get it all.  Marcus did two rounds with Oscar.  He was getting hit a lot because his hands were down.  Also, Oscar had a lot of energy that evening, as he danced around and away from most of Marcus' punches.  But I have to give Marcus a 'A' for effort because he soldiered on during the rounds.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

The MMA Fighters

Kenny and his dad, Colonel, brought in two Jiu-Jitsu/Muay Thai fighters they know, guys named Nino and Frankie.  Kenny explained that while both are good MMA fighters, they needed work on their punches.

Both Nino and Frankie worked with Kenny inside the ring..  The clip above shows a round between Kenny and Frankie.  Later, Nino and Frankie worked together on their MMA moves, and they were good.  Some of those kicks were really exciting to see. 

I asked Kenny about throwing uppercuts; I seldom have success in getting any off.  He told me that I have to be very close on the inside in order to throw them on someone who is taller than I.  Also, he pointed out that throwing overhands rights at someone who's taller than I is not that effective.  Usually, I'm able to pop their shoulder, and that's it (although, I remember landing good ones on Eric and Alan).  Those work better if I'm roughly the same height as my opponent.  Problem is, I don't often spar with people who are as short as I.

Speaking of which, I was sparring with Sarah again, and I was gassed out before the first round ended.  Alan kept telling me to keep my hands up and to "go from the body to the head".  I just couldn't do it.  Sarah's punches kept bouncing off of my head like a series of Wham-O Super Balls.  She popped me in my mid-section a couple of times, too, and I was not prepared either time.  Wishing for the bell to ring in order for the round to end is self-defeating self-talk, but I was relieved each time it did.  The last round ended fast because Sarah briefly lost one of her contacts.

"You were really tired today," Alan grinned afterwards.  Over the past several days, there have been many times where I've struggled to keep my eyes open.  I have not been sleeping well at all.  If I get three hours of sleep a day, I'm doing good.

Alan said that we're going to Harrison Park's boxing show on the 25th of this month.  I haven't been up there in awhile.  It's a fairly new field house with a beautiful swimming pool inside.  Hopefully, they'll be enough fights for everyone to take part in. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One Of Those Days

Earlier at work on Wednesday morning, I eased myself into a chair in Pastor Roger's office.  "Have you ever had one of those days when you feel. . .", I began.  "Old?" he said.  "Like you feel every bit of what age you are?" I asked.  Pastor went on to talk about a friend of his who went to the doctor with complaints.  The friend said that ever since he turned 40 years of age, he'd been feeling aches, pains, and other woes.  The doctor pointed out that the friend was forty years old.  "See Aaron, this is what you have to look forward to," Pastor laughed.  Aaron is 23 years old, he was also in Pastor's office, and he was chuckling.  "Yep, and each time you go to the doctor after that age, it appears they find something else wrong," I said.

Sarah and I sparred later in the evening, and I was just not on point.  I kept standing in one spot and taking her punches, I wasn't returning as many as I should, and I kept letting my hands drop.  I truly felt like an old woman.  When I saw Jimmy in the park yesterday -- he was working at his dad's hot dog stand -- he commented, "I saw you in the ring with that tall girl before.  I don't know how you manage."  Right before stepping inside the ring, I practiced a combination of ducking, stepping in and throwing a right to the body, followed by a left hook to the body.  Only twice did I manage to get that in during sparring.  "If you can't dance away from her, then walk around, but don't be a punching bag.  And move your head," Alan told me.

Above is a clip of Jimmy and Jacob sparring, the clip I intended to post on here a couple of days ago.

Josh came in, which was a surprise, since he hadn't been there in a few months.  He worked with Kenny on the punch mitts.  He and Kenny are featured in the clip below which is just a general look at what goes on in the gym once the bell rings to start a round. 

Jimmy was the only one who was matched up to someone for the boxing show at a field house on the west side.  Unfortunately, he didn't come in the gym; I hope Alan has his phone number.  None of the other guys got anything, and Alan told me that the coach over there "has no girls" with whom I could match up.  So we just try again for the next boxing show, as usual. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Available To Fight

It was raining as I walked to the gym Monday night.  Carolyn was no where to be found when I got there, so everyone had to wait until Alan came in before we could get into the gym. 

Sparring was done between Jacob and Jimmy, Oscar and Jesus, and Sarah and myself.  I did get footage of Jacob and Jimmy, but I left my camera at the gym.  I'll post that up later this Wednesday.  Sparring continues to be a dicey dance because half of the ropes are still down on the ring.  I did do a better job of catching some of Sarah's punches before they reached my face this time. 

There's a boxing show at Sheridan Park this Friday; Alan asked some of us did we want to fight there.  "If someone is available, sure I'll fight," I told him.  That's the key word where I'm concerned -- available.  The guys are usually able to get fights, and some of the women who are younger than I are able to get bouts.  I have some factors that are not in my favor: being female (there doesn't seem to be a lot of women fighting via the Chicago Park District gyms), being short, and being older.  This may be my last year as a competitor, so I'm going for whatever opportunities there may be for me to step into the ring.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Funky Gym

Alan had to go out of town on business, so he wasn't in the gym Wednesday night.  As soon as Jilberto opened up the gym door for myself, Oscar and Jesus, the mix of blood, sweat, and hot air rushed into my nose.  Phew!  I've been noticing the "funk" in the gym too often these days.  I didn't even bother turning on the second fan or fussing with opening the ancient windows.  The second fan, which is built into a window in the back of the gym, does nothing to blow air out, and no breezes ever seem to come in through the windows.

Kenny worked with several on the punch mitts, including Jacob (shown on the right in the photo above).  Kenny really gives some great pointers on how to throw punches and when. 

Before I had gone to the gym, I hoped there wouldn't be any incidents, major or minor.  Unfortunately, too many times when the coach is absent, something negative jumps off.  Fortunately, it was an easy, quiet night.  Leon came in briefly, talked to Colonel for awhile, then left, probably because no sparring was going to happen.  I spotted one of the many teenage boys that haunt the basketball courts peering into the gym, but he didn't come in for a closer look. 

The old boxing poster above features a picture of John Collins, a former professional boxer who is now a coach.  His niece, Erin, used to attend the gym, and she once had a fight at the Sabre Room, out in Hickory Hills.  I started thinking about all the people who have attended the gym since I've been going there,  I wonder what happened to most of them.  Lan has crossed my mind lately.  Outside of myself, she was the only other woman who was very consistent about coming to the gym.  Most of the other women who have come through last a session on average, then they're gone.  She was in the military, and that was why she stopped coming to the gym -- she was eventually stationed at a base outside of the state.  Jilberto would often ask me if I knew if she had been deployed overseas.  Steve, the former coach, tried to keep in contact, but the last email address he had for her bounced back. 

I pulled some pages out of my locker that I had copied out of The Gleason's Gym Total Boxing Workout for Women a few years ago.  The pages were of different combinations, so I decided to practice those.  I really like the jab-jab-left uppercut-right combo, so I worked on that for a few rounds.  I was awkward doing the jab-step-left hook-right cross combo.  I kept goofing up on the step part.  I did combinations on the bags too in an effort to check myself from just throwing one punch then stepping back all the time.

Alan told me on Monday that I catch too many jabs with my face, as opposed to blocking them with my hand.  It's true.  I do know how to tap incoming jabs down, but for some reason I don't do it.  I practiced a little blocking while shadow boxing in Rogers Park Baptist Church's gym yesterday. It was as hot in the church's gym as it gets in Loyola Park boxing gym, but I had to get a workout in.  Pastor came in and imitated some of the moves I was doing.  It looked as if he was attempting to dance (which he can't do, poor thing) instead of shadow boxing.  Aaron, the custodian, peeked in, saw me and smiled.  "I gotta play some Christian death metal music for you that I have on my iPod.  That could be used as workout music," he said.  I'd heard of death metal, but was surprised at the fact that there are Christian death metal bands.  He played some for me today.  I'm not into death metal, Christian or otherwise, but that could easily be blasted out of radio speakers at a gym, and it would work. 

Paulette told me that she saw the videos of me sparring.  "It looked like you kept backing up, when you could have been more aggressive," she said.  That's not the first time I've been told that.  I'm beginning to think that my backing up is a holdover from grade school when I was always having to back away (and not usually successfully) from some other kid's wild punches. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Monday Toughness

Not too many showed up at the gym Monday night.  Nathaniel asked, "Where's everybody?"  "The heat must be keeping them away," I answered.

Jesus and Oscar sparred, as did Professor and Nathaniel.  Alan once again spent most of the time making sure people weren't falling out of the boundaries of the ring and tripping over the ropes.  The video clip below shows part of the action between Professor and Nathaniel.

Sarah and I sparred, and I took a hit to my left eye.  Usually, she always gets me in my right eye, but it was the other eye's turn to spin around after reeling from the impact.  Luckily, I blocked several overhand rights that came down on my head.  I got a few shots in to her head.  I tried to do what Kenny had showed me the last week: throw a right uppercut, then dash off a left hook.  I wasn't effective.  Alan had to keep telling me to duck under her punches.  I was only successful at doing that a few times, which bothered me because I'm way shorter than Sarah.  It should have been easy to do. 

I went down to the washroom afterwards.  Sarah's sister Amy was jumping rope out in the hallway.  "How did it go?" she asked.  "Your sister is tough," I said, still trying to get my wind back.