Thursday, October 27, 2011

Late For The Gym

A high school buddy of mine, Elizabeth, was in town.  I hadn't seen her since 1976. . .let me explain.  Elizabeth only attended the high school for the 1975-1976 school year.  Her mother made her transfer to another school after that year.  We had an art class together, but I always remembered her because she was quiet, she loved comedian George Carlin, and when she did speak, she had intelligent things to say.  I hung out yesterday evening with her and husband at Hugo's Frog Bar, where another former classmate, John, works as a musician.  It was a good, relaxing time.  "My husband was hoping that you would come by.  He was intrigued to hear that you're a boxer," Elizabeth smiled. 

I stayed a little longer than I intended because I was enjoying everyone's company so much.  When I arrived at the gym, Colonel said, "Girl, we thought a serial killer had gotten a hold of you!"  Alan was perched on top of his desk.  "I was about to call you to see where you were," he smiled.

A lot of activity was going on.  Nate Sr. (seen bending over in the photo above) was there with his son, Nate Jr. (the young man sitting down in the photo), along with another kid whom I have seen before, but couldn't remember his name.  The boys were sparring, probably because they have matches coming up.  That's usually the case when the fighters who are under 18 show up to the adult boxing class. 

I kept on practicing keeping my chin down, which is a move I should have mastered years before.  Colonel told me to drop my head, then lean it over to the right.  That way, I don't get a crick in my neck.  He also said I should aim my jabs a little higher, using my shoulder to protect the side of my face.  The object is to keep an opponent from easily coming over with their right to pop me. 

Seth (in the orange shirt) sparred with Ray (who's looking for gloves on the glove table).  I they did a couple of rounds.  Then Kevin got in with Ray.  Alan kept yelling at Kevin not to do the stay-by-the-ropes-and-cover-up thing that Kevin did when he sparred with Alan the other day.  Kevin still did that a few times, but he did stand up and box with Ray.

Sarah came in, but I begged off sparring again.  There is a crick in my neck, the result of continuing fallout from the fight with Meg a couple of weeks ago, plus sparring with Sarah right behind that fight.  This is one of those times when I feel like my body is really out of whack.  When I exercise at home with the DVDs, I find myself constantly making modifications to the moves I see.  My knees won't cooperate, I can't bounce around, I can't bend too far. . . .it's a trip.  The good thing is I am getting used to exercising five days a week.  I gained a pound from last week, but that's okay.  Eventually, the numbers will go back down. 

At the end of the night, Colonel said he forgot that Halloween is this upcoming Monday.  "I like to scare the kids around the neighborhood," he grinned, and told us how he tricks out his house to achieve that.  I don't celebrate Halloween because it wasn't celebrated much in my house when I was a kid.  Over the years, I've also had a problem with a "holiday" that celebrates darkness in this world.  In addition, too many adults use the day to really show out in many wrong ways.  Speaking of which, Alan grinned and said, "I like driving around on Halloween and looking at the women in their scanty costumes."  "I'm telling Riva," I said, referring to his wife.  "I tell her that I look," Alan replied, grinning even wider.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kevin The Scrapper

Got all the way downstairs with my boxing gear and realized that I forgot to pack my camera.  "Oh, well," I thought as I headed towards the front lobby door.  A woman comes in and we exchange hellos.  At first, I thought she was a tenant until I saw the mail cart outside.  "She's just now delivering the mail," I thought to myself as I shook my head. 

Alan had just opened up the gym when I arrived.  The room was stuffy, and it felt like middle of August instead of late October.  I was tempted to turn on the fan, but I let it go.  We'll appreciate the heat soon enough as the weeks roll on. 

Luckily, my little chin down helper was in my bag.  I brought it from Ringside years ago when I first took up boxing.   It is basically a roll of foam encased inside a covering with the boxing company's logo on it.  An elastic strap is attached so it can hang around the neck.  The purpose of it it to get a boxer in the habit of keeping their chin down while punching.  Since it's been pointed out by both Kenny and Colonel that I have my chin up too much, I decided to practice with it to break that habit. 

I begged off sparing again.  My neck is still a bit stiff and my right side below the rib cage is still acting funny, too.  My right knee felt as if someone had taken a small ball peen hammer and hit one side of it.  There's also a mysterious scrape on the lower left side of my back.  Don't ask me how it got there.  I woke up one morning, and there it was.  I'm always waking up and finding scrapes on myself.  It makes me wonder whom am I fighting in my sleep.  Makes me wonder if I'm winning those nocturnal fights, too.

Ray and Kenny sparred, and Ray ended up jamming his thumb on his left hand.  On Kenny's directions, Ray shot a jab at him, but it grazed off of Kenny's headgear instead.  Ray's thumb turned blue.  "I love him to death, but that's what I get for listening to him," Ray said. 

Jacob's thumb wasn't doing any better; he has to see a hand specialist in a few days.  He was able to shadow box and hit the bags, but sparring was out.  Jacob was not able to fight at Hamlin Park's boxing show last week because of it.  Kenny sat it out, too; he's battling a bad cold. 

Kenny also sparred with Reggie, who seemed to be worn out after their encounter.  They came out, then Alan stepped into the ring with Kevin, who showed up wearing a mouthpiece.  The sparring between them was largely a one-sided affair.  Kevin spent the majority of the time bent down low in the corners, against the ropes.  Alan used the opportunity to work on Kevin's ribs on his left side.  The rest of us kept telling Kevin to stop hugging the corners so much, but Kevin claimed to have a plan.

The younger man kept waiting for opportunities to either come roaring out with a series of punches or one big one.  However, Alan protected himself well from the occasional onslaughts of hits.  Kevin jumped out of the corner at one point and held Alan's head down with his left hand.  His right hand pounded Alan on his back.  Alan would say later that his kidneys were really going to feel that later on. Alan caught Kevin with a sharp right that nearly turned Kevin's head around.  In between the rounds, I gave Kevin water.  Kevin swirled it around then deposited it into a nearby spit bucket.  I noticed there was not only blood in the bucket, but around Kevin's mouth as well.  He wiped his mouth off with a nearby towel and kept going.  The two of them did three rounds in total.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night

The news media was going on and on about the waves crashing up against Chicago's shores, and how the bike paths along Lake Michigan had to be shut down.  Big deal.  It's not that hasn't happened before.  I wasn't feeling well when I woke up this morning, so I stayed home most of the day.  I could hear the winds whipping around and the rain falling.  Once again, no big whoop.  Typical Chicago weather.

I felt well enough to go to the gym Wednesday evening.  Jiliberto opened the gym door and asked, "Where is everybody else?"  Normally, a few people other than myself are standing outside the gym, waiting to get in.  "I think it's going to be a small crowd because of the weather," I told him.  It was still raining outside, although the wind had died down a bit.  The temperatures had gone down, too.  Sure enough, the only people in attendance outside of Alan and myself were Colonel, Kevin, Amy, Seth and Reggie.  Kevin brought in a friend of his named Nick. 

Reggie, Seth and Kevin sparred.  Alan asked Amy if she wanted to spar, but she didn't.  Amy has only sparred with her sister Sarah, who wasn't in attendance that night.  I didn't feel like sparring.  I'm still experiencing soreness, and based on the fact I missed work that morning because of illness, I didn't want to chance getting jacked up again. I did a workout, but my mind wasn't totally focused on it.  I should have put more into than I did.

Looks like neither Jacob nor Kenny will fight at Hamlin tomorrow night.  Kenny's not feeling well, and the verdict is still out on whether or not Jacob is able to use his thumb which he injured during sparring awhile ago.  I might still go to Hamlin just to watch the fights.  Colonel was planning to go, too.

Colonel and Alan remind me of my uncles because of the stories they tell about altercations and near-altercations they've been in.  Recently, Colonel had to step to a guy on the train.  "This scary looking MF got on the train acting crazy. . .the guy stood over a woman and was harassing her.  Scared the poor woman to death.  I got up and told the guy, 'Look, I'm the craziest MF on this train', and the guy backed down.  I was ticked because I'm a a buck forty-seven challenging the guy, and nobody else on the train moved to stop him!" "That's how people do," I told Colonel, remembering a couple of times when I came to the rescue of passengers being messed with on public transportation while others sat and acted as if nothing was happening.

Alan told of an incident that happened when he was twenty-nine years old.  The engineer in the building he lived in at the time waited until it was just he and Alan on the elevator.  The engineer locked the elevator car and told Alan, "There are no witnesses, so I'm going to beat you up."  The engineer had earlier accused Alan of disrespecting him.  Alan tried to talk the guy down, but to no avail, so he had no choice but to swing back. The engineer later pressed charges, and lied to the police about Alan using a weapon on him.  This is where the having no witnesses issue backfired on the engineer, and the case was thrown out. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Sparring Monday

Reggie (the guy sitting in the photo above) came in the gym Monday night.  He had broken a femur bone playing basketball a few weeks ago.  It's healing up, but I worried about him doing a heavy workout.  Reggie had good news that he passed the physical required by the Evanston Police Department.  BK, who was also in the gym (he now works in security at a college) was very interested.  BK wants to be a cop too, and he's thinking about applying for the force in Lake County.

The other guy in the photo with Reggie is Kevin, who appeared to be healing nicely from injuries he suffered in a recent altercation elsewhere.  He revealed that he had trained up at Brooks Park awhile back.  There was a disagreement between him and a coach there, and Kevin was shown the door.  Alan was surprised because he knows the coach there -- Pat -- to be rather mild-mannered.

Sorry that the above photo looks off.  I have no idea what was going on with the camera.  The guy on the left is Paul, who is the boss at Alan's day job.  Alan (on the right) gave him a little training.  He was impressed with Paul's stamina and wind. 

No sparring went on.  The guys that are always up for it didn't come in that evening, and Sarah wasn't feeling well according to her sister Amy.  I was going to fill the water bottles out of habit, but both of them were full.  I'm assuming they had been that way since last Thursday, when the kids were in the gym.  

Victor (the guy in the middle in the photo above) came in later.  Colonel (in the blue) and Igor (wearing the Bears jacket -- I think that's a Bears jacket) watch something that Victor had taped, probably a fight.  Victor and Colonel started playing around for the camera, as seen below.

Colonel gave me two pieces of good advice.  "Keep your chin down and next to your right shoulder.  Pretend as if you're a sick bird," he said.  It helps protect one's right side of the face from being exposed to full-on blows.  I'm wondering why in the heck was I going around for so long with my chin up in the air.  I know better than that.  That would explain how easy it was for Meg to get in that uppercut that nearly took me out two weeks ago.  The second piece of advice was, "Never date guys who live in Chicago.  They don't know how to treat women!"

While I would have loved to have a rematch with Meg this Thursday at Hamlin, the truth is, I'm not up for it.  I took a beating from her at Loyola's boxing show, then I had some hard sparring sessions with Sarah the following week.  Both knees have been bothering me since that time.  My left shoulder's been a bother since I sparred with Sarah that Monday after the bout, and something feels pinched in my neck.  Stiffness has set in all over.  I should have taken it easy after that match, but noooo, as the late John Belushi would say.  I had to jump right back into things.  I've been close friends with heat patches, Arnica cream, Icy Hot, Ben Gay, and Advil since then.  I'll go up to Hamlin to support Jacob and Kenny who'll have matches there, but I'll have to sit that boxing show out. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Short and Nice of It All

Kenny and I sparred this past Wednesday.  Yesterday, I had what Oprah would always refer to as an "ah ha!" moment.  I have to really learn how to fight differently because of my height.  Kenny and Alan always point out how I throw punches out when the opponent is way out of my range.  The other fighter can always zap me, however, because of their longer arm reach.  I've also noticed, especially over the past few years, that it's hard for me to chase opponents around the ring.  Their longer legs give them the advantage of covering more ground in order to avoid my punches. 

Which reminds me of a story from back in 1988.  It was early on New Year's Day, and the guy I was dating at the time and myself were leaving a party that had been thrown by radio station V103 at the McCormick Hotel.  It was bone cold outside, and we had a bit of a walk to get back to the nearest public transportation stop.  I had been foolish enough to wear low pumps and not carry a pair of boots along with me.  Ice and snow covered the sidewalks.  I was stepping fast because I wanted to get out of the weather.  The guy laughed when he noticed that for every two steps he took, I was taking several.  He was 6'3" with long legs.  I'm still 5'1" with short, stubby legs. 

I can't think of any male boxers who are short, although I'm sure there are some.  But there are plenty of professional female boxers who are 5'5" and under.  I need to watch film on them to see how they get around the height disadvantage.  I know someone short can take down someone who's taller than they.  Like my Aunt Mary is fond of saying, "Dynamite comes in small packages."  She's only 4'11".  It wasn't too long ago that some guy was messing with her on the street and she knocked him to the pavement.  Didn't I mention that my aunt is in her late seventies?  My mother is 5'3", and she and my late father, unfortunately, had their dustups before they eventually divorced.  Yet she managed to put a few scars on my old man, who was 5'9", and bigger and heavier than she. 

Now that I further think about it, I need to muster up more of the fighting instincts that Ma and my aunts have, too.  While I was in the ring with Kenny, Alan barked, "Hillari, come on!  You're not even trying to hit him!"  In the back of my mind, I'm always thinking I never really want to hurt anyone.  I'm too nice in that respect, but it doesn't serve me well in the ring.  I've mentioned before that my maternal grandfather had been an amateur boxer; my mother and my aunts learned how to throw punches by watching their dad whenever he taught my late uncles how to box.  My uncles had plenty of stories about the spectacular street fights they were in -- and often won -- but my mother and my aunts were (and are still) not slouches when it came to defending themselves. 

Maybe it would help more if I pretended my opponents were people who had pissed me off.  I have a long list of plenty in the past who have that I could use.  Just recently added someone new to the list last night.  I ordered food, and the delivery guy called up to my place on the intercom.  I buzzed him in.  A moment later, he calls back.  "Is the buzzer not working?" I ask, which is usually the case.  "Yeah, it does, but there's a woman down here who told me she wasn't going to let me into the lobby until she leaves," the guy replied.  I knew exactly who that woman was.  In my last post, I complained about both of my knees hurting.  I forgot about the pain and ran downstairs as fast as I could. 

The woman in question was sitting in the lobby.  There are several human irritants who have taken up residence in my building over the past couple of years.  She's one of them.  The woman does not speak when "hello" is said to her, prefering to look through people as if they weren't there.  A neighbor down the hall from me had to tell her off when the woman tried to prevent them from putting their clothes in the dryer.  The woman had decided the dryers were her personal property that day, and she felt no other tenant was allowed to use them.  She has attempted to block other tenants -- including myself -- from entering the building if they happen to be walking in behind her.  She'll ask, "Do you live here?" when she knows good and damn well she's seen that person coming in and out and getting their mail numerous times before.  The woman continuously displays all manner of rude and odd behavior. 

"Why did you tell the delivery guy that he couldn't come in here?" I demanded as soon as I got down to the lobby.  She dabbed her face with a napkin and blatantly ignored me.  I asked her again, and still no response.  I was calling her all kinds of foul names in my mind.  It ocurred to me to snatch her arm and shake her violently.  All I had to take was two steps to grab her, and it would have been a done deal.  It was pretty stupid of her not to consider that she might have set herself up for some major unpleasantness.  But I remembered that I do know how to box, and no, I didn't feel like explaining myself to the police that night.  "Don't do it again," I said coldly, before letting the delivery guy in.  I stomped back up to my apartment with my food, wishing that I hadn't taken the high road with her.  But that's another major thing I've learned since taking up boxing.  I have to walk away from some people in order not to make it a bad day for either me or them.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two Guys, Two Injuries

It was Columbus Day, but the field house and the gym was open.  Carolyn wasn't there, and none of the women at the front desk had a key for the gym door.  Alan was running late again, and he had called in to let the staff know he was on his way. Kenny and Colonel walked in and wondered why I was waiting in the hall.  "Did you ask if any of the front desk people have keys?" Colonel asked. "No. . .," I said, but before I could finish, Colonel was asking if they could open up.  One of the women had taken the late call from Alan.  She told Colonel that the staff was waiting for Alan to show up.  Colonel wanted in, so he called Alan so he could tell the staff to open the door.  Kenny admonished his father for doing that, indicating that Colonel might get the staff in trouble.

Later, when Alan arrived and we could gain access to the gym, I explained it to Colonel.  "When Carolyn is here on Monday, and Jiliberto is here on Wednesday, they usually open up the gym if Alan hasn't gotten here yet and they see me.  That is, unless they've heard something different from Mary.  But if Carolyn and Jiliberto are not here, I don't ask other staff to open up, because I know that Mary might get on them for it."

Marcus stopped in briefly on Monday night to show us his left arm.  A muscle popped in his upper arm while he was using an exercise machine at another gym.  The doctors did their repair job, but the healing is going to take awhile.  He was wearing a cast.  "It'll probably be February before I can get back in the gym to do anything," Marcus told me.  "It happens like that.  You've been used to doing a certain exercise, and all of a sudden something happens to a joint or muscle.  You wonder what is going on?" Alan said. 

Kevin came in a little awhile later.  He was calling me from outside one of the windows to come open the back field house door up.  I thought I heard someone calling my name, but since it wasn't coming from one of the guys already in the gym, I thought I was mistaken.  Kevin had a bad gash and some scrapes on his forehead.  From what he told me, his injuries came out of a situation where drinking was involved.

Kevin's gash sort of reminded me of a fight my late paternal grandmother started decades ago with a woman who was much bigger than she.  Grandma was 4'11; the woman, a tenant of hers at the time, was 6 feet tall.  The argument involved payment of rent.  My mother said they exchanged words, then in the next instant, Grandma was all over the woman like a cheap suit.  When it was all over, the tall woman had a bald spot at the top of her head.  It wasn't because my grandmother had pulled her hair out. Grandma had repeatedly scraped the woman's head against the sidewalk.
Professor gave Kevin pointers on how to throw punches. Kevin was throwing a lot of them on the heavy bag, but there wasn't much power behind them.  He also taught Kevin how to jump rope.
No one sparred, which is very rare, especially since Alan took over the gym.  Kenny announced early on that he didn't feel like it.  My knees have been bothering me since before the last fight I had, and I wasn't up for it, either.  There wasn't that many on hand in the gym that night.  I suspect a lot of people thought the gym was closed because of Columbus Day.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Week With The DVDs

I exercised six days last week.  That's counting the two days I'm at the gym.  Finally, I figured out how to reset up the DVD player.  When the exterminators came in a month ago to get rid of the bed bugs (I haven't seen any in awhile--knock on wood), they had unhooked the DVD from my TV.  It took awhile for me to figure out what cord goes where.  The instructions I have weren't a whole lot of help.  But then, what instructions for TV and DVD hookups are?

I pulled out a few exercise DVDs, mixing them up for a little variety.  I need a mix of strength training and cardio, not only strength training like my neighbor Eric suggested.  Eric is big on weight lifting, the type of guy who spends three plus hours in a traditional gym hoisting 300+ pounds and more.  Being strong is a plus, but strength alone does not win boxing matches.  I've seen too many guys walk into the boxing gym who think their muscles are the only advantage they need.  Stamina and conditioning count for a lot.  If neither one of those are present, a boxer can't expect to be very successful when facing an opponent.

I like Kettlebell 3-in-1 with Amy Bento.  There are two complete workouts on the DVD, the first one being the right pace for beginners.  The second workout is for the intermediate level which is just slightly more intense.  Ms. Bento has a tutorial so that people can learn how to use the kettlebell properly before they begin.  Working with kettlebells is a combination of strength training as well as cardio. 

Sarah Lurie has a DVD set called Iron Core Kettlebell.  Complaints I read online about these DVDs were about the 30 second breaks in-between sets.  You know what?  They're needed.  Ms. Lurie is no joke when it comes to this workout, which is more intense than Ms. Bento's. While Ms. Bento is friendly, Ms. Lurie is no-nonsense and about the business.  That Turkish Getup exercise where you have to raise up from the floor while keeping an eye on the kettlebell?  Legalized torture. 

The other two DVDs I used were by ray-of-sunshine Leslie Sansone.  Ms. Sansone is very cheery, talkative, and upbeat which helps a lot when one is trying to stay motivated to exercise.  She is the queen of power walking workouts.  I like her workouts because they are gentle to the joints.  Years ago, when I turned thirty, I guess I was grumbling about the loss of flexibility, which I was beginning to notice.  A former co-worker of mine, Mary (God rest her soul), told me, "Wait until you turn fifty."  She was right.  Don't think a walking workout is easy or wimpy.  I'm sweating by the time I get to the middle of it.  The two DVDs I used last week were Punch Up Your Walk (which involves using weighted gloves that were included with the DVD) and Walk Away the Pounds.  Both DVDs give the option of doing the whole workout or just 1, 2, 3, or 4 miles of walking depending how much time you have and how you feel. 

Next week, I'll wade through the other exercise DVDs I have to keep the variety going. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011


I made a comment to Pastor Roger awhile back about boxers being tougher than football players because boxers don't take off between February and August (or however long it is that football players are in off-season).  The pastor, an ardent football fan, smugly replied, "Football players take time to recuperate."  Well, football players don't have to be ready at any time for fights like boxers are.

But I think we pay for being at that level of readiness.  I was back in the gym this past Monday after having a fight last Friday, and I sparred on Monday.  I also sparred on Wednesday -- with Sarah both days.  Maybe should I have begged off of sparring and toned down the workout a little this week.  I've been sore since last Friday.  Today, my right knee was on fire.  I had to go to the drug store this afternoon and get a heat patch.

Josh, who hadn't been in for a long time, came in.  He asked me what had been going on, and I told him about last week's boxing show.  That's all he needed to hear.  Josh made a beeline towards Jacob and started asking a bunch of questions.  He spent most of his time in the gym asking questions and talking.  I honestly don't remember Josh doing a workout at all that night.

Ralphie sparred with Alan, as seen in the photo above.

And in this photo too.

I forgot to call Alan ahead of time to remind him to bring in a timer.  The one in the gym is officially broken.  Fortunately, Colonel brought in one that he owns to use for the evening.  

I've decided that I really need to step up the exercise, so I've been working out with my kettlebells this week.  Once again, I conveniently forgot that I'm still sore from Friday.  Maybe I should have waited until, oh, let's say, next week to put the new exercise routine into place.  Looks like I'll be back in the drug store later to pick up BenGay and pain pills.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Monday After The Fights

I wasn't hurting much on Saturday, but by Sunday, I gingerly eased into my usual pew at church service.  Soaking in a warm bath of green rubbing alcohol later that afternoon didn't help much.  My left shoulder blade, my left shoulder, both of my knees, and my sides were jacked up.  I shuffled around like the old woman that I'm slowly becoming.

That didn't stop me from sparring with Sarah on Monday, however, as I reverted back to the habit from my younger days of throwing caution to the wind.  Alan kept telling me over and over, "Work your way in with the jab, then work on the inside."  I attempted to do that, but I was reminded again and again of how short I am by Sarah's long reach.  I dug in on some body shots, but my head paid the price.

Alan wondered where the other women -- Maggie, Ursula, Baia, Lynesta -- were at.  Of those, Ursula did come in with a guy named Robert.  A lot of the guys were missing, too.  "Where are they at?" Colonel asked.  "You know, after a boxing show, people take off for a night," Alan answered.   Steve, the former coach, used to tell guys that they didn't have to come in to the gym right after they had a fight.  I had a half a notion to stay home myself, but it lasted for a second.  I needed to get right back into the workout, regardless of how sore I felt.

The cops have been hanging around the gym frequently as of late. One of the last time a pair came in, Alan jokingly pointed to Kenny and told the cops, "There he is!"  "Man, don't scare me like that," Kenny told the coach.  Kenny has freely admitted to having been a guest of the police on several occasions when he was younger.  The cops come in, observe the training and the sparring, and talk to Alan.

Colonel gave me a copy of Friday's boxing show.  "Don't punch me too hard, but all of your fight didn't make it on tape.  The battery ran out in my camera!" he told me.  "Don't worry about it.  My stepmother taped all of the rounds," I told him.  I'll get to see most of the mistakes I made that led to me losing.

A stray trophy that Alan found on Friday night turned out to be the one that was awarded to Jacob.  Colonel got it out of Mary's office, and I placed it in my locker for safekeeping.  My locker is officially the catch-all for everything that others leave behind.  Speaking of awards:

This is the Sportsmanship Award I was given on Friday night.  I'm still pleasantly surprised to have received it.

Kenny asked when the next boxing show will be, and Hamlin Park's show is next up on the calendar for this month.  I told Alan that Bill wanted me to go over there and fight Meg again.  "I don't think you should fight her again this time.  It'll be too soon behind the last fight," Alan suggested.  I remember when Meg and I fought those two times in 2009, those were practically back-to-back bouts as well.  Maybe that was a factor in why I lost the second time.  I'd rather not have another fight stopped on me like the last time.  But I'd like to have at least one more fight before the Chicago Park District boxing show season ends.  Well, maybe I'll wait until December when Brooks has their boxing show and see what happens then.