Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Scraped Up

Alan was shaking his head about Igor Wednesday night.  "You can't get mad at him," he said.  I had hardly started dialing the numbers of the combination lock on my locker when Igor started bugging me about putting his watch inside it.  He always leaves the gym early, but by the time he was packing up, I was waiting for the bell to ring to spar a third round with Brandy.  "I can't get it now," I told him as I gave him a "what the hell?" look. I know that I waste energy being annoyed with Igor, but then, I'm also too old to keep dealing with nonsense out of grown men.

Speaking of men, the women dominated the gym again.  In addition to Alan and Igor, Josh came in.  Earlier in the day, Professor asked me via Facebook who in the gym was signed up for the Golden Gloves.  When I told him Brandy was the only one, he was surprised.

Alan sparred with Brandy, but he was being careful, as his hand is not quite 100% yet.  Inbetween rounds, Alan asked me why hadn't I applied for coaching jobs within the Chicago Park District.  I explained that I did when Steve left in 2008, but at the time, I didn't have a coach's license.  "You could probably get in, as there are no women coaching in the park district, and being a black woman, too," Alan pointed out.  Unfortunately, openings for boxing coaches don't come up often in the park district.  The last one I saw was for Simons Park about a couple of years ago when Johnny Heard retired.  I still feel that I'm a little green at coaching, despite of the fact that I watched Steve for six years, and nowadays, I listen to Alan when he's giving pointers to others.  But I would love to have a job coaching boxing if I could find one, especially now when I could really use the money. 

Alan stepped out after a couple of rounds, and I got in.  Brandy "The Fine Girl" (that's Alan's boxer nickname for her) comes after her opponents like she did me, they're going to have a hard time trying to take her out.  She broke me off something, as we used to say in the 'hood.  I was cracked in the head several times with hooks, I caught a hook to my left side, and I was popped in the mid-section.  Another hit threw me off balance, and I rolled on my back onto the canvas.  Alan helped me to my feet.  I kept thinking, "Keep the hands up, move the head, and focus!"  As usual, there were a few times when I didn't take my own advice.  During one of those times, Brandy's right hand came straight across my upper lip.

I knew I had been cut.  It doesn't happen often -- which is surprising considering how much I spar -- but sometimes it does.  Brandy and I were talking immediately after that last round.  "You're bleeding a little," she said.  "I'm okay.  I'll take care of it in a minute," I said.  I went down to the women's washroom and wiped the blood away.  "I'll put some Neosporin on it when I get home," I thought to myself, not knowing that I had none in the house.  I'll have to buy some tomorrow.

Alan had just mentioned Oscar the other day, and guess who showed up tonight.  I heard Oscar say he would try to come in more often.

Brandy's preliminary fight at the Golden Gloves is scheduled for March 23rd, which gives her a couple more weeks to train.  "But I wanted to stop dieting!" she said.  She didn't have that many pounds to lose, which was a good thing.  Brandy was hoping her fight would happen on March 8th.  I understand.  All that adrenaline builds up before a fight, and one just wants it to start as soon as possible. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Ladies' Circle

Brandy and I were standing out in the hallway for awhile tonight.  We were talking as Tommy walked up.  He wondered, just like we had, about where everybody else was.  Alan asked the same question when he arrived.  Melinda came in a little later, and that was it for gym attendance.

Tommy begged off sparring, so it was another round robin of sparring between Melinda, Brandy, and myself.  I got in a right on Brandy that stunned her so much that she had to shake it off.  I was worried because the Golden Gloves start next week, and I didn't want Brandy to get hurt before the tournament began.  She was okay, and Brandy answered my punches good as the rounds continued.  My right side hurts as I type this; that's the result of several good body shots she got in on me.

Melinda took a lot of good face shots from Brandy while they were in the ring.  Tommy and I were at ringside going, "Whoa!" and "Ooh!" a lot as Brandy made her connections with her left and right.  But Melinda waited for me to start throwing then banged me around during our time in the ring. 

Figuring that I should do more to protect myself from injuries than I have in the past, I wore my chest protector during sparring.  Alan said, "I'm glad to see you wearing this," he said, as he helped me put it on.  He also made his usual joke about knowing how to take a bra off a woman easily, but not knowing how to put one on a woman, which always cracks me up.  However, my chest didn't take any hits. The rest of my body did.  My left shoulder hurts a little bit now, too. 

Brandy is in her mid-twenties, and Melinda is in her early thirties.  I'm older than both, and I can hear people telling me I must be crazy for sparring with women who are younger and faster than me.  But over the last few months, sparring has become more and more enjoyable for me.  Melinda was saying how she wants to learn chess.  Alan looked at the ring and said, "That's a big chessboard there."  Boxing is like chess, as Tommy commented, and it's become more fun for me to try to guess an opponent's moves and counteract them.  I've always liked to spar, don't get me wrong.  But I'm become more focused in the ring than I have in the past, and that's what makes it interesting. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Windy City Fight Night 21

Last night, I went to the UIC Pavillon to see boxing matches sponsored by 8 Count Productions.  There were seven fights on the card.  JJ's fight (in the light heavyweight category) was the third; Paul L.'s fight (in the super middleweight category) was the fifth bout.  Many of the familiar faces of the Chicago boxing scene, including Antonio, Rick, and Barry, were present.

All of the bouts moved along quickly.  The first bout, between heavyweights Curtis Tate and Alejandro Otero, ended in a knockout.  I believe Tate was the one who ended up on the canvas.  The second fight ended fast too, with Juan Bustamante taking out Ryan Strickland.  Strickland laid on the canvas near the ropes for awhile before getting up -- that was a super featherweight fight -- and still needed help to get back to the locker room area when he was on his feet. 

(P.S.) There is a correction:  Tate won the heavyweight fight.  Otero was knocked out.  Thanks to Boxer Girl for the information!

JJ's opponent walked to the ring brimming with confidence.  Covan Graham looked a little bigger than JJ in size, but JJ has bulked up.  The announcer stated JJ's weight was at 183 pounds.  I knew that I'd better pay attention and stay in my seat, because I had a feeling the match wasn't going to last long.  JJ's backed Graham near the ropes with straight punches.  Graham was hitting back, but throwing wildly.  Graham's right side was wide open.  JJ stepped around and dug a left hook into Graham's side.  Graham's crumbled to the ground, and did not beat the referree's eight count.  The bout was over in the first round.

Dimar Ortiz, a cruiserweight, had a lot of fans in the crowd on his side when he steamrolled over Emmanuel Wright, yet another fight that did not go the distance. 

I noticed that Paul L. had a tattoo on his chest that I hadn't seen previously.  It looked new.  He fought Cesar Martinez.  Martinez looked older than Paul L. from where I was sitting, but I couldn't be sure.  Martinez tried to hang in there, but was eventually overwhelmed by the bombs that Paul L. was throwing.  I learned later that was Paul L.'s second professional fight. 

Edner Cherry was the big name at the show Friday night.  The 29 year old was named Boxer of the Year in 2006 by ESPN, and had previously won the NABA and NABF lightweight titles.  Cherry fought Guillermo Sanchez in a super featherweight match scheduled for eight rounds.  After somewhat of a slow start in the few few rounds, "Cherry Bomb" unleashed his energy on Sanchez.  When Cherry won, he fell to the canvas on his knees and gave honor to God. 

The most exciting fight was between two hungry guys, Adrian Granados and Jamie Herrera, both of whom had a large crowd of supporters in the audience.  During their eight round welterweight bout, the two fighters took it to each other in a major way.  A guy sitting behind me told his friend that he thought the fight would end in a draw.  I couldn't guess who would be the victor, because the fight seemed very close to me.  When the eighth round ended, most of the spectators gave the boxers a standing ovation.  The referee raised Granados' hand as the winner.

Friday, February 24, 2012

JJ Looks For A Fight

Earlier on Wednesday, I rode up to Home Depot with Ken, Paulette, and Aaron.  Ken is the head of the volunteer work crew that meets at church during the week, and Aaron is the church custodian.  They had to pick up some stuff for the building.  Paulette attends the church and volunteers often.  When I got inside, I found JJ, who works at that particular location.  "Barry told me you didn't have a fight lined up for Friday," I said.  "Yeah, I'm supposed to have a fight, but I don't know," he said. 

I remember Barry telling me he thought the problem was that some guys didn't want to fight JJ.  JJ's professional boxing career reads undefeated as of now, so that could be an explanation.  JJ had footage of his fight in Kentucky on his cell phone.  His opponent was finished off in the first round.  It reminded me of several years during the Chicago Park District boxing show season when JJ couldn't get any amateur matches.  JJ was experiencing a long winning streak, word had gotten around that he was good, and suddenly, no one was willing to fight him.  Tonight, Barry told me that JJ was going to weigh in, so it looks like he might get a fight on Friday after all.  I brought a ticket off of Barry.  Paul L. is also fighting on Friday, and I want to see him in the ring, too. 

In the gym on Wednesday night, I sparred with Brandy and Melinda.  I think I did about five rounds total, which I hadn't done for a long time.  If Brandy hits her opponent at the Golden Gloves with that gut shot she gave me, she has a very good chance of winning.  She also has a a good right hook.  I was stunned for a minute, and I admonished myself for having my hands down at the wrong time.  It was darn near impossible for me to throw any straight punches or hooks towards Melinda.  She held me off with her straight right most of the time, and she popped me in the gut, too.  I surprised her once with a one-two-right hook combination that caused her to stop and laugh.  But that was the last good combination I got in.  Most of the body shots I attempted missed the mark.  She hit me with something that worked my neck.  My neck was a little stiff as I tried to get comfortable enough to go to sleep later on.

Leon came in, so did Paul (another Paul; there have been so many guys named Paul hanging around the gym over the years), Tommy, Ray, and Josh.  Leon was still insisting that he knocked Ray down that time they sparred a few months ago.  Alan joked that Deo, the guy that had his eye socket broken by Leon awhile ago, came into the gym with a weapon looking for Leon.  The truth was that the last time Deo was in, he did ask about Leon, but he wasn't mad about what happened.  Leon tried to tell others in the gym that Deo was a heavyweight; Deo is tall and about 135 pounds, if not lighter. 

I was looking for Emmanuel and Lavelle, but they didn't come in this week.  Alan had me check the attendance list, and a lot of people have been missing lately.  "They used to put the phone numbers of people next to their names on the list.  I wish they continued to do that because I could call people and ask if they're able to still come in," Alan said.  That would also be nice for when the gym is closed for any reason, and people could be alerted in advance so they won't have to make a wasted trip. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day at the Gym

"It's a quiet night," Abby observed.  Probably some people thought the gym wasn't open because of the holiday.  Once again, the women outnumbered the men.

Alan gave some extra attention to Brandy tonight since she signed up to compete in the Golden Gloves.  Ray gave her a high five when he learned she was in the competition.  "That's what's up!" he said.  Brandy complained that she was so hungry since she started dieting in order to compete in the 132 weight class.  Fortunately, she doesn't have a lot to lose.  I heard her tell Alan that she hadn't had to diet before.  I wish.  I've been on a constant quest to lose weight for years, even more so since I was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago.  Alan suggested to Brandy that she start running, at least a mile a day.

Jacob said he didn't mind sparring with the ladies, so Brandy, myself, and Abby took turns in the ring with him.  During one of my rounds with him, I impressed myself by breathing through my nose the entire time.  It's never a good idea to breath through one's mouth during fighting.  First of all, the opponent will quickly figure out, "Hey, this person's tired because they're breathing hard."  Second of all, a punch that comes in at the wrong time may end up with somebody losing their teeth, despite the fact that a mouthpiece is being worn. 

Matthieu came in briefly with a woman whom I assumed was his new girlfriend.  He was on crutches.  "I'll be back in the summer," he smiled. 

Ray would have liked to have signed up for the Gloves, but he's got a lot of things on his plate, including going to school.  Ray's going to school to learn how to teach others how to be barbers -- he would like to open his own school.  The beauty/barber game is popping, even in this economy.  Among African-Americans, we may cut down on how often we go to the barber and beauty shop, but we're not going to cut it out completely.  This is especially true of a lot of African-American women who are quick to tell people, "My hair has to be together!"  Ray has a lot of opportunities coming up in that field.

Jacob is taking online classes, learning medical technology so he can write ads for that industry.  I had never heard of that type of career before, but it sounds very lucrative.  He told me that it's a challenge because he has no past experience in the medical field. 

The hot flashes were coming during the third round I was in with Jacob.  I worked on the heavy bags afterwards, fighting off sluggishness as well as my left knee which decided to act up tonight.  The workout time was needed because I had been in a very foul mood earlier in the day.  It was one of those days where I thought, "If one more person says anything to me, I'll start swinging."  While I have many things to complain about all the time, I don't think any of my current problems were the basis of my attitude problem.  It felt like it was all menopause in full force.  Sparring and hitting the bags helped to put out the fuse on the dynamite. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Enthusiasm On A Saturday

Like too many mornings lately, I woke up in a bad mood.  The constant noise from workmen renovating apartments in my building annoyed me, and it wouldn't allow me to have some extra shut-eye.  A sense of sadness was present in me over Whitney Houston's funeral taking place today, which brought back memories of my youngest sister and paternal grandmother, both of whose deaths took place this month.  Other long standing irritations and frustrations began to gnaw at me as soon as my clock alarm went off.   I forced myself out of bed, remembering that Brandy and I had agreed to go to the Golden Gloves sign up today at Gordon Tech High School together.

Brandy's enthusiasm for the tournament helped to shake me out of my doldrums.  She and her boyfriend Nick drove to my house on time along with their adorable dog Biscuit.  We arrived at Gordon Tech to find a handful of people in line.  It was early in the morning; I suspected that most would trickle in later throughout the day.  Alan had told me he would go in tomorrow to renew his coach's license. 

Familiar faces manned the sign up tables including Sam, Tracy, Tina, and Rita.  All I had to do was write a check to renew my coach's license, and I was done.  Brandy had to fill out several forms, plus have her picture taken.  As the photo was being done, Sam commented to the official tournament photographer, "Now that's a million dollar smile!"  There were a lot of questions on the form that I didn't remember being on the boxers' form last year. One question asked if the boxer had taken up the sport to get away from gang banging.  Brandy couldn't believe that was on the form and we both found it funny.  "We laugh, but for some of these guys, that is the reason why they got into boxing," I said. 

Brandy mentioned that boxing had given her more confidence since she became involved in it.  As an example, she told of a situation at work where another co-worker had disrespected her.  She confronted them right then and there, something she didn't feel comfortable about doing in the past.  I could relate.  At previous jobs I had before the last job where I was laid off from, I had been somewhat of a doormat.  The sport helped me develop a backbone to stand up to the six years of nonsense that my former boss and some other co-workers there were constantly perpetrating and expecting me to sign off on. 

Looks like Brandy is the only participant in the tournament from the adult boxing program this year.  After weighing in, Brandy learned that she only has to come down five pounds to fit into a weight class.  I don't think it'll be hard for her to do.  I did suggest that she do some extra training outside of the gym, since we're only there two days a week.  "Cut the carbs, cut down on the bread and pasta, and if you're drinking pop, cut that out.  Eat more veggies and fruit," I said, thinking that I need to take that advice as well.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Protection and Reputation

It looked like it was going to be another ladies' night at the gym on Wednesday.  Mary opened the door because Alan was running late.  Amanda, Amy, Sarah, Brandy and myself were waiting to get in. 

Tommy, who hadn't been there in awhile, came in.  Emmanuel came in with his nephew Lavelle, and much later, Josh showed up.  Emmanuel was hoping for some sparring, but there was really no one for him to mix it up with.  Lavelle put on the body shield (seen in the picture above), and he and his uncle did some light sparring. 

I was involved in another round robin time of sparring with Brandy, Tall Sarah, and Melinda.  I only got time in with Brandy (one round) and Sarah (two rounds).  I wasn't as sluggish as I was on Monday night, but I was being overly cautious.  Sarah got in another shot on the top of my head, while Brandy gave me a blow that landed on my left cheek.  While Melinda and Sarah were sparring, Sarah took some hard shots to her chest. 

Afterwards, Alan told us that all of us should be wearing chest protectors.  One sits at the bottom of my locker, and I seldom wear it.  "Why take that abuse when you don't have to?" Alan said, sounding like a dad giving advice to his daughters.  He was right, of course.  I should look into those sports bras where one can insert cups into for protection.  I don't wear the chest protector I have mainly because it's such a hassle to put on, and it's bulky.

Yesterday, I stopped into the gym to see Barry about tickets to JJ's fight.  JJ is listed on the card, but still doesn't have an opponent yet.  "Guys don't want to fight him, " Barry said.  When JJ was fighting in the amateurs, there was a period of time when he couldn't get fights either.  His reputation for taking dudes out got around quick, and no one wanted to step into the ring with him.  A couple of the policemen who stop into the gym from time to time came in.  When they learned about JJ, they looked at the boxing show poster and said, "He's on the program, but there's no fight for him?"  Hopefully, JJ will have an opponent by the time the fights take place next week. 

Brandy and I made plans to meet up to go down to the Golden Gloves registration later this week.  Barry said he was trying to convince Kenny to sign up, and Alan was trying his best to put it on Emmanuel's mind to participate.  But it looks like that Brandy will be the only contender -- and the first women that I know of -- to compete in the Gloves out of Loyola Park. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Church Connection

The picture above is of my office.  It was taken during the summer, which explains the air conditioner in one window and the other window being open. This was about three years ago too, because it doesn't quite look like that anymore. "Why does she have a picture of her job?" you may be wondering.  I'll explain the connection in a moment.

Reggie came in for awhile to explain that he has to have surgery on his knee.  It's going to take a few months for him to heal.  "Where are all the guys?" he asked.  Alan and I explained the disappearance of most of them, but it is odd.  I've never seen a time when so many guys have gone MIA at once.  The women outnumbered the men in the gym tonight, so much so that Alan cracked, "It's like being at Curves."

Mike and Igor were there, and Emmanuel came in a little later, but none of them sparred.  Emmanuel was accompanied by a young man whom I was surprised to see.  It was Lavelle, one of the teenagers who attends my church.  When I told Alan the connection between Lavelle and I, Alan asked, "How does he know Emmanuel?"  I learned that Emmanuel is Lavelle's uncle.  Emmanuel held pads for his nephew, as well as for Brandy, Melinda, and Igor. 

Tall Sarah, Brandy, and myself did another round robin session of boxing.  Sarah banged me on the top of my head.  It didn't hurt very much, but it did surprise me.  I was very sluggish during the first round I had with her, and Alan noticed.  "Grab her arms!" he ordered each time Sarah would batter me with bunches of punches.  I stopped for a second during the round and said, "It's hard!" and Reggie laughed.  One of Sarah's bombs decked me in my right eye; I wasn't seeing well out of that eye for a few moments afterwards.

It was a little easier to get more punches in on Brandy, but she started off throwing bombs, some of which caught me right in the face.  Brandy hesitated a bit, and Alan told her, "Hillari's waiting for you to come in so she can throw punches.  Throw your jab all the way out!"  I took a few good hard shots to my side, and one to my chest (in a sensitive spot, guess where).  When Sarah got back in for another go-round, Alan told me, "Now fight her like you did Brandy."  Eh, I couldn't exactly do it.  I often joke that I haven't been this short for this long to not know how to take somebody out who's bigger and taller, but Sarah got the better of me. 

Brandy said she was going to sign up for the Golden Gloves later this week.  Alan believes that she could do well.  I worry because I know she was doing fitness (aerobic) boxing before, and that did not include sparring.  I also know that the female fighters at the Gloves can be just as vicious, if not more so, than the males who compete there.  "Whoever taught her before did good in teaching her how to stand and how to keep her hands up.  She could fight as a novice," Alan pointed out. 

I really need to get back on my exercising outside of the ring.  The sluggishness I experienced while sparring with Sarah was one hint that I should.  The dragging around I did this past Saturday was another.  Then I learned that one of my aunts had a light stroke.  She's okay now, although she has to walk with a cane.  Strokes seem to be another health condition that runs in my family.  My maternal grandfather died not long after having one in 1984.  My dad had one back in 2000; his health was never quite the same after that happened, and it went into a slow decline until he died in 2004.  A couple of years ago, after having my blood pressure checked at a clinic, I was told, "It's a little high.  You seem like an active person.  I sure wouldn't want to see you stroke out."  Believe me, I don't want to see that either.  Exercise helps with prevention of strokes I've heard, so I'll do more of that.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Sparring With A Guy

Once again, most of the guys were missing from the gym on Wednesday.  Alan was saying, "There might be slim pickings this year for guys signing up for the Golden Gloves."  Usually by this time, there are scores of guys hanging in the gym, getting in sparring and extra training for the competition.

Shavar, who's a Computer Science student at Loyola University, sparred with Manny (Emmanuel).  Melinda (the woman in the picture above) and I were going to spar, when Alan suggested that we spar with Manny instead.  Earlier, Manny held pads for myself, Melinda and Renee.

Both Melinda and I did two rounds with Manny.  I had asked Alan about learning to throw overhand rights better earlier in the evening.  Alan suggested that I not use the punch if I can't throw it properly.  He had noticed that my timing is usually off, and that I'm too far away most of the time when I decide to execute the punch.  However, I managed to catch Manny with one overhand right during the first round we sparred.  "I saw it coming, I knew it was coming, but I didn't get out of the way," Manny laughed afterwards. 

Melinda caught him with a right just as he was backing away from her during their second round in the ring.  Manny had been on the ropes, then he turned out.  But Melinda stepped in and threw her punch.  I would have gotten in for a third round with him, but Manny said his lower back was starting to bother him (Melinda had hit him there a few times), so he bowed out. 

Ray came in later just to see what was going on.  He explained to us about an exercise using ropes that are anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds.  Manny had a video on his cell phone that showed how the exercise was done.  It involves snapping the ropes against the ground, and it looks great for gaining arm and general upper body strength. 

I need to go into the gym tomorrow to buy a ticket for JJ's upcoming fight at the UIC Pavillion later this month.  Barry's got tickets for sale, and I should have gone in on Tuesday to purchase one.  Unfortunately, Tuesday was a bad day for me.  It was the tenth anniversary of my younger sister's death, so I wasn't in the best of moods.  I overslept, and was two hours late to work, which meant I had to stay later (thank goodness I have some flexibility with my work hours).  Then I went to see the movie called The Artist, which wasn't bad by the way.  I got home later in the evening, and the stuff I should have done, grocery shopping and cleaning the house, did not get done -- but I didn't really feel like doing those things yesterday, so I'll try again later. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Lack Of Guys

Cynthia, the woman in the picture above, came to the gym to check it out.  She was looking for a kickboxing class, but I explained that Loyola Park doesn't have martial arts classes.  She put the gloves on, and even did a burn out on the bags.  She found everything interesting, and she plans to sign up and return.

I sparred with both Melinda and tall Sarah during a round robin session.  I moved my head and actually avoided some punches that way.  While in the ring, I did not feel my knees hurting or the hot flashes.  The ring is truly a fountain of youth.  I step in and thirty years is rolled back.  As soon as the sparring is over, I'm back to my real age. 

Wayne was the only guy in the gym for a minute.  Fortunately, Emmanuel came in, and he and Wayne got in some intense sparring.  Wayne ended up laying on the canvas a few times due to scuffles between him and Emmanuel and plain old slips.  Emmanuel was bopped with a few quick jabs, and Wayne had his middle worked by flurries of uppercuts. 

Matthieu had hurt his ankle while sparring with Jacob last Wednesday.  He sent me an email over the weekend that his ankle is broken and in a cast.  Matthieu won't be back in the ring for months.  That's too bad, especially since he just recently returned to the gym.

Sarah plays around on the heavy bag in the above picture.  Wayne asked why she wasn't ready to spar yet, and she answered, "I'm scared.  I guess I'll have to just jump in and do it."

Alan's hand is still on the mend, but he was not wearing his cast tonight.  "It was driving me crazy, so I took it off," he explained.  Upon closer look, I saw a couple of prominent scars/bruises on his hand, which hopefully will fade over time.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Anger Management

I got the news about Angelo Dundee's passing from the Internet yesterday.  "First, Don Cornelius, now Angelo Dundee", I said to myself.  I always liked to see Dundee on ESPN Classic's "Ringside" program, where the famous trainer would give his views about boxing.  He'll be missed.

Emmanuel came by with his adorable daughter, Enjoli.  Emmanuel told Alan that he's going to fight in the Golden Gloves this year.  "I haven't fought in four years," he said. 

Enjoli, whom I believe is six or seven years old, amused herself by starting up a quick friendship with another kid who was in the gym Wednesday night.  Josh is the nine year old son of Amanda, a woman who just joined the gym that night.  Enjoli and Josh were playing around the heavy bags and inside the ring.  She had gone into the ring, gloves on her hands, and asked Josh to follow.  Josh's mom admonished him by saying, "Boys don't fight with girls."  I snickered to myself, thinking about all the boys I fought when I was growing up, as well as the guys I've sparred with in the gym.  I stepped into the ring and did some mock sparring with Enjoli, squealing in mock pain whenever she landed a punch.

Jacob sparred with Mike.  I have to give Mike his props, because although Mike tires easily, he does hang in there.  "How do you get someone to come to you in the ring in order to throw punches?" he asked me after coming out of the ring.  "Keep moving around, but don't throw many punches.  They'll think you're not eager to mix it up.  When they come in, throw your punches quickly," I answered.

Emmanuel sparred with Jacob and gave the whole gym some good entertainment.  Their jabs were fast, their hooks were crisp, and they were taking it to each other.  Too bad that Jacob won't be able to compete in the Golden Gloves; he's returned to school, and he told Alan he wasn't going to have enough time to train. 

Igor showed up, which is unusual because Monday is usually the only day he comes in.  I had to get on him a bit.  He took his watch off, walked up to my locker, and proceded to put the watch inside the locker.  "You need to ask me first," I said, blocking his hand.  I'm tired of telling him to leave his watch at home if he's so worried about it.  Igor grunted somewhat of a request, then I let him put store the watch in my locker. 

Abby sparred with Brandy.  Alan and I kept telling her not to turn away from Brandy's punches.  Brandy used to do that a lot, but she doesn't do it much anymore.  When I sparred with Brandy that night, she took the punches and kept coming.  Melinda was turning her back on some of my punches, but when she answered them, she came back with bombs.  I was caught with a lot of body shots by both her and Brandy. 

Melinda told Alan that boxing helps her with anger management issues.  "Do you have problems with anger since you've been coming here?" she asked me.  I had to think about it for a second, and Melinda laughed at my hesitation.  "Not really," I said, laughing with her.  My temper is not as volcanic as it used to be, which is a good thing because there have been situations during the last week or so that surely had the potential to set me off like a rocket.

For example, I was in the computer store last weekend - I had to buy another laptop because my old one just died on me, and could not be fixed.  It was a trip scraping up the money for a new one since I'm not exactly financially stable at the moment.  A kid was in the long line in front of me.  Then several other people crowded in front of me and got next to him.  The kid was obviously holding a place in line for his family members, one of whom thought it was funny because she butted me in line.  When I was younger, such behavior was met by me cursing the offenders out, and pushing them out of the line (which of course, always caused a bigger commotion, but being young, I didn't care then).  I just let the incident go.  I gave the stink eye to the chick in front of me, but I let it go. 

The unemployment office was another source of contention as I had to re-apply for benefits due to making too much money over the weekly benefit I received (I had done some house sitting jobs over the holidays).  I had to wait three hours only to have someone talk to me for less than five minutes and give me a form to fill out.  "You'll hear from us in ten days.  If you don't you have to come in again," I was told.  People already come to the unemployment office depressed, angry, and anxious. .  .sigh.
I could have yelled and screamed, as I was tired from running errands all that day, but it wouldn't have made things move faster for me.

Yes, the heavy bags are good therapy.  I need to visit the "office" every week to work off frustrations.