Monday, April 23, 2012

Jacob and Andre's War

A lot of women in the gym prompted Alan to repeat again, "This place looks like Curves!"  But eventually, the guys came trickling in.  A new guy, who I will refer to as Andre Two (there's already another Andre in the gym), was introduced to me by Alan when I first walked in. 

Sparring first took place between Jacob and myself.  Afterwards, Alan said, "Jake covers up very well." It was very hard for me to get uppercuts in on him.  I opted for hooks to the side instead.  When the second round came in, Jacob got in a lot of pops to my face, because my hands were down, and I was unfocused. 

In between the first and second rounds that Jacob sparred with Andre, he told me, "He keeps switching on me."  I watched closely during the next round, and sure enough, Andre kept changing in between southpaw and regular stances.  Andre would tell me, "That's how I keep my face pretty by changing my stance.  Now you know my secret!"  Both of us fell out laughing. 

Andre Two told Alan he trained at Evanston Boxing Gym.  He also told Alan, "I've never really sparred."  But yet he had his own headgear and mouthpiece when he stepped into the ring with Jacob.  The first couple of rounds went easy enough.  Andre Two had his hands down too often, and Jacob caught him in the middle of the face with punches.  Near the end of round three, Andre Two threw some heavy power punches.  Jacob answered with strong hits of his own, one of which knocked Andre Two's headgear clean off.

Andre Two indicated that he wanted to go another round.  I put his headgear back on, and sent him back out onto the canvas as the bell rang.  Round four was a battle.  Andre Two had Jacob up against the ropes, banging punches off of his head.  Jacob fired back with tough shots that knocked Andre Two's headgear off a second and a third time, as well.  After the third time, I put one of the gym's headgear on Andre Two, in the hopes that it would stay on.  The action continued, even more intense than before.  Both men were taking some hard, hard punches to their heads.  Practically the whole gym stopped to see what would happen next.

Jacob's upper arms were covered with red after the sparring was done.  It wasn't blood; Alan and Jacob figured it had either rubbed off from Andre Two's headgear, or it was rope burn.

I heard Paul ask Alan, "You want a piece of me?"  Alan replied, "Come on man.  I'm sixty years old," but he put the gloves on.  Those two were wrestling against the ropes all around the ring.  Andre, myself, and even Amy kept telling them, "Break!"  They stayed clinched up so long at one point that Andre commented, "They don't want to break!"  Paul did catch Alan with some well timed punches to his head.  But then Alan popped Paul in the mid-section.  Paul bent over while Alan gloated, " See, youngblood?" 

Art has been very helpful in showing me technique.  He showed me how to catch punches, and tried to get me not to anticipate them coming in, thus jumping the gun early in responding to them.

Over the past weekend, I got a notice from Classmates, an application that's found via Facebook.  They let me know that the yearbook from my senior year at Whitney Young was online.  Out of curiosity, I looked up the year my mother graduated from Marshall High School (1951), but that yearbook was not available.  In the yearbook from the same school two years later, I found a picture of one of my aunts, taken while she was in a cooking class.

Then I remembered Alan telling me that he graduated from high school in 1970.  I found his senior year picture, and I called him.  Alan had a mustache, and he was wearing a suit, grinning as if to say, "I know I look good today!"  He told me to look for his wife's picture, too; they had attended the same school.  She was pretty with long hair.  Their yearbook was 1968 was online, too.  If I placed a picture of Alan's son next to Alan's picture from that yearbook, people would swear they were twins.

While driving me home, Alan called his wife on his cell phone.  "Hillari, I want you to whip Alan's ass," she said.  "Why?" I asked, laughing.  "The man has just been getting on my nerves lately.  Don't even punch him, just shoot him," she said.  His wife said that she planned to come down to the gym again and hang out.  "I've been trying to get at him, but I can't, so I'd like to see someone else get him in the ring," she said.  "They do, you just don't see it when it happens," Alan grinned.

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