Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Sparring Before The Fight

It didn't feel as hot in the gym Wednesday evening.  It helped that the wind was blowing a little outside.  I put the fan on medium setting.
Late the night before, I watched some YouTube videos that demonstrated how to use the Maize bag.  I would have practiced what I saw, but I was stiff and sore again from cleaning at church.  Most of my exercise in the gym was shadow boxing, and doing a couple of rounds on the red heavy bag.  I showed Renee how to use the Maize bag.
I did spar with Tommy, who's a southpaw.  Alan said, "Stop moving towards his jab hand and go the other direction!"  When I moved the right way, I was able to pop Tommy with some rights and avoid some of his incoming jas.  But he got me in the mouth once, and I swore to myself that my front tooth was grazed.  It reminded to me to keep my mouth closed. 
Big Andre was the man of the evening again, sparring with several including Alex, in preparation for his fight on Friday.  Alan and I agreed that Alex moves very well in the ring, and throws good punches.  Big Andre pummeled Alex a few times, but Alex answered with solid punches of his own. 
Gene got into the ring with Andre, feeling him out with his jabs. 

Andy got a piece of Big Andre, too, but he had his head down a lot.  "Keep your head up so that you see the punches coming in!" Alan told Andy.

Before John (wearing the light shirt in the photo above) got into the ring with Andre, Alan told him, "If you go easy, he'll go easy, but if you hit hard, Andre will hit hard back." Of all the sparring partners Andre had on Wednesday, John was matched up well with him.  John kept switching hands, however.  "Are you right-handed?" Alan asked, and John answered in the affirmative.  "Then use your left as your jab -- don't switch," Alan told him. 

Jason came in, but DJ stayed at home.  I learned that he and DJ have been married for a couple of years.  He said that she wants to spar again, but not this week.  She has a job interview coming up.    It's not the first time I've heard someone say they didn't want to risk showing up for work, an interview, or a meeting with injuries. I don't blame people, especially women.  Upon seeing a cut or a bruise, some may assume that the woman is a domestic violence victim.  Even after explaining, "Hey, I box, or I'm in martial arts," people may not believe that. 

Tommy asked if the gym was open next Wednesday.  "No, that's the 4th of July," I told him.  "I just wanted to make sure," he said.  "That's a legitmate question, since the holiday falls in the middle of the week," I said.  "We're so hard core in here, we're open on Christmas!" Tommy joked.  "Yep, on Thanksgiving and New Year's Day too," I giggled.  "The gym would be open during Armaggedon!" Tommy said.  "Yeah, people would be talking about, 'We got to get that last round in, come on!'" I laughed.  "Somebody would say when the yellow light comes on, 'Thirty seconds before the end of the world," Tommy chuckled.  We laughed, but that's probably no joke.  There are some hard core boxers out here.

I forgot to mention that I talked with Gabe's father, David, a few days ago.  Gabe had crossed my mind recently.  I see his posts from time to time on Facebook.  "Gabe did graduate from law school, and he got a job -- in Hawaii," his father said.  I'm glad for Gabe, and what a beautiful location to have a job! 

Josh, who hasn't been in the gym in awhile, came in at 8:45 PM.  "Look at who's here at his usual time," Alan smiled at me.  "I was just thinking about him," I said.  Josh only got in a couple of rounds of practice before the gym closed for the evening. 

Finally put air in the tires of my bike and took it out for a spin last weekend.  I believe biking may be my main cross-training plan outside of the boxing gym this summer.  I think my knees have had it with roller, in-line and ice skating, although I keep fantasizing about the fancy moves I used to do.  Biking is hard on my knees, too, but I can do that longer than I can last on skates these days.  But I won't give my quad or in-line skates away in what appears to be a vain effort to keep hope alive. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Working At Church and At The Gym

Monday was the beginning of me working full time at church temporarily -- being the secretary part of the time and being the custodian part of the time.  On Mondays, the washrooms and the kitchen get cleaned.  The kitchen was easy; just wiping off a counter, sweeping and mopping the floor.  The three washrooms on the lower level were a challenge.  I was seriously stiff and sore after bending over to scrub inside and outside toilets, standing on tip toe to clean mirrors, scouring sinks, and pushing a heavy mop around. 

The custodial job seemed easier to do when I was doing it back in 2008.  That was probably because I was younger than I am now, and menopause hadn't set in yet.  But somebody has to do it.  I figured it was easier for me to step in than to scramble to find others to cover until a new custodian was hired. 

I thought that I might not spar Monday evening because my lower back was stiff and both of my knees were creaking.  But DJ wanted to get into the ring for her first time.  "You'll go easy on me, right?" she asked.  I promised I would, and I did.  We did two rounds.

Then it was time for people to take turns with Big Andre (formerly referred to as Andre Two).  Alex (in the red shirt), a young man who's currently a marketing major at Ohio State, stepped in the ring with Big Andre.  Alex was quick, and Alan told Big Andre to slow him down with body shots.  Big Andre got Alex with several flurries to the face. 

Alex got in the ring again with him after Big Andre and I did two rounds.  I managed to get him in the head with a left hook.  "What a lucky punch!" I thought to myself.  It felt so natural and easy, but I couldn't duplicate it again.  I attempted to "go up the middle" with him too, but Big Andre's elbows made that nearly impossible. 

Andy (on the left in the photo above) hung in there with Big Andre for a round.  Andy's a southpaw; Alan kept telling him to not drop his right hand.

Jacob (on the left in the purple shirt in the photo above) took DJ's lead and decided to spar, too.  He did a round with Big Andre.

Big Andre's fight is this Friday.  I may not be able to go, although I would like to see it.  It depends on how worn out I am from work by the end of this week.  I just realized that the schedule Pastor Roger gave me didn't allow for lunch hours, so I have to re-configure it before he comes back from his vacation and discuss it with him again. 

Alan reminded Big Andre that he needs to stop smoking.  "You have to save your lungs," I told him, remembering how a love of cigars did a number on my late dad's lungs. 

I was standing behind Alan and Paul at ringside, watching one of the sparring sessions.  Paul, ever the joker, said something to Alan about, "Want a piece of that?" while pointing to me.  Alan looked at me and said, "That?  No way!"  We all laughed.  Before I went in the ring with Big Andre, Paul said to me, "Kill him!"  Alan said to me, "Get him."  I get the impression they think I'm a rough chick in the ring.  I don't think I am most of the time.  I just try to hard to get in where I can fit in.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day Before Alan's Birthday

Andre Two sparred first with me then with Tommy Wednesday evening.  Since Andre Two has a fight coming up, he needed to get the extra work in.

I tried to go up the middle and get the uppercuts in, but Andre Two keeps himself well protected.  My right hand bounced off of his elbow the wrong way when I threw an uppercut.  For a second, I thought I had sprained a finger.  I threw a left uppercut, and a nail broke on my left thumb.  I keep saying it -- it's a good thing I'm not a nail care fanatic like a lot of women are. 

Andre Two had no mouthpiece, as seen in the photo above (he's wearing purple shorts), so he had tissue in his mouth that served as a makeshift mouthpiece.  Tommy (in the red headgear) is a southpaw, and he got a few good body shots in. 

I think this was the third or forth time that Tommy has sparred since he's been attending the gym, and he's was going there back when Steve was the coach.  He told Alan that he'd be interested in participating in Loyola Park's boxing show which is scheduled for September 28th. 

As usual, I was on the side, clicking away with my little digital camera.  I was tired and hot, and it took effort to hold my arms up to take the pictures.  After I sparred with Andre Two, Andy came over and gave me a hug.  He noticed I was limping a little, and I explained that my arthritis was bothering me.  Andy, who's in his mid 40s, nodded his head.  "I understand, 'cause I'm right there with you, baby.  It's hard getting old."

I asked Sara, one of the new people, if she was enjoying the class.  She told me that she likes it a lot.  "I feel stronger, and I walk straighter and taller down the streets," she smiled.  One of the best side effects of boxing is confidence.

Alan told me that this past Father's Day was low-key for him. Today is Alan's birthday; he always plays down the day.  It's true that for some people as they grow older, a birthday is just another day in their lives. As for me, I don't make a big deal about the non-milestone birthdays anymore.  It's not that I'm cringing when birthdays come around like so many women do.  But seldom was my changing ages given that much importance when I was growing up.  Once, my mother made somewhat of a big deal about me turning 13 years old, but that was about it. 

I was thinking about adding extra workouts considering I'll probably have a fight in September, but I've been slacking off.  I'll be working full-time temporarily at church for awhile.  Aaron, the custodian, has resigned.  I'll be doing his job, plus my normal secretarial duties until a new custodian is hired.  There goes a lot of free time I had during the day, but I can make a workout schedule for the evenings.  It's just a matter of me pushing myself to train.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hot Box Gym

There's going to be a heat wave this week, which means it feels twice as hot in the gym.  I did my best sparring with Andre Two on Monday evening, but I was gassed out early.  "Pace yourself, Hillari," Alan kept saying.  The high temperatures made me wilt.  The fan was on, but it didn't do much in terms of pushing cool air around.

Andre Two and Gene went around for a few rounds.  Andre Two has a fight coming up soon out in the suburbs.  Alan confirmed it with Sam, the promoter who's putting on the boxing show. 

Alan kept telling Gene to grab Andre Two's arms.  After awhile, he did, slowing Andre Two down for a moment. 

I joked to Jacob after I finished sparring with Andre Two: "Are you going in next?"  "I forgot it, or else I would have.  I think I subconsciously forgot it," Jacob smiled. 

The Maize bag got put into use again, but I don't think I work with it correctly.  I'm going to have to find some videos on YouTube to get some ideas on how to best use it in training. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gym Time On Wednesday

When I got to the field house, I noticed that Igor was in Mary's office.  I wondered why he dared come behind the front counter to do so.  A few moments later, he shows me that he has a receipt for the payment of his fee for the summer session.  "Fine," I said, before Jilberto caught my attention regarding opening the gym door.  I wonder if I had not said anything to Igor on Monday about paying the fee would he have bothered to pay it at all.

Andre One came in briefly, and Alan told him he had to pay his fee for the session.  "Alright, I'll be back on Monday", he said on his way out. 

Andy noticed some people were missing that had been in on Monday, namely John and Gene.  Alan explained to the newbies that a lot of people go MIA after a few times in the gym.  "But we don't want that to happen," he said.  Five of the seven people signed up are new; it wouldn't be a good situation if several of them decided to give up.

No sparring took place Wednesday night.  None of the newbies were ready, Amy doesn't spar, her sister Sarah is out on a break, and the other guys who normally spar were nowhere to be found.  I don't count Igor among the guys who regular spar.  Igor begs to spar occasionally, but when the opportunity is presented, he quickly changes his mind.  I think it has something to do with Igor wanting to have total say-so regarding whom he'll spar.  Igor's not the first to pull that.  Jordan used to whine to Steve to get put in the ring, but if the other person was somebody Jordan didn't believe he could "beat", he'd decline.  Two seconds later, Jordan would try to convince Steve to put him in with someone who was new to the gym, and/or whom Jordan knew had little to no boxing experience. 

Alan looked at me while I was shadow boxing in the mirrors, and said, "Hillari, you're setting a bad example for the new people."  He pointed out that I wasn't turning my back leg when I threw straight rights.  "That's been a problem ever since I was hit by a car last year.  I have to keep remembering to do that," I explained.  If you've been reading these posts for awhile, you remember me showing up to the gym with my left knee in soft braces, hobbling around on a cane.  Turning the right knee at that time put pressure and pain on my left knee, so I stopped doing it.  But when my left knee healed - well, as healed up as it could, considering I never went to the doctor to check it out - I had to re-train myself to get back to proper form.  Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I don't.

In the photo above, Alan talks with DJ (on the left), Andy (in the middle), and Jason (not Jacob, as I wrote the other day) about boxing techniques and sparring.  Andy boxed while he was attending high school at Gordon Tech years ago.  DJ has some kickboxing experience, and I believe Jason said he had taken Tae Kwon Do in the past. 

I gave away some of my old hand wraps, which I finally got around to washing out.  Sara took one pair, and James took another.  I should have told them to make sure not to throw those in with the rest of the wash when they need cleaning because the wraps bleed.  I'll remember to say something on Monday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer's New Faces and Questionable Judging

The guy is the photo above was named Nat Hiken.  He was an author, producer and songwriter.  He created a few classic TV shows including "Car 54, Where Are You?" and "Sgt. Bilko".  I put his picture here because Mr. Hiken was also a boxing fan, and Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Graziano, and Jake LaMotta appeared on episodes of "Car 54".

It was an easy night down at the gym Monday night, considering it was the first day of the summer session, and six new people showed up including, James, who's from Australia originally, DJ, Andy, Sara, John, and another guy who's name escapes me at the moment.  That guy arrived with DJ.  Of the regulars from the winter session, only Amy, Gene, and Andre One came in.  Sarah, Amy's sister, is taking a break for the moment.  I don't know where the other guys were.

The only tense moment was when Igor came by.  Carolyn had given me the attendance sheet.  She let me know that John's name wasn't on it because he just signed up that afternoon.  Igor's name wasn't on the sheet.  Last week, Alan told everyone to either sign up that week or sign up on Monday because Mary is cracking down on people continually working out at the gym for free.  Yes, it would be nice if there was a day fee, as Andre One and I talked about later in the evening, but that's not how the Chicago Park District is set up for the boxing programs they run. 

"Did you sign up for this session?" I asked Igor.  Even when people do sign up in advance, sometimes, their names don't appear on the attendance sheet.  Igor's English skills aren't the best, which often makes communication difficult.  But sometimes, I believe he understands more than he lets on.  I repeated the question several times as Carolyn unlocked the gym door, and Igor kept mumbling, but not answering the question directly.  Then Igor starts going on about he's going to pay next week.  I got irritated because I felt Igor was trying to bulldoze over me to get in.  Alan had told me not to get into with those who haven't paid, but I made an exception for Igor.  "You need to pay today, because the session starts today.  These aren't my rules, they are the park district's rules.  Go to the front desk and pay the fee," I told him.  Carolyn patiently stood in the doorway of the gym, waiting to see what Igor was going to do.  He mumbled something and walked away, but he did not come back to the gym. 

I went over the equipment and how Alan runs the gym with the new people.  I was thankful that Andre One also helped with training the new people.  We did several rounds of doing jabs and rights, and then did a couple of rounds of speed boxing while running/jogging in place. 

Andy mentioned that he had boxed way back in high school - he's in his mid-40s.  A few others said they had some martial arts experience, mostly kickboxing and tae kwon do.  I believe Sara was the only new person who had no experience whatsoever. 

Gene asked, "Did you see an iPod around here?  I've been looking for mine."  I had locked it away in my locker after Alan found it on his desk last week.  No one in the gym knew to whom it belonged.  I thought one of Barry's kids had forgotten it.  "I'm so glad you found it.  I was upset for two days about this!  I thought that was $200 bucks down the drain!" he said.  Gene explained that it was brand new.  I would have had a fit if I had left something that expensive behind, too.  Good thing I held on to it.

Early this past Sunday morning, I got up to check the Internet to see the results of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight.  I was shocked to see that Bradley won.  "I wish I had seen that fight!" I said to myself as I jumped out of my chair in surprise.  But then, I read the blow-by-blow reports, and the outrage over what many thought was questionable scoring by the judges.  I like Bradley, but it appeared that he didn't do enough to get the win like the judges thought.  Of course, the calls for a rematch are mounting. 

Wouldn't be the first time people have shouted, "What fight were the judges watching?"  I can't remember the one fight -- it took place several months ago -- where judges were called in front of a state's boxing commission to explain why they came to the conclusions they did.  It was a similar situation where it was believed that the boxer who received the higher scores didn't do much during the fight to merit receiving those scores.  In that instance, the judges were slapped with penalties, which I believe included being suspended for a time. 

I heard and read about a lot of disappointed fans grumbling, some stating they were going to stop following boxing because of what they felt was constant robbery of boxers who deserved to have wins.  "This is why boxing has become a niche sport!" one person complained.  Others talked as if the Pacquiao-Bradley match would be the incident that finally kills boxing off.  I don't believe boxing is dying; all sports have an element of violence, and as long as people like watching it, and living vicariously through it, boxing will survive, along with football, basketball, and others.  But alleged incompetence among judges and officials don't help to make boxing appealing to some or gain new fans for that matter.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Three Good Rounds

I was pleased with the three rounds I did with Andre Two on Wednesday night because I actually focused better and planned my punches.  It is hard to think when punches are flying and the other person is moving around, but it goes better in the ring when a boxer does.  At one point, I swung a left hook at Andre Two's head and missed because I didn't time it right.  He bobs and weaves a lot, and I tried to catch him one of the times he moved.  I backed off and tried to figure out how to do that, finally succeeding with a right hook to the head.

Andre Two went on to spar with Paul.  Paul did get some good jabs in on him.

I noticed that Andre One had to reach up far to get the jabs and rights in on Andre Two, but he got many of them in.  Andre Two kept blocking Andre One up against the ropes and in the corners.

There was a Maize bag (in the picture above) hanging in the spot where the double end bag normally does.  It is not for punching, but for slipping punches.  I was on it for several rounds.  How it works is the bag is pushed so that it swings, then the person moves their head slightly to the side to avoid being hit in the face by it. 

Once again, Alan was telling me how he has to light a fire under some folks to sign up for the next session.  Mary hasn't said anything to anyone in the gym about paying their registrations fees for awhile, but Wednesday was the last night of the Spring session.  She'll probably come around to lay down the law next week when the Summer session begins.  I believe it's a lot harder to enforce that during summer because of all the people who want to come in and out of the gym.

The coach did remind people to pay their registration fee by Monday.  To my chagrin, Igor asked Alan to repeat the information which means he'll probably be back again for another session.  Igor and I said nothing to each other that evening.  Actually, I felt a little bad about that, but at the same time, unless Igor changes some facets of his personality, I'm not going to have any patience for it.  It's a casualty of me getting older and having less tolerance for things.

Matthieu came in briefly and introduced his brother Ben and a male friend of theirs to me.  His ankle is better.  "The guy who caused me to break my ankle - does he still come in?" he smiled, referring to Jake.  I assured him that Jake still does.  Matthieu said he'll probably return to the gym in the fall.

Ursula and I are now friends on LinkedIn, a job/career networking site that appears to be helping everyone else except me.  I miss seeing her down at the gym, but it appears that her business is doing well. 

Alan and Paul have to go out of town for a business.  As we were leaving the gym for the evening, Alan asked Paul about hanging out in between the business functions they have to attend.  "We can go to the gentleman's clubs!" Paul laughed.  I told Alan, "I'm telling your wife." "Eh, she won't say anything," he said as he put his things into the car.  "Humph. . .you think she won't," I laughed.

He drove me home, like he usually does.  While on the way, I asked, "You didn't get into trouble when Riva saw what I wrote in the blog, did you?"  "Trouble about what?" Alan asked.  "That business about the female colleague of yours and Paul that came to the gym one night and the joking about her being a side girlfriend," I said. 

Alan smiled, "No. . .you have to remember that Riva and I have been married for over 20 years, and we've known each other since high school.  I can say anything to her, and she knows me by now."  That has to be nice to have that kind of comfort level in a marriage.  I know a couple whom I went to high school with; they were dating each other when we were all 14 and 15 years old.  They have also been married for over 20 years.  I admire that kind of longevity. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Knocking The Cold Out of Someone

In the photo above, Coach Alan (in the gray cut off tee) and Paul, his boss at his day job (in the white trunks standing next to Alan) stand ringside while Gene (a new guy in the gym) and Andre Two work it out in the ring.  Once again, Andre Two was the man of the evening as he went several rounds with a few of the fighters.

Andre Two went a few rounds with Art (who's on the right in the photo above).  He also was in the ring with Andre One.  I kept hearing Andre One going, "Whoo!" and saying things that indicated that Andre Two had either gotten close to hitting him and/or had landed some good shots.  I was on the teardrop bag, so I didn't see a lot of what they were doing.  From what I did see, there were times when Andre Two could have really caught Andre One with some hooks to the body, but he didn't always capitalize on the opportunities. 

Yet Andre Two is getting better and better at avoiding a lot of shots, no matter how big or small the person in front of him is.  He encouraged me to get in a lot of shots when he and I were sparring.  Andre Two's head was knocked back a few times when I threw my right.  Believe me, I had to put a lot of effort into reaching up that far. Then Andre Two allowed me to get in a lot of shots to his body.  I never, ever think when I'm throwing those shots that it's hurting him much at all.  In fact, I never think my punches are doing much damage on any of the guys I've sparred with.  But he always tells people afterward how hard I hit, then Paul, Alan, and the other guys laugh and agree with him.

After Andre Two took one of my hits to his head, he laughed, "Hillari, you knocked the illness out of me!"  He had said in between rounds that he was fighting off a cold.  Maybe I caught the cold I had last week from him; who knows?  But mine is gone now, so that's a good thing.

 Amy told me that Sarah plans to fight in Loyola Park's boxing show which takes place in late September.  I was very glad to hear that as I've always thought that Sarah would do very well in matches. 

This is another post that's being typed on a computer at church since the Internet at home is still down.  A couple of cable guys came out yesterday and concluded that neither the Internet nor the cable was hooked up properly.  The cable is fine, but I was told the Internet connection has to rebuild so it won't be back up until tomorrow.  That put me behind a bit on updating the web pages and the Facebook page for Smart Women Boxing Training, but I'll get back to that soon.

Two guys stopped in the gym looking for Barry.  They seemed surprised that he wasn't around, and that's not the first time.  It seems that everybody knows about the youth boxing program, but few know there's an adult boxing program at the field house, too.  One of the men said he fought professionally.  Paul said to me, "Do you believe that guy is a professional with only two fights?"  "It's possible," I told him.  There are amateur boxers who've never had a fight.  I remember Steve, the former coach, showing me a drawer full of old boxing licenses of guys who registered with USA Boxing but never had matches.  There are a lot of professional fighters -- journeymen -- who've only had a handful of fights. 

Looks like Paul L. and JJ have professional fights coming up again on Friday the 13th at the UIC Pavilion.  I doubt that'll be an unlucky night for those two, as they both are currently undefeated.  My finances are in the ICU, but I'll see what I can do to get a ticket because I would love to see their bouts.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Knocked Out By RCN and a Stuffy Nose

Patrick (right in the photo above) decided to do some sparring Wednesday evening.  Alan put him in with Andre Two (on the left).

Patrick was a little stiff; Alan kept telling him to loosen up.  Andre threw his punches, and bobbed and weaved, but he did not go hard on Patrick. 

Andre Two and Andre One sparred for a few.  Andre One was bragging about how he was able to avoid most of Andre Two's punches.  Andre One does have his size and quickness on his side.

I sparred with Andre Two as well.  Alan wanted to give him as much work as possible that evening.  Sam, a promoter, has a show fight coming up this month, and fighters are needed.  Alan called Sam to tell him whom he had available.  I knew that Andre Two is 260 pounds.  I did not know that he's also 20 years old.  "He's thirty years younger than me!" I thought in surprise.  There were no fights available for me at the show fight.  It's not only because I'm middle-aged and female.  It's also because there's not many fighters who are as short as I am.

Art appeared to use more martial arts moves than boxing one when he sparred with Andre Two.  Alan wanted him to put on a pair of sparring gloves before he stepped in the ring.  "I can't wear those," Art said.  He already had a pair of bag gloves on.  Alan tried to convince him to put on the sparring gloves, but I think Art didn't want to put his hands in a pair of "community use" gloves.  I didn't blame him.  I especially hate putting my hands in a pair of sweaty sparring gloves that someone just used.  But until I buy my own pair, I have to put up with it.

I wasn't feeling well Wednesday afternoon.  I told Aaron, the church custodian, that I had taken acting lessons years ago.  Pastor made a joke about having appeared in films, too -- home movies -- and I wasn't amused.  A loss of a sense of humor is a sure sign I'm under the weather.  I shouldn't have gone to the gym, but boxing is an addiction, so I showed up.  On Thursday, my sinuses were blocked, and I was in pain.  None of the pain was due to me sparring the night before.  I stayed at home both Thursday and Friday.  To add insult to injury, the Internet was down at home.  A friendly RCN customer service rep told me a tech can't get to me until Monday.  So this entry has been typed on a computer at work today.  I came in to work to make up for missing time from being sick.  I'm still not 100 percent.  I hate catching colds this time of year.

Thinking about the Chicago Park District's boxing tournament schedule, which begins next month, several people could get matches.  Andre One and Andre Two could, as well as Jake.  I've always thought that Sarah should try for a match, and if Brandy returns to the gym, she should get in on the action as well.  I hope Ray can get matches, but that depends on his work schedule.  I may get one this year, but that probably won't be until September when Loyola Park's boxing show takes place.