Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Balancing On Monday

I nearly didn't make it out of the house Monday night.  I was dragging around horribly, and I was feeling way older than fifty.  Eventually, I got myself together and headed off to the gym.  I felt better after I got there.

Kenny's thumb still is in the process of hearing, but he was up and energized to work with people that night.  He sparred with Adam.  Adam came off of a successful fight he had over the weekend.  He participated in a smoker.  A smoker is a amateur boxing show usually held in places like private clubs.  I would have fought in the show, but I wasn't able to get there on time for the weigh-in.  Adam told me he saw some tough female fighters there.

Kenny would have done more rounds with others, but the bandage over his thumb came off.  "I'll take the stitches out myself when it heals up," he said.  Kenny has to be careful because that thumb can't get infected. 

Kenny had showed him how to avoid punches, and Rich looked good at doing it.  When Rich sparred with Sarah and then myself, he mostly practiced defense, while Sarah and I worked on offensive movements.  Alan pointed out that both Sarah and I have a bad habit of not giving ourselves enough room to punch when we back someone up into a corner.

Matt finally sparred as he had promised.  Kenny got in the ring with him.  Matt was a bit stiff, but then most everybody is when they first start sparring.  Alan kept telling Matt not to wait for Kenny to make a move.  Matt was hitting with both hands at the same time.  But he made it through the rounds.

Maria came in, and I was showing her how to throw uppercuts when I called into the ring to spar with Rich.  I promised that I would work with her again when she comes in on Wednesday. 

When I got home, I was feeling more energized than I was earlier, so I got on the balance board.  I have to hold on to something when I stand on it.  Once I try to balance myself, I end up slipping off of it.  If I stand on it for a few minutes every day, I should be able to master it after awhile. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Keeping The Faith

I'm a Christian.  Surprised?  Well, maybe not if you've been reading this blog for some time.  I've mentioned that I work at the church where I worship.  Some conversations between my pastor and I have been recreated here.  Occasionally, I've also posted snippets of dialogue between Alan -- who's Jewish -- and myself that we've had about religion. 

Where does boxing fit in with faith?  Not long ago, I read an article -- I believe it was in The Ring magazine -- which attempted to answer how boxers reconcile their faith with the sport.  After all, Dr. Bill O'Neill of the British Medical Association was quoted as saying "It is the only sport where the intention is to inflict serious injury on your opponent."  It seems that is one of the objectives of football, rugby, mixed martial arts, hockey and wrestling, too, but I digress.  How does one adhere to  religion, which usually emphasizes living in peace and harmony with others, and justify knocking someone down in the ring?

Let me go back a little.  Boxing is mentioned in the Bible.  I wouldn't be surprised if most didn't believe that.  Alan thought I was kidding when I told him.  The verse is, "Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air."  Paul, one of the Twelve Disciples, said that.  It's in the New Testament, First Corinthians 9:26 (I used the New International Version translation).  The sport dates back to eighth century Greece, and was introduced in the Olympics in 688 BC.  So yes, when Jesus was going about his ministry on Earth, guys were competing with each other using their fists.  They were not using headgear, either. 

I am aware that one of my punches may cause someone to be laid out on the canvas.  My hands will go out to pull them up off of the canvas.  I have felt bad about the times when I have put bruises and cuts on others.  I'm the first one to ask, "Are you okay?"  I say, "I'm sorry" after dealing out a particularly rough punch, even though most coaches will say, "What in the heck are you apologizing about?"  Yes, when I have a regular match, I'm looking to take the other person out to get a win.  But it's not done with malice.  Boxing is a sport, and that is how it goes.

Might funny how participants in most other sports aren't questioned about how good of a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, etc., they are.  I've always wondered why some act as if football is the number one official sport of Christianity, for example.  Remember all the non-stop reports about Tim Tebow praying during football games?  I keep hearing about how many football players are Christians, how they credit their faith for their success, prayer circles in locker rooms and so on. 

In fact, it appears that some people of faith put down any sport that is not a team sport.  Baseball gets love from many in the Christian community, too.  Maybe boxing, as well as sports like wrestling, golf, martial arts, etc., come across as selfish.  Putting out the message that individuality and self-reliance offends some in many faiths.  Maybe that could be because most religions emphasize there is strength in numbers, and that everyone should be on the same page. 

However, such things like discipline, self-control, and doing your best which are taught in boxing, are also positive ideas taught in most religions.  Athletes are encouraged to take up clean, healthy and positive living as doing so will serve them well while they participate in their chosen sport.  Most religions teach that living right will help people in life.  So why should there be conflicts between religion and sports? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All The Fellas and One (Sick) Female

After being in the gym for about a half-hour, I realized that none of the other women came to the gym tonight.  The place was pretty full.  Franco, Colonel, Kenny, Rich, Andres, Paul, Andre, Nathaniel, Adam, Igor, Greg, and Owen were there. 

Franco (in the orange) was wearing headgear that covered his nose completely.  It was a new kind of style that I hadn't seen before.  He got in the ring with Owen, who seemed to have gained some more confidence since the last time he sparred.  Owen connected with a few good rights to Franco's head.

The last time Owen sparred, he was on the receiving end of most of the punches.  "You didn't get photos of me being banged up the last time, didn't you?" he smiled at me.  I told him the pictures were mostly like the one above, with Owen lining up against an opponent.

Adam asked me to videotape his sparring rounds with Nate.  The last time I did that, Adam got in a solid cold punch on his opponent, but the camera didn't pick it up.  I didn't press the right button.  This time, the camera gave a "not enough memory" message during the second round.  Adam knocked Nate down and that didn't get taped, unfortunately.  This photo, taken with my camera, shows Adam in the ring right after Nate hit the canvas.

Like Owen, Rich's confidence keeps raising up.  In this photo, Rich (on the right) takes on Andres.  Rich had Andres all up against the ropes in the later rounds.  It looked as if Andres grew tired, and Rich took advantage of it.  Andres took a lot of hits to his head.  The two men got tied up a few times, and Colonel told Rich to keep his arms open and his elbows out. 

Kenny was irritated because he wanted to spar, but he couldn't.  He accidentally sliced the tip of his thumb off with an Exacto knife while at work.  "I was going to throw it away, but good thing I didn't," he said.  A doctor sewed the tip back on, and Kenny went right back to work afterwards.  It's going to be awhile before Kenny can box fully. 

Adam and I agreed to move around in the ring, and the plan was to push me around so I'd learn to keep my balance. "Last week, you're were the first girl I've ever hit, and today, you'll be the first girl I've pushed around in the ring," he told me.  I always assume that most guys I meet have had a fight with a girl at least once, either some girl they went to grade school with, or one of their sisters at home.  "I have a sister who's seven years older than I, and she used to beat on me all the time.  But no. . .I was raised to pull out chairs for women, open doors for women, and never to hit a woman," Adam told me. 

My stomach was acting up long before I got into the ring with Adam, but I decided to ignore it.  I figured the energy I put out in sparring would clear up whatever was going on.  I made it through the first round.  The bell for the second round rang, and I didn't come out of the corner.  I took my mouth piece out.  Adam was across the ring, waiting for me.  "What's wrong?" Alan asked.  "I feel nauseous all of a sudden," I said.  For the first time ever in the gym, I had to use the spit bucket.  I was coughing, and not a lot came up, but I couldn't go on with the round.  "Maybe it's something I ate earlier," I told Adam and Paul once I was able to rest.  I was irritated with myself because I really wanted to work with Adam and get the practice in.  Once again, I was felled by some middle-aged physical mishap, and I'm getting tired of being a victim.

In an effort to combat some of this, I ordered a balance board which arrived today.  It's a challenge to stand on it and keep the sides from touching the floor.  If I use the board every day, hopefully, I can correct the problem I have of tripping over my feet -- or getting knocked off of them by someone else.  It's important for me to learn to be aware of keeping my weight distributed evenly over my feet.  I not only need to learn that for boxing, but in general.  I'd rather not be one of those senior citizens like the ones on the TV ads yelling, "I've fallen, and I can't get up!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday After The Disaster At Hamlin Park

Why Alan has a suspicious look on his face in this photo, I have no idea.  But he was keeping an eye on Rich who was sparring with Franco.

Last week, I had a mind to wash out the water bottles.  I don't know if Barry washes them or if the attendants wash them out regularly.  I did wash one out after I caught Igor putting his mouth on one to get a drink of water.  The man had the straw of the bottle in his mouth.  "Don't do that!  Do you want to catch something, Igor?  Now I have to wash it," I snapped.  I took it to the women's washroom to clean it.

Rich was ready for all Monday night as he sparred with different guys.  The first up was Franco.

Then Rich got in with Nate.

Rich was really taking it to to Owen, however. 

Alan stepped into the ring to referee while Rich was in with Nate and Owen.  Owen caught some hard punches.  Alan and Colonel were both telling Rich to take it easy. 

Rich's confidence is going up more and more when it comes to being in the ring. 

Matt had talked about sparring tonight, but he backed out of it.  But he has been working with several of the guys on pads out in the hallway when he's at the gym.

I saw Charlene while I was out Sunday afternoon.  She was in the drug store to buy gauze and tape to wrap her hands.  "Can the gauze be reused?" she asked me.  "No, it's cut off of boxers' hands after fights," I answered.  Charlene does have hand wraps, I believe, but maybe she thinks the gauze is better.  Some people don't like using hand wraps, and would rather have their hands in gauze and tape.  She didn't come in the gym on Monday. 

Brandy was out running when I saw her while I was coming home from work earlier on Monday.  She's going to participate in a marathon coming up soon.  "I would love to come back to boxing, but my mom and family were giving me a lot of shit about being in the sport.  You know how that is," she told me.  Yep.  I can hear my late mother grumbling, asking, "Hillari, could you find something else better to do?"

Colonel is the guy wearing the hoodie in this shot, as he watches Nate and Rich spar.  I worry about Colonel.  He told me that each time he goes to the doctor, they seem to find something else wrong.  I know the feeling, but we all have to get checked out regularly to stay on top of things.  I wonder from time to time if perhaps my younger sister would have lived longer if she had gone to the doctor regularly (like I still attempt to do, even though not having health insurance makes that difficult to arrange).  Colonel still does his workouts -- both jiu jitsu and boxing -- but he has be careful. 

Renee works the uppercut bag in this shot.  "I was sorely tempted to stay home and watch the Bears vs. Lions game, but I decided to come in," she said.

Amy uses a medicine ball in this picture. 

Marcus takes time from his workout to watch some of the sparring action.

I told Alan how disappointed I was in my showing at the Hamlin Park show last Thursday.  "I was really mad," I said.  "I know.  But it happens.  Everybody doesn't fight the same way each time they get into the ring," Alan said.    The best solution for feeling depressed about a loss is to get back in the ring and do some sparring.  I sparred with Sarah even though I was stiff from the fight with Edith and from standing all afternoon on my feet at church.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What No Fighter Wants

Hamlin Park's gym was packed with fighters hoping to get a spot on tonight's boxing show.  Alan came out of the room where the coaches were assembling the bouts and said to me, "They're waiting for you to weigh in."  Adam got on the scale ahead of me; Rich had got there ahead of the rest of us and had already been weighed.  The guy marking off the names asked me what my age was.  "You want to know my age?" I said, looking at Alan who was standing behind that guy.  Alan had an amused look on his face.  "I'm fifty," I answered.  The guy with the list didn't bat an eye.

I went into the women's locker room, and no one was in there.  I changed into my fight clothes, then went back into the boxing gym to catch up with Alan and everyone else.  Unfortunately, neither Adam or Rich got fights.  Adam was feeling a little discouraged because it was the second time he'd been at a boxing show and came up empty.  Alan explained that the situation happens to a lot of boxers at the shows.  There were some guys that both Adam and Rich could have fought.  Rich probably could have taken on Big Chris, who ended up fighting another Hamlin guy and winning.  But it's not fair nor advisable to pair up boxers who have little to no ring experience with boxers who've had a lot of fights.  On top of that, only so many bouts can be made for the boxing show.  Twelve bouts took place which was unusual because normally, only eight to ten fights are scheduled.

Meg and I talked again about each of us coming over to each other's gyms and getting some sparring in.  I really want to start doing that soon, even if I can only get over there two or three times a month.  I need the exercise, and I really need the extra practice, especially after what happened later on during the show.  More on that in a minute.

Matt made it out to the fights.  There was a guy named Aaron whom Matt had met on public transportation on his way to Hamlin.  Aaron told me he was a filmmaker doing a documentary about boxing, and he was doing research.  He took several pictures of the activity going on in the building. 

The kid wearing the white shirt in this photo is Latrelle.  He was the one who was grumbling about how his fight went at the Loyola Park boxing show, and I had given him some advice.  Latrelle returned the favor by telling me, "Do the best that you can," before my fight with Edith. 

Latrelle didn't get a fight tonight, but several other kids in Loyola Park's youth boxing program did.  In the photo above, Barry sits on the ring steps watching one of the boys' fights.  He trains a girl, too, and she was going toe-to-toe with her opponent.  She got cut open, and she lost the fight, but her determination to stay in the battle was to be admired.  The "Hamlin killers" were out in force, and they won most of their fights.
I felt nervous before my fight, but not as nervous as I had felt in previous fights.  But as I stood across the ring from Edith before the bell rang -- Shifty was the referee -- I realized that I really hadn't formulated my own game plan.  Alan told me to strike first and hard to get her respect.  Edith had apparently been doing some extra practicing.  Yeah, I got a few good hits in to her face and head, but she answered those punches with a heavier force than she did the last time we fought.  We had gotten into a clinch when I tripped over my own feet and fell.  A roar went up from the crowd. 

This shot is of Bill and his corner guy watching another of their fighters challenging someone later in the show.  They were yelling out a lot of instructions to Edith during our match, and she was taking all of their advice. I got up off the canvas, and Shifty told me to wipe my gloves on my shirt.  "Are you okay?" he asked, giving me a suspicious look.  "I'm fine. .. fine," I said, and the action continued.  Happy that I didn't get an eight count, I steeled myself to throw as many punches as I could.  But that was not wise of me, as most of the punches I threw were wild, wide, and unfocused.  Edith was throwing wide punches, too.  I should have shot punches straight down the middle inbetween the ones she was throwing. 

Before we could engage in combat again, the bell rang.  I hurried over to Alan and Adam in the corner.  Suddenly, Jimmy Ray, who was at the judges table, started talking about stopping the fight.  "Come on, man!  She's only had one round!  She's fine!" Alan told him.  I was already pissed that I hadn't done well in the first round.  The last thing I needed to hear was plans to shut down the fight.  "What?" I snapped at Jimmy Ray.  The second round went on.

Edith and I just threw punches non-stop, and we were wrestling around.  My hands were down too often, but when I finally became aware of that and tried to correct it, Edith hit me full in the face. I was down on the canvas again.  The audience cheered it's approval.  I cursed to myself and got up again.  Shifty checked to make sure I was fine, but still, no eight count.  Edith and I went back to slugging each other.  I got a few more punches in to her face, but I couldn't effectively get many body shots in.  I took another punch to the face and fell again.  "S&^%!" I thought to myself as I rolled up off of the canvas after laying there for a second, the crowd's roaring in my ears.  I wanted to try again, but the fight was stopped.

I did something I've never done in the ring during any of the fights I've had.  I angrily pulled my gloves off, not waiting to get back to the corner so Alan could remove them.  I threw one glove to the canvas.  From the look on Alan's face, I could tell he knew how I felt.  I had to be reminded to go to the other corner and shake hands.  As I hugged Edith, I did praise her for that first punch she gave me that knocked me to the canvas.  She can really hit hard.

Here's Edith with the winner's trophy.  I learned that Jimmy Ray, the head of boxing for the Chicago Park District, didn't want the fight between us to be made.  According to him, we shouldn't have been fighting at the Loyola Park show.  He missed that show, but if he had, he would have never agreed to the bout because of the age difference between Edith and myself.  Call me cynical, but I have a feeling that I won't be getting any more fights at the boxing shows unless there is someone very close to my age.  The only person I can think of that would be a suitable opponent agewise is Meg, and even she is a few years younger than I.  But Meg and I can't keep only fighting each other every time a show takes place.  We've got to mix it up a little with others.  By the way, Meg did win the fight she had tonight.

I'm still pissed as I type this.  Not with Edith, not with Jimmy Ray (well, maybe a little), but with myself.  I was clumsy as hell in the ring.  "Is something wrong?  Why do you keep falling?" Alan asked in-between rounds.  When I was a kid, I was always bumping into things, walking into walls, and falling down the stairs.  For a time, I had grown out of that stage, but now that I'm middle-aged, I seem to be unsteady on my feet a majority of the time.  I'm always tripping over my feet everywhere else, too.  It's like my balance is always out of whack these days, and I have no idea why that is.  I should have done better with my punches, as well.  Alan pointed out that I do most punches correctly in the gym, but not during fights.  "I feel like I'm fighting the same way I was when I was in grade school," I told him.  I wasn't winning many fights then, either.  But the difference between now and then is, back then I was always fighting three to six kids at one time.  I should be able to handle one person in front of me, but that's not been the case lately.  It was my sixth fight, and my fourth loss (I don't count the exhibition match that Edith and I had). 

The photo above represents one bright spot that took place tonight: I got this shot featuring professional boxers David Diaz and Fres Oquendo, both of whom came out of Hamlin Park.  Oquendo is wearing the white shirt, and Diaz is standing to his left.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Training Before Hamlin

When Rich got there, he commented, "I bet a lot of people don't come in tonight."  "Every time it rains, most people don't come in," I said.  But it wasn't a bad crowd.  Colonel, Kenny, Tommy, Franco, Matt, Owen, Maria, Amy, and Andres were in attendance. 

I wasn't feeling well while on my way to the gym.  When I got there, I sat down on one of the stools for awhile.  Have no idea why I wasn't feeling well -- again.  To an extent, I've given up trying to figure it out.  After awhile, I felt better and got up on my feet to train. 

Alan was running late due to a meeting he had at work.  When he got there, I told him, "I'm docking your pay", and he grinned.  Kenny had already ran some drills with Rich before Alan got there.  Later, Kenny would run some drills with me, showing me how to slip punches.  "When you slip to the right to avoid their jab, you can come in with a hook to their side.  Really throw that (beep) when you get to their side!" he told me. 

Rich was happy that Andres came in so they could get some more sparring work in.  Andres is about 280 pounds now, and Rich is about 220 pounds.  Rich gave up a bit of weight to Andres, but he was able to get in some good combinations from what I saw of their sparring.

I sparred with Andres later and got him a few times with some hooks.  "Good one," he'd say each time I caught him.  For some reason, I had big time energy while I was in the ring with him.  I felt that I was moving a lot better, too.  Usually, I plant myself in one spot and throw punches, giving the other person all kinds of opportunities to crack me upside my head.  But this time, I moved after throwing most of my punches.  During the last round, Andre backed against the ropes and allowed me to just whale on him. 

This past Monday, when I told Adam I was going to fight Edith again at Hamlin Park, he said, "Oh, you can take her easily."  It may not be so easy.  I've been thinking about what Alan told me -- that Bill told Edith to be more aggressive.  Then there's the matter of that 33 year age difference.  I told Pastor Roger, Paulette, Olga and Ken that I was fighting Edith again.  Ken always finds it amusing that I'm willing to take on bouts.  Paulette and Olga groaned, and as usual, the pastor didn't say much, but he shook his head. 

I saw JJ when Ken and Paulette and myself went to Home Depot to pick up some stuff for church.  We got traps for the mice we've seen running in some rooms, and a new handle had to brought for the men's toilet.  Someone broke the previous handle and left it laying on the toilet.  JJ and I didn't have much chance to talk because he had customers, but we hugged and said hello.

Franco told me that he would like to get a fight at some point, but he mainly wants to do it for fun.  He wanted to know what it's like to do the Chicago Park District boxing shows.  "Do some people take it very serious?  Have you gotten hurt badly?" he asked.  I explained that some do go into the ring with a definite killer instinct, but there are a lot who just do it for fun.  The fight where I was hurt the most had to be the second fight I had with Meg.  It happened not too long after our first fight, and I remember feeling the effects for what seemed like weeks.  I don't want to feel like that after the next fight with Edith, so I'd better be moving a lot around the ring to avoid that. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm Dizzy, Then I'm Buzy

I almost was on time to work this morning until I realized my latest copy of The Ring magazine was missing.  It was the second time in a couple of months that I had lost a copy of the magazine before I was finished reading.  Now I've got to go up to the store on my lunch hour and buy another copy, I grumbled before leaving the house after a fruitless search for it. 

Never do I look forward to scrubbing toilets Monday afternoons.  But I was going at a good clip until I began to mop the floor in the women's washroom.  Suddenly, I felt dizzy.  I stopped for a moment, then I continued my work.  But the off-kilter feelings kept going.  Was it the six White Castles I had for lunch (that I had no business eating)?  Pastor Roger shuddered when he saw what I was eating.  "Don't drop a match!  All the grease will catch on fire!" he said. 

I was leaning against the wall outside the men's washroom when the pastor came downstairs later with his coat on.  "I'm going to Aldi's to buy food for the food pantry, then I'm going home.  What's going on?" he said.  "I don't feel well," I said, as I moved to sit down on a nearby bench in the hallway.  I was still upright and perhaps I didn't look like I was dying, so Pastor wished me well and went on his way.  After resting a little longer, I finished cleaning the men's washroom -- the last washroom I had to do today -- and I went home.

No matter how ill I feel, I always manage to rally to go down to the gym.  The dizziness disappeared to be replaced by energy.   

Andres, seen in the picture above on his cell phone, returned to the gym.  He sparred with Rich, and from what I saw of it, they had a productive session. 

A new guy named Owen came in with a woman named Andrea (?).  She wasn't there to box, but he was.  He was a friend of Franco's.  "I detect an accent.  Where are you from?" I asked.  "I'm from England," he told me.  Colonel perked up and asked, "Did you hang in Birmingham?"  "Oh, that was the party place," Owen said.  Colonel had been in England back when he was in the service, so he and Owen talked about the culture there.

A Frenchman came in a little later, and I heard him telling Alan about his experience with kickboxing.  Alan asked me if USA Boxing sold equipment because the guy was looking for some.  "They have shirts and other clothing, but the best places to buy boxing equipment is from either Ringside or Title.  Both companies are online.  Local sporting goods stores have limited boxing equipment for sale," I explained to the guy.  "I'm surprised.  I would think that because so many box in America that the equipment would be easy to find in stores," the guy told me. 

Adam sparred with Nate as I recorded it on Adam's camera.  Adam was getting some good hits in on Nate in the first round.  Alan wiped what looked like blood from Nate's nose at one point. During the second round, Adam popped Nate with a right, I believe, and Nate went to one knee on the canvas.  Alan watched closely to see if he was okay, as Adam hovered nearby.  Another few moments went by, Nate got up, but he didn't go on with the round.  Unfortunately, the camera didn't pick up that round for some reason.  But at least Adam could see what he had done in the first round. 

Adam and I sparred for three rounds.  He had his right hand down one time, and I got in a left hook.  I was so proud of myself because that's the one punch I never seem to be able to execute properly during sparring or regular fights.  Afterwards, he and I did sparring drills which I really needed.  We practiced catching jabs and slipping punches. 

I have a fight coming up at Hamlin later this week.  Alan told me I'll be facing Edith again -- the seventeen year old.  "Bill told her to be a little more aggressive this time," Alan said, referring to Edith's coach.  "Like she wasn't aggressive the last time?" I said, and both Alan and I grinned about that.  Hopefully Rich and Adam will be able to get fights this time.  Hamlin Park's show tends to bring out a lot of people, so there could be guys with whom they can match up.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Boxing and Blood Sugar

I always joke to people that I was in reasonably good health until I reached the age of forty.  After I passed that magic birthday, it seemed that every time I went to the doctor, it was because a) something had gone wrong and/or b) I was being diagnosed with something.

A visit to the doctor in early 2007 revealed that I was pre-diabetic.  He had me come back in a few weeks to run tests again.  I was alarmed, but for some reason, I believed the condition would pass me by.  After the next set of tests were done, the doctor gave me the bad news.  To say I was unhappy was an understatement.  Having diabetes meant a whole lot of changes had to be made, and the impact was immediate where boxing was concerned - I wouldn't be able to fight in sanctioned matches.  My amateur boxing license became null and void.

The first major problem I faced was changing my diet.  I don't cook well, and when I do, I stick with the simplest meals that even I can't mess up.  I don't like being bothered with all the effort that goes into cooking, so I either did take-out or delivery or I brought a lot of TV dinners.  Soon I learned that sweet rolls, ice cream, and candy weren't the only foods I had to worry about.  Sugar is in a lot of foods we eat.  I had to learn how to read food labels in order to limit the amount of carbohydrates I ate on a daily basis. 

I had to check my blood sugar.  I'm not afraid of needles, but sticking my fingers a few times each day got old very fast.  Currently, I don't do it.  I keep seeing ads for blood glucose monitors that claim, "Ours is virtually painless!  People can test on their arms instead."  Don't believe that.  Getting stuck with a needle is getting stuck with a needle.  Watching watch I eat is easier.  Not by much, but it's easier.

Metformin tablets were prescribed, two a day.  That's not fun, either, especially if one already has to take medicine for other reasons. 

However, I'd rather not be have to take insulin.  Some people with type 2 diabetes find that taking pills is not enough to control it.  I don't want to be one of those people if I can help it.

Participating in any sport while dealing with a health condition is a challenge.  I don't heal up easily from cuts and bruises anymore, and boxing creates many of those.  I have to really practice the art of hitting and not being hit, slipping and bobbing and weaving to avoid injuries.  Boxing is exercise, which is something I need to do anyway, and exercise helps me to lose weight, which is something all diabetics need to do. 

I'm getting good at recognizing when my blood sugar is low.  But sometimes a drop in energy sneaks up on me.  I try to remember to keep glucose tablets in my locker at the gym, and in my purse when I'm out elsewhere. 

I had to spring for a medical ID bracelet.  I had read horror stories about other diabetics who had medical emergencies out in public and people not knowing what to do.  The bracelet was always in the way.  I didn't like the way it felt on my wrist.  Finally, I lost it on the way to the gym one day.  The next time, I brought a medical ID necklace. 

Every day, I have to worry about complications that may develop.  My maternal grandmother had a leg amputated, and right before she passed on, she lost some toes, too.  My dad's kidneys were failing at the time of his death.  I have a buddy who's been sitting at home receiving disability checks for a few years now because their diabetes bothers them more than mine does at the moment. 

Having diabetes is yet another fight I've participated in, and I'm doing the best I can to avoid being counted out.