Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Saturday, October 27, 2012
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?
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.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
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.
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
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.
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?"
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
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.
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.
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).
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Metformin tablets were prescribed, two a day. That's not fun, either, especially if one already has to take medicine for other reasons.
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.
Having diabetes is yet another fight I've participated in, and I'm doing the best I can to avoid being counted out.