Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Standing Ovation For The Women

In the photo above, I called myself catching Ben as he worked the bag.  He looked up as I snapped the shot.
I had just been wondering where some people were -- Ben, Sara, Arnold, Vachel -- and they all showed up at the gym tonight.  Josh also made an appearance late in the evening. It was a good crowd, and enough people to have several rounds of sparring action.
Ben sparred with Arnold, as seen in the photo above.  Reygie (in the light top leaning on the ropes) and Kenny (next to him in the dark top) watched the action closely.  Ben sparred with Kenny, too.  When he got finished, Ben said, "I proved I can lose well!"  "Stop it," I said, assuring Ben that he did alright.

I learned that Ben is married, and he and his wife have a child on the way.  His wife is due very, very soon.  "I want to give my child the middle name of Awesome, but I can't get my wife to agree to it," he smiled.

Alan and Kenny watch as someone else spars (I don't remember who was at that point; it may have been Brandy and I).  Between Alan, Kenny and Colonel, a lot of tips and suggestions were given out.  Kenny told me that he has tricks for dealing with southpaws.  "I want to learn those!" I told him, as I thought of how hard it was to spar Igor on Monday. 

Igor, seen here sharing the bag with Vachel, told Brandy and I he wanted to spar with us again, but not until Monday.  I was hoping to get back with him in the ring that night.  I wanted revenge for those pops to my head and stomach.

Kenny and Arnold watch some action going on in the ring.  The both of them were teasing me because I had on a pair of the shortest shorts I own.  I knew the shorts were too short when I put them on, but I was in a rush to get to the gym.  "This is the Chicago Park District!  You're not supposed to have those types of shorts on!" Reygie said.  I think Reygie said I had "coochie shorts" on.  Arnold smiled, "Hillari, you look good in those!"  I just laughed.  But I did think to myself that maybe I'm too old to be wearing Daisy Dukes-type shorts.

Brandy and I exchange punches in this photo.  We were going a bit hard.  Brandy exclaimed in-between rounds, "We're boxing now!"

Another shot of us sparring, but from Brandy's perspective.  Notice the guys in the photo - Alan, Kenny, and Igor - watching with great interest.  I was aware that a lot of guys were ringside watching, but I had to keep focused on Brandy.  She throws some really great hits when she is sparring.  Brandy never fails to clock me in my head several times.  I was popped in my right eye twice.  After the second hit, I thought, "If I don't keep my hands up, I will really need a stronger eyeglass prescription next time."  Both shots, which were quick in succession, did make me woozy, but I managed to stay on my feet.

Colonel kept telling me, "Stop throwing air punches!"  It's a habit I've had from day one, and it's hard to break.  I want to keep someone off me, so I throw anything, even though they're not close enough to me to make an impact.  But I did time one overhand right correctly.  Usually, Brandy sees those coming and she quickly averts them.  After she and I sparred, everyone you see standing outside the ring clapped.  That's the first time can I remember people clapping after I sparred. 

Brandy and Sara sparred, and it looked as if Brandy was taking it easy on her.  Sara does not spar each time she's in the gym.  But she's pretty game about stepping inside the ropes when she does.  Sara and Brandy sparred for a couple of rounds.

Alan, Kenny and Reygie watch another sparring session in this photo. 

Arnold had a cramp in his upper right arm early on in the evening.  I notice a bad bruise on his arm.  "That's from playing hockey," he explained.  He kept rubbing his arm.  "F*ck!  This hurts! What can I do to make it stop?"  "Put some ice on it, or some heat on it.  Or try stretching your arm out.  I usually get cramps in my legs, and that's what I do to make them go away," I said.  "I'm afraid it's going to hurt more," Arnold said.  I asked Alan what to do, and he suggested to Arnold that stretching his arm out would be the best way to go.  Eventually, it did get better so Arnold could spar.

When I got home, my intent was to lay down on the floor for a minute.  Sometimes, depending on what happened during sparring any given evening, that's my best course of action.  Those hits to my eye from Brandy were really potent.  But I was hungry, and I had no choice but to actually cook if I wanted to eat (shudder), so I did that instead. 

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