Monday, October 07, 2013

The "Real" Is In The Gym

Unfortunately, a meeting I had last week revealed some very ugly facts about some individuals whom I used to respect and had considered them friends.  That kangaroo court meeting, as well as the week, ended badly. I was happy to go to the gym today.  I'm always been assured, with some very rare exceptions, that the people I find in the boxing gym are real and genuine.  None of this stabbing me like Brutus did Julius Cesar, then whispering as the knives are being slowly pulled out of me, "But I still love you."

Alan, the wise man that he is, saw that the effects of last week, as well as all of last month, was still hanging heavily over me.  Tall John talked about sparring with me, but I was non-committal.  "I think you should spar," Alan said sometime later, so I suited up.  Tall John and I took things light, mainly because Tall John wasn't wearing headgear, and we were running drills more than we were sparring.  We alternated working on defense and offense.  Tall John's got long arms, and when he threw non-stop punches, I had a hard time patting his hands down.  I looked like Curly trying to fend off Moe's hands.  Both Tall John and I had to laugh at that.

"Don't you feel better?" Alan asked me after Tall John and I had completed three rounds.  Moving around in the gym always makes me feel better no matter what kind of day I've had.  I displayed a little more energy as I worked the heavy bags, throwing punches as if I were throwing them at the situations and people who have been vexing me for the past few weeks.

Not many people were in the gym.  Andre was waiting outside the gym door when I arrived, but didn't stay long after the door was opened.  Igor came in and did his usual hour and left.  Tall Matthew, Tall John, myself, Ben, and Alan were there until the end.

John and Matthew did drills in the ring, and Alan admonished them a bit.  "Wear headgear next time.  Wear it for me," he said.    "Guys don't wear it in Korea," John said.  He had taught there for awhile.  Alan pointed out that headgear protects against cauliflower ears and cuts.  "That's why I didn't want to hit John very hard," I told Alan, "because John wasn't wearing headgear."  I keep toying with the idea of sparring without it, but the more I think about that, the more I think I should do more to protect my brain cells.

John noticed a photo of JJ on the wall.  "I thought he looked familiar. . . ", John said.  "JJ used to train in here," I said.  "Didn't JJ go pro?"  John asked.  "Yep, and JJ is undefeated so far," I replied.  "Wait. . .remember another guy that used to come in here, a guy who had problems with his back?"  John asked.  "Oh, you mean Ralphie," I said.  "Yeah, that guy was good!  Ralphie whipped me a few times during sparring," John smiled.  "Me too.  You know, Ralphie passed away," I said.  John was floored.  "Wow!  Really?  What happened?"  "Cancer," Alan said.  It's been a little over a year since that happened.  I've been thinking about Ralphie lately.  He was a good, genuine guy.  I miss him.

If only the world of the boxing gym was like the rest of the world.  I learned a hard lesson last week about people elsewhere not being whom they seem, that I won't soon forget or get over.

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