Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Punching Around In The Beginning of June

Yes, the above photo is of me.  It's my yearbook picture from my senior year in high school.  Boxing was an interest of mine back then, but I was a couple of decades away from actually training at a gym.  I still look the same, except that my hair is short with gray in it, there are crow's feet around my eyes, and I carry extra pounds.

However, the last time I stepped on the scale at home, I was surprised to find I was exactly 165 pounds.  Colonel was telling me that he needs to lose at least 13 pounds to get back down around 155.  "Lowering my body fat will help ease pressure on my knees and other joints," Colonel said.  My joints would thank me if I lost a few more pounds, too.  I told Alan I wanted to get down to about 140 pounds.  "I don't want to be a skinny mini like I used to be years ago.  I need to have some heft to me," I explained.

A guy named Carl came in looking for Barry.  I explained that Barry is in when the kids are using the gym.  Carl told me he used to box via the Chicago Park District.  One of Carl's buddies was David Diaz, a former professional boxer who now coaches.  Carl's uncles are the famous O'Shea brothers of boxing fame, one of whom lives in my neighborhood.

Nayhomee had to leave early for a babysitting gig, so we sparred early.  I did chase her a little around the ring, and I put some pressure on her when we got into the corners.  But Nayhomee kept moving around.  I backed her up in a corner, but she got me in a clinch.  Alan called out, "Break!"  We did three rounds, and was very tired afterwards.  Once again, I wasn't wearing my mouthpiece.  I think maybe it's time for me to do the "boil and bite" on the new one I have at home -- that I brought about three years ago.

Alan sparred with Keith, and was doing the usual tricks (like winding up his right hand, but throwing a jab instead).  But Keith caught Alan with some hooks to the head, and a few body shots.  Kenny was working with Keith on the punch mitts, and Keith is getting better each time.

Before Geniece stepped in the ring with Alan, the coach said to her, "I have a reputation as a lady killer and not because of my good looks."  I was helping Alan put on a pair of sparring gloves.  "Got that right.  I still remember being laid out on the canvas," I laughed, referring to the time last year when Alan bloodied my nose. I thought of how my nieces (in the photo above) chastised Alan after that.  I was giving Geniece pointers.  "Remember, Alan has a longer reach, so you have to get close to him to make the punches count," I told her.  Alan got her with some hooks, and he also gave out a lot of uppercuts when she was caught up against the ropes.  "Grab Alan's arms when he does that," I told her.

Kenny was very impressed with Geniece's hard punches.  "You can't teach that.  Either people have it or they don't," Kenny said.

Kenny and Professor and I were reminiscing earlier about guys who used to come to the gym, like Hayt (who disappeared to New York City), Jake (who's now in Michigan), and Oscar (his friend Jesus came back to the gym).  Professor said, "My boy was -- and I still think about him -- the guy that died."  Kenny and I knew he was talking about Ralphie, who passed away from liver cancer a few years ago.  Kenny said, "Yeah, he was good," and I agreed.  Professor had a picture on his cell phone from three years ago that included a bunch of guys including Kenny, Jake, and Oscar.  People come and go, and time passes quickly.

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