Monday, April 21, 2014

Me Sparring While Middle-Aged and Slow


In this photo, Alan watches Brandy and Geniece spar, while Jason works out with the wheel on the apron of the ring.


Geniece was tough.  Brandy popped her in the head and face, but Geniece kept going forward.  I was thinking, "If I was hit like that, I would have been on the canvas."  In fact, I remember nearly falling to the canvas a couple of years ago when Brandy caught me with a right.  Alan caught me before I fell completely down.

I sparred with Brandy for four rounds, but I wasn't prepared at all.  She had been gone from the gym for about a year before returning.  But Brandy had lost nothing in that time.  After the first round, Brandy asked me, "Are you awake?"  I was plodding around and not returning punches well.  She said she would go lighter for the next round.  I still didn't move any faster.  "Catch her up against the ropes," Alan told me, but I couldn't do it.  Every time I tried, Brandy came forward, raining down jabs and rights on me.

Brandy got me in the stomach, and my head and face didn't fare any better.  I tried to sneak in some overhand rights, but just as I thought to throw them, she would be too close to do them properly.  My left eye took about three hard rights.  Afterwards, I looked in the mirror.  My eye was red, and my vision was a little impaired.  Afterwards, I had to sit down for awhile.


Kenny came in.  "I'm 170 pounds!  See?  I've got to get this off," he told me.  I had talked to his dad, Colonel, on the phone earlier. Colonel wasn't feeling well, so he didn't come to the gym.  But Kenny came in with another timer, since the one in the gym has been acting up.  "I'm surprised to see all these people in here.  I need to come in earlier so I get some time on the bags," Kenny said.


Katie was on the bag just as Keith walked in the gym.  Kenny not only sparred with Keith, but he coached him, too.

Jason wanted me to throw the medicine ball around with him, but I had no energy.  I don't think he asked anyone else, because I didn't see him with the ball.  He could have asked Igor, but Igor didn't seem to be in much of a social mood.  But then, Igor doesn't usually appear that way.  The relationship between Igor and I these days seems to be similar to the one between Basil and Manuel on the 1970's British sitcom, "Fawlty Towers".

"The only thing that will help Hillari is a osteopathic doctor, but she won't go see one," Alan commented later.  "There's not much that can be done for arthritis," I said.  "Yeah, but Hillari, something is torn in your left leg," Alan said.  He's probably right.  I worry about the discomfort becoming permanent since I can't really afford to see a doctor for that issue. I made an appointment to have my prescriptions refilled, and I'm cringing about how much that might set me back financially.  Like people say, if it isn't one thing, it's another.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Women Sparring


I admire Alicia (shown here on the speed bag) and her dedication to becoming fit.  She never stops working from the time she comes in the gym to the time she leaves.  It's paying off, too.  I've noticed that she's lost a little more weight.  I wish I was as disciplined as she is.  I just forced myself to put up the raspberry gelato I was eating before typing this entry.  Supposedly I only ate the recommended portion which is a half-cup (one regular sized scoop).

It was another evening where attendance was sort of thin.  Igor didn't come in, which wasn't much of a surprise.  But Jason didn't show up either, which was unusual. A few of the new people didn't come in, but there was enough to have some sparring sessions.


Here, Alan gives instruction to Brandy and Stephanie (Stephanie is in the photo, but out of view).


Stephanie and Brandy were popping each other from what I saw, and judging from Vachel's reactions.

Vachel and I sparred, and she didn't do much squealing and screaming this time out.  We did three rounds.  Beforehand, Vachel asked how could she block punches.  "When I throw a jab, turn your right hand to catch it as if catching a ball, or just tap it down," I explained.  Once the bell rang, I was blocking her jabs.  But Vachel sneaked in some punches when I wasn't paying attention, and I had my hands down.  A right to my face backed me up and nearly knocked me over.  Once again, I didn't throw my overhand rights correctly, and Vachel ducked every one that I threw.

Katie and I sparred, and I quickly learned that she can throw a hard right.  I got caught with it a few times.  It was a little easy to come over Vachel's right with a jab, but Katie had a longer reach.  I had to concentrate on trying to get in on the inside, which wasn't easy either.  I backed up Katie into a corner, and Alan told her to clinch.  Instead, Katie threw a punch, I tried to move fast to avoid it (which is still not easy because of my left hip), and I fell to the canvas.  "I'm sorry!" Katie said, looking worried.  "I'm okay!" I assured her.  Brandy pointed out that I end up falling every other week that I spar, which is true.  "How can you do four rounds like that?" Katie asked me afterwards.  "After awhile, you get used to it," I answered.

Alan had to help me down the ring stairs.  I just don't trust walking down them; the stairs are slippery to me.  I usually sit down on the apron and scoot down the steps.  Several people wondered if I was okay.  "I'm an old woman," I said, but Alan came back with, "No, she won't go to the damn doctor!"  Maybe I'll bite the bullet and spend a day at Stroger Hospital.


Brandy has another skill -- she can hold the punch mitts very well.  She held the mitts for Keith.


Vachel was wondering if the attendance was always as low as it seems to be lately.  "It used to be a month would go by before people started dropping off.  Now one or two weeks go by and people start dropping out," I said.  "Well, I guess it depends on what people want to get out of boxing," Vachel said.  She was right.


There are two openings for boxing coaches in the Chicago Park District; one at Portage Park, and one at LaFollette Park.  Try, try again, people keep saying.  . . .I wonder.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chill Time In The Gym


Stephanie asked, "Why aren't that many people here?"  Over past weekend, temperatures reached as high as 71 degrees.  But today, it was snowing with temperatures in the 30s.  This is typical of Chicago weather this time of year.  I figured the snow would keep some people out, even though not much of it fell nor stuck to the ground.

Alan was out because this is the first day of Passover.  If I had remembered, I would have reminded Alan earlier to put in a time-off request with Mary.  I had forgotten about Palm Sunday; I made a rare appearance at Rogers Park Baptist Church during the weekend.  It didn't dawn on me what day it was until I noticed that everyone had crosses pinned to their clothes.

Carolyn opened up the gym when I got there.  I was the first person in.  Igor showed up next, followed by Brandy, Stephanie, and Diana.  Patrick, Keith, and Colonel came in after them.  I told everyone about Andres' win at the Chicago Golden Gloves.  Colonel told people about the Police vs. Firefighters tournament that had also taken place over the weekend.  The police won.  "There were nine fights and the fire fighters lost six of them!  I need to come back and coach them," Colonel said, shaking his head.  Colonel is retired from the Chicago Fire Department.


Professor held the punch mitts for whoever wanted to get the practice.  I would have taken him up on it, but both of my knees were grumbling.  The last few times of me sparring, plus working Andres' corner at the Golden Gloves really did a number on them.  In the photo above, Keith stands on the apron and watches as Professor works with Patrick.  Professor really had Patrick moving around in the ring.


Patrick was hanging over the ropes afterwards.  He saw me staring at him, and smiled.  "Are you okay?" I asked.  "Yes, I'm fine," he assured me.


It was a pretty chill time in the gym.  No people wandering in to look around and no one who hasn't been in the gym in ages showing up out of blue to get a free workout.  I always hope for an easy time when Alan is away from the gym.