Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Friday, February 10, 2006

Golden Gloves

At my last graduate class, one of my fellow classmates announced that he'd bought a piece of a boxer (human, not dog) and that he had some free ducats to next Saturday's bout. The fighter is contending for an obscure championship (Junior Bantamweight division of a three-letter organization I am unfamiliar with). He weighs 112 pounds, which I can match with the heft of my left arm and give change. If he wins, however, he becomes a top ten ranked boxer and will then fight for much higher prize money, and much more return on my classmate's investment.

Now I haven't been to a prize fight in over 35 years, and I'm not basically a violent man unless somebody insults my wife, my politics, or the Red Sox, but I am an egocentric, somewhat exhibitionistic SOB. These character traits got me into a lot of trouble in my youth, and my obtaining these boxing tickets reminded me of a prime bit of stupidity from that era.

I was 16 years old and spending a vacation in southern Illinois with my very permissive grandmother. A group of us found an ad announcing preliminary bouts to determine a local representative to the Golden Gloves in St Louis (or Chicago, maybe). Since one of our little band was a cute brunette who had previously not given me the time of day, I decided to impress her her by bragging about my non-existent boxing prowess and declaring my entry into this contest.

Short term, this was good thinking. The young lady in question acknowledged my right to be in her presence and life was great, until I had to make good on my brag. How bad could it be, right?

I went to the local gym and had one of the gym-rats show me how to throw a jab and learned a little about footwork. Now totally prepared, I bought a helmet, gloves, trunks,a reinforced jockstrap and a mouthguard. Send me in , coach, I'm ready.

On the day of my first match, I was nervous. The little brunette was there with some of my friends (one of whom had provided the fake ID to prove I was 18, an entry requirement). My opponent was as nervous as I and even less experienced, if that were possible. When the bell rang, I ran to the middle of the ring and swung as hard as I could, unbelievably connecting somewhere on his jaw. I kept swinging until the ref stopped the fight. I had made the biggest mistake in my life, I advanced to the next match.

I then fought a black guy who beat me up unmercifully for three rounds but the obviously biased ref (who was also the judge) awarded me the win. Totally unfair, but this was Mark Twain country in the '50s. Next came Armeggedon.

The guy's nickname was Philley. He was left-handed and very fast. By winning twice I had unfortunately reached an opponent with a lot of skill and training. When the bell rang, I tried to throw my famous, newly-learned left jab. By the time I brought it back in, I'd been hit at least 15 times. I didn't think anyone could hit that hard. Fortunately, I don't remember anything after that first flurry. My friends told me later that I lasted 40 seconds, but I'm just as glad the last 30 have been erased from my memory. None of my facial bones were broken, but all of them felt that way.

I'd like to tell you this all had a happy ending, but no chance. The young lady told me (correctly) that I was stupid to get in the ring and that I deserved what I got. Unsurprisingly that ended our non-burgeoning relationship. I'd also like to tell you that this taught me a lesson about shooting my mouth off about things I know nothing about, but you all know that to be a gross untruth. Bottom line, it was just a bad idea. You've probably guessed that I've had a few of those.



Blogger JD said...

Is there anything you haven't tried? I guess I know the answer, and that's what makes your blog fun.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Jake Silver said...

I don't know if I've ever posted a comment here, but I am regular reader to this Blog and I didn't feel like just Lurking this morning.

4:30 AM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

You are so full of life! It may have been a dumb thing to do, but what a memory! You inspire me.

But NOT to box. I would never, ever, ever, ever box. Ha!!

I'm a lovah, not a fightah.

9:30 AM  

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