In anticipation of the upcoming boxing gala at my G gym, let me recount what happened at the last gala of the 2013-2014 season.
Context: My coach
Coach can best be described as having Chuck Norris’s personality mixed with Mr. T’s physical demeanor. He has silenced a class full of boxers with only a small sigh; his glare makes grown men cower. He is like a grizzly bear; big, fierce, protective and potentially dangerous.
At my first boxing fight, back in April, I was so nervous while waiting to climb into the ring, that I debated telling Coach: “you know what? Let’s not do this. I don’t need to prove anything to myself. Let’s just go have a slice of pizza.” However, it occurred to me that Coach would not find that amusing. Possibly he might slap me. I weighed carefully the likely pain resulting from 1 slap from Coach vs 3 rounds in a boxing fight. I decided I was less likely to get hurt in the boxing fight.
At the last gala at my G gym, I was nervous. It was the first time I was fighting in front of a home crowd, and I didn’t want to disappoint. After the 2nd round, I was gassed out. During the minute break between rounds, Coach asked me how I was feeling; I admitted I was tired.
I got The Look.
And then, the angry rant: “Tired?! What do you mean, tired? With the conditioning we do in class, I train you guys to be in better shape than any athlete from any other gym out there. Don’t give me any of that bullshit, of you being tired. You aren’t tired. Don’t insult me. So let me ask you again, how are you feeling?”
Well, let me see. Not tired. Definitely not tired, nope, no way.
Satisfied, Coach picked up the water bottle and gave me the tiniest sip ever. He took a long sip himself, because yelling at me had made him thirsty, so he explained. Of course, the bell for the start of the last round rang before I could have any more water. As I stood up to fight, Coach muttered a warning: “Remember, you are not tired.”
Conclusion: Coach intimidated me into winning my fight. That is why he is a great coach.
My post fight non-vanilla moment
Due to limited space at the G gym, during galas the lockers are split into the G gym locker room (normally the men’s room) and the Visiting Gyms locker room (normally the women’s room). As such, I was sharing the locker room with several male fighters at my gym; no big deal.
After my fight, I went into the locker rooms to change out of my sweaty boxing clothes into normal street clothes. Several male spectators and boxers were waiting to use the facilities; one spectator, whom I’d never seen at any of the gym’s events or classes before, exclaimed in shock that I was in the wrong locker room. I explained how the gala’s set-up required me to change in the men’s locker room; he told me I was wrong. I was a little stumped by that; another spectator (a regular attendee at the gym) confirmed that I was in the right. Stranger subsided; I proceeded to ignore him and gather my stuff out of my locker.
The locker room cleared out, only Stranger and myself remained: Stranger struck up a one-sided conversation.
“So, umm, are you a boxer or something?” Yes, yes I am.
“Oh cool! I think female athletes are sooooo hot. I bet you could kick my ass!” Thank you. Perhaps.
“How much do you weigh? Oh that’s it? I weigh 70lbs more than you. I could kick your ass!” Ok, seems probable. You win.
“I was a finalist at the Canadian University Wrestling championships, did you know? You didn’t? Oh. Well, it’s true. I am a really good athlete. Sports are so cool. And female athletes! So hot! We should wrestle together!” Oh, is that how kids are calling it these days? No, thank you.
“So, umm, you wouldn’t ever happen to do blow, would you?” Say what?
“Blow. I have some.” Umm, thank you for your kind offer, but… no.
At that point, to my relief, he climbed into the bathroom stall and closed the stall door. Just when I thought I was in the clear, and was darting across the room into the farthest possible stall, Stranger popped his head out of his bathroom stall, and asked me once again: “You sure you don’t wanna do some blow?” Upon my refusal, he shook his head wonderingly, popped his head back into the bathroom stall, and I mercifully was granted the privacy to get changed out of my sweaty clothes.
A few days later, I told Coach about the locker room incident with Stranger. Coach runs a tight ship, I thought he’d want to know.
That is the only time I have ever seen Coach at a loss for words, for several seconds: stunned that someone would dare do that at his gym!
I wonder if Stranger will make a reappearance at the upcoming gala? Boy, oh boy, I’d love to introduce him to Coach and see what would happen next. I bet even Chuck Norris would be amused by that little interaction…