Archive for January, 2012

31
Jan
12

Miracles happen, Ishika Lay on the road to recovery!

Miracles happen, Ishika Lay on the road to recovery!

Back in October at the 2011 PAL Championships as Ishika Lay lapsed into a coma in critical condition at St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, her family, friends and the boxing world worried that she might not recover.

Ishika Lay in Recovery, Photo: Florida Times Union

Ishika Lay, a consummate athlete who had been well on her way towards a berth in the upcoming Olympic Trials, has turned the proverbial tide, and while she has lost her shot at representing the United States this year, she is well on the way towards recovery nearly four months later.

It is believed that Ishika Lay suffered from Second-Impact Syndrome. While not as well-known as other head injuries, Second-Impact Syndrome occurs when an athlete already reeling from a blow  actually succumbs to a second blow days or even weeks afterwards. As in Ishika Lay’s case, she had taken a shot while sparring ten days before, and had even complained of headaches, but had otherwise not been encouraged to see a doctor or in anyway treat her symptoms.

In her first PAL bout, the likely winner of the contest, she was never hit hard, but athletes suffering from Second-Impact Syndrome can fall horribly ill even from the lightest of impacts due to the fact that their brains haven’t had a chance to recover from the initial impact. This is the likely scenario that felled Ishika Lay.

As noted in Garry Smits article entitled Women’s Boxer Ishika Lay recovers after coma,  the mantra “when in doubt sit it out,” must become the new normal in boxing.  In Ishika Lay’s case, while it would have meant disappointment at being scratched from her PAL match, she wouldn’t have otherwise undergone her life-threatening ordeal.

Thankfully, Ishika Lay is on the road to recovery with thrice weekly rehabilitation on an outpatient basis at a hospital near  her home in Florida, and lots of additional therapy at home with her mother.

Girlboxing sends lots of love Ishika’s way with the sure knowledge that she is being remembered in a lot of prayers.

Links:

Women’s Boxer Ishika Lay recovers after coma (Florida Times Union.com)

Second Impact Syndrome (Good overview from sportsmd.com )

Second Impact Syndrome (National Institute of Health)

30
Jan
12

Women Box!

Women Box!

Bertha Aracil, Photo: Sue Jaye Johnson

The specter of the debut of women’s boxing at the upcoming 2012 Olympics has led to a plethora of interest in the sport!

“Women who box love it for the same reason guys do, boxing requires intense physical and psychological discipline, the ability to overcome fear and anger.” – Morning Edition

Franchon Crews, Photo: Sue Jaye Johnson

This weekend NPR opened a series on women’s boxing which aired on Sunday’s Morning Edition. The piece is wonderfully affirming and I encourage everyone to listen to it and to read the accompanying article.

The first installment, entitled ‘I Am A Boxer’: Fighter In The Ring, Lady Outside It  includes sensitive interviews with boxer Bertha Aracil and other fighters vying for an Olympic berth at the upcoming Olympic Trials in Spokane, Washington next month.  The piece also gets to the heart of gender, an issue that continues to dog the place of women in the sport.  The series is co-produced by Marianne McCune and photographer Sue Jaye Johnson.

Link: ‘I Am A Boxer’: Fighter In The Ring, Lady Outside It (First installment)

Link: Why Would A Woman Box (Article published on WNYC’s website)

Sue Jaye Johnson’s video and photo essay, Bout Time in The New York Times Magazine section was also published yesterday and is another “must read” piece.

Link:  Bout Time

Oh, and in case you need any reminding, women have been boxing for a LONG, LONG time. The following is from Pierce Egan’s book Boxiana: Or Sketches of Ancient & Modern Pugilism, published originally published in 1830!

29
Jan
12

Facing the new.

Facing the new.

Marlen Esparza, Photo: Rose Arce/CNN

I liken a fight to a blank page. Entering the ring, a boxer’s body and mind stand at the ready as so many remembered movements much as a writer sits poised with words and syntax.  It’s what happens next that is remembered. The boxer will engage in an improvised pas-de-deux with her opponent while the writer will engage her thoughts and ideas to fashion words into hoped for coherent and readable prose.

Given that I am wearing my writer’s mantle today, I am trying to work through the momentary panic of that blank space.  As with any creative endeavor — whether the improvisation of a boxer’s dancing feet or a trumpeter’s trill — the way thoughts form on the page seem miraculous.  Yes, they are based on deep knowledge of words and syntax and perhaps even a clear “plan” of attack likened to a boxer’s plan to stick and pull back, or the trumpeter’s competencies with B-flat.  However, the blank page of a writer can also represent the open road without a road map.  It is the moment of facing down newness. Words without a plan. A space that can take a writer anywhere the imagination feels like going.

Such is my day today.  My writing has no agenda.  Like shadow boxing on a Monday night without a trainer, I can take it where ever I want it to go.  I can stick with one thing or write tons of fanciful little ditties.  Such is my luck today — even as I swallow back that momentary taste of bile that anxiety always seems to bring!

 

28
Jan
12

Big days, little days.

Big days, little days.

Some days are filled with big things and others have the “usual suspects.”  The same it seems with working out: peppy for two or three training sessions in a row and then the dogs. We’re talking no energy, no pop and not so much going through the motions as just having no energy to get where you want to go!

I had one of those mornings at Gleason’s Gym today.  Sure, I did my sweet 16 (four rounds each of shadow boxing, pad work, double-ended bag and speed bag), but did I ever have to work for them.  Lennox kept shaking his head saying, “wake up, girl!” And maybe that helped because I did manage to bring it towards the end with two hopped up rounds on the double-ended bag and some serious da-da-da-da / da-da-da-da on the speed bag.

In analyzing it later, I realized that part of the problem is I’m still not doing enough during the week to keep the momentum up for a meaningful Saturday session.  A clue on how to do that in an otherwise busy life came from my old Peace Corps buddy Mark who had a post on Facebook today proclaiming that he’d hit his goal of 1,000 sit-ups in a week.

I thought, “1,000!?!  That is a lot!.”  Breaking it down to daily increments, however, brought it more in line with what actual humans can achieve! Reading further, Mark wrote about his formula for success: starting at just 130 for the first week until he had brought himself along to 1,000.

Given that I struggled through my 100 sit-ups this morning at the gym (having only done 20 all week) — it occurred to me that if I followed Mark’s formula of defining weekly goals, it might get me off my tush and into a regular daily sit-up routine. Not wanting to set the mark too high for myself the first week, I’ve settled on accomplishing 300 between Sunday and Friday.  That means 50 a day — meaning about 10 minutes!  Seen that way, there is no way I shouldn’t be able to achieve it.  The same thing for push-ups — or my version of them which means on my knees or against a bar at this point.  Sure, I did 20 today at the gym (in two sets of 10 each), but it was hard and strained my shoulder.  So there again, I’ve decided on setting a goal between Sunday and Friday.  I’m staring off with 60, that means 10 a day — or another 5 minutes a day at most!

Summed together, if I give myself a mere 15 minutes a days, I can meet my weekly goal and have sacrificed nothing. No excuses here!

Kudos to Mark for a great idea!

27
Jan
12

Itching to fight in the Olympics!

Itching to fight in the Olympics!

Claressa Shields (r) and Andrecia Wasson, Photo: Sue Jaye Johnson

What with the first-ever Women’s Boxing Olympic Trials set to commence February 13, 2012 at the Northern Quest Resort outside of Spokane, Washington, it is wonderful to see the media begin to wake-up to the wonders of these remarkable young athletes.  (BTW, click here for ticket information.)

This seven-day event will feature 24 athletes competing in the three Olympic weight classes:  featherweight, lightweight and middleweight, in a double elimination format.  Winners, one from each weight class, will earn the right to represent the United States in what USA Boxing has called “the lone international Olympic qualifier, the 2012 Women’s World Championships” set to occur in May in China. In order to qualify for the Olympics — they will have to have landed in the top eight!

Recent press articles and pieces have included the following all of which are well worth the read!

The New York Times has a piece by Sue Jaye Johnson entitled, Bout Time.  It features video and slide shows of three Olympic hopefuls: Claressa Shields, 16, Flint, Michigan, Alex Love, 22, Monroe, Washington, and Tiara Brown, 23, Fort Myers, Florida. The images are just great.  The link is here.

Tyrieshia Douglas, WNYC, Sue Jaye Johnson

WNYC-AM radio has put together a series entitled Women Box: Fighting to Make History, that includes two slides show pieces. Boxing Toward the Olympics features a mix of four wonderful photos of Olympic hopefuls.  Tyrieshia Douglas offers a 16-slide photo essay of her efforts. All of the photos are by photographer Sue Jaye Johnson.  WNYC will also host an event at The Greene Space in New York City on February 10 featuring a conversation about women boxers with Rosie Perez, a 16 year old Olympic hopeful and a four-time world champion.

Queen Underwood, The Spokesman Review, Dan Pelle/AP

Seattle’s own Queen Underwood has featured in an article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer entitled Seattle boxer preparing for U.S. Olympic team trials for women’s boxing  by John Blanchette.  The piece gives an overview of what Queen has been up to in her quest for a lightweight berth.

Meanwhile, we all still await the AIBA’s final decision on whether boxing skirts will be a necessary part of their uniforms.  As if!

 

26
Jan
12

Smelling the roses!

Smelling the roses!

“Where has the day gone?” seems to be a popular mantra lately.  Just replace the word “day” with “week” or “month” or “year” and one sees a snapshot of how most of us interact with our daily lives.  We perceive of ourselves as working too hard with too much to do and have a language that reflects our sense of how so much of our days are spent in unwanted toil.

The classic example is the expression “hump day.”  For the nine-to-five office workers that means Wednesday, an otherwise stalwart of elevator conversation as in “well at least it’s hump day.”  This presumes a sort of misery in the world of work that carries over into the too tired, too grumpy, not enough time mindset of after-five, when one’s world seems to revolve around commuting, grocery shopping, making dinner, engaging with children at varying levels — and oh yeah, interacting with one’s significant other who is often in the same place.

I guess I’m on this theme because I find myself fighting the trend. I’m literally trying to smell roses when I find them — and if they’re not there, the memory of when they are in bloom.  My favorite spot is about two blocks from my house.  In the summer and well into the autumn they form a lovely banister of color as I make my way to Gleason’s on Saturday mornings.  I’ll walk along past the Farmer’s Market and there they’ll be, dozens and dozens of pink roses with deep pink tinges in varying states of bloom, some tiny and forming, others full, and still more languidly open drawing in the last drops of sunshine till they fade and fall.

I bring all of this up because I feel that many of us forget that there is beauty in the little things.  Perhaps even in the things one sees everyday:  the way the light hits the array of plants in someone’s office window, a co-worker’s twinkle at regaling a story of her infant son’s smile, the triumph in someone’s eyes after completing 300 sit-ups.

All of these things are reminders that life is made up of moments: some are lovely and some are admittedly hard to grapple with or even sad, but still, they make up the textured interlacing of experiences that form our days.  Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that they are there even when we can’t see them. I for one am trying to live that way again.

25
Jan
12

Wordless Wednesday, 1/25/2012

Wordless Wednesday, 1/25/2012

Fire in the Ring, June 2011

Wordless Wednesday is a group of bloggers who give words a rest once a week.




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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