Judy Spooner: ‘How can you like boxing?’ asked husband GaryHusband Gary is perplexed and he has reason to be.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Husband Gary is perplexed and he has reason to be.
I dislike violence. I don’t watch the so-called “funniest” videos because someone eventually gets hurt. I even complain about credit card commercials featuring Viking warriors.
So how does this fit with my interest in boxing?
For one thing, I don’t like professional boxing where the only goal is to maim an opponent.
I enjoy watching amateur boxing where heads and crucial body parts are protected.
Professionals “fight” and amateurs “box” according to Olympic rules that mandate “clean” hits to certain body areas only.
The attraction to boxing started when I was very young.
My Grandpa Booth, my father’s dad, took me to Golden Glove boxing matches when I was 4 and 5 years old. He told me not to tell my mother where we had been and I never did.
Perhaps she caught on when I asked questions about boxing matches. If she did, she never said anything about it.
Boxing clubs were mysterious places to me.
All of that came back to me when I accompanied Veid Muiznieks, known to most of you as Newport’s police chief, to Golden Glove Region I competition in northeast Minneapolis on March 14. I was writing a story about his passion for amateur boxing and how he attained his status as a judge.
The UpperCut Boxing Gym is not in the best part of northeast Minneapolis. There were no Mercedes Benz cars in the parking areas.
But that’s been the case since Golden Glove competition started in 1923, according to information on the Internet and my observations.
There’s a reason for that. Boxing clubs are places disadvantaged young boys can go. In trying to be like older and more experienced boxers, they stay out of trouble and learn to channel and control their anger.
In matches, even though your opponent is your best friend, you do your best. When the match is over, you congratulate him if he wins and hold the ropes apart while he leaves the ring.
Boxers who gloat, grandstand or are poor sports do not get matches. They don’t “belong” and everyone knows it.
I liked the people I met at UpperCut. They have a strong sense of community and rooted for boxers they knew.
In a way, the gym looked like scenes from “Rocky,” and similar movies. There were weights, punching bags and exercise equipment.
There was a smell in the gym that I couldn’t identify. It wasn’t sweat as you might assume, but something else.
It was a combination of odors from an old factory building and oils used to soften leather.
Between rounds, assistant trainers moved stools into the corner for their boxer, along with buckets for spit. The stools looked like they were a hundred years old.
I believe each match has its own character and environment, as if it were taking place inside a plastic bubble.
“It’s beautiful,” said one of the ringside judges.
“I agree,” I said. “It’s a ballet of endurance set to the music of toughness.”