Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Back In The Ring

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I just got punched in the face. By a professional. It felt pretty darn good!

Many moons ago, when I lived in the northeast neighborhoods of Minneapolis, my old buddy Johnny and I started working out at Uppercut Boxing Gym. We enjoyed taking lessons and hanging with the tough guys (and girls, the gym was and is run by a woman), but we never had any illusions of stepping into the ring.

Training to box helped me lose a few pounds as well as take out a bit of agression in a somewhat productive fashion. When we moved to Moorhead after Baby Boots (Dylan’s fetal nickname) arrived, I was disappointed to find there were no boxing gyms in the F-M area.

Over the years I have collected various pieces for my home gym including hand wraps, gloves, sparring equipment, a double end bag, a speed bag, and my boxing robot, Slam Man (aka Slammy). It is a lot of fun to wrap up my hands, blast the tunes, and work it out on the bags. Dylan and Julia enjoy boxing as well. Dylan and I have an elaborate routine involving me on my knees in the black headgear and he with the red. We trade punches until one of us decides to fall down, the other begins counting to ten, then the fallen one hurriedly gets up and the action continues. Inevitably, after a few falls, the ten-count is reached and I boom in my best boxing announcer voice that the winner and undisputed champion is Dylan…Michael…Brannnnnnnnnndoooooonnnnnnnn!

Now I get to box with the big boys again thanks to the Golden Eagle Boxing Club. It is fun to work out on my own, but there is something special about hanging out with the type of dedicated athlete who is drawn to boxing. The gym is somewhat sparse, and the do-it-yourself ring is not yet complete, but it feels great to enjoy the camaraderie and encouragement of other fighters.

I explained several times that I was there for the workout, not to spar or prepare for an amateur bout, but the professional boxer who was going round after round with all of the guys was insistent. “I’ll take it easy, I adjust my punches to the fighter,” he assured me. True to his word he did a great job of not knocking me out while making sure to wake me up with shots to the head when I opened up my guard. We only went a single two minute round. Did you know that two minutes can be a long time?

Space Is Time

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

Mt. Ever Rest

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

“Oh, sick! That one still looks alive,” Corey stage whispered. At these altitudes, yelling was saved for your own life and death struggle, not those of the bodies littering the slopes of Mt. Everest. When we initially agreed to undertake the most arduous trek imaginable, we had no idea how much it would cost, or how many had died attempting to reach the summit.

I had written down my “bucket list” at Corey’s suggestion, three things I wanted to do before I died. Outrageous things. Things not to be shared with others at the risk of ridicule. He wrote his down as well, proceeding to tell me about his goals in great detail. We matched on two out of three, skydiving and climbing Mt. Everest. I did not share his passion for menage a trois, and kept my third goal to myself.

Skydiving was accomplished the next day. A real rush to be sure, but it was mostly a chance for us to discuss our epic journey to the Himalayas. We would take massive loans from our retirement plans, obtain top of the line equipment and training, and hire the best Sherpa guides available. We didn’t know about the bodies.

Most of them are very well preserved, nearly all wearing the brightly colored parkas and cutting edge mountaineering equipment of their day. Some are famous, like that of George Mallory, who fell to his death in 1924. Some are recent and anonymous, like the one we had just about stepped on.

“She could have made it if she had more oxygen,” Corey offered by way of sympathy. She lay on her back, no frostbite visible on her well-formed face. A stark warning of what might happen to us.

“Help me,” she croaked. “O two.”

“Shit! She’s alive!” Corey yelled as we both stumbled away from the non-corpse. “What are we gonna do?” he asked.

“Well, we sure as hell aren’t going to save her,” I began. “We are not going to turn back after coming this far, and there is no way we are gonna give her one of our oxygen tanks just so she can live another forty minutes. Besides, no one helped all these others on the way up, and she wouldn’t have stopped for us had the situation been reversed.”

“Crap, you are so cold. But right. You should say something to her at least, I don’t think I can handle it but someone’s got to say something, right?”

“I’ll take care of it. You go on ahead, we’ve wasted enough time already.”

As soon as my friend was out of sight, I approached the undead woman. She did not attempt to speak again, but her eyes reiterated her request. “O two” she had pleaded, “O two”.

I knelt beside her and rummaged in my pack, pulling out a piece of paper and a small tank of oxygen. Corey was long gone, he would never know about the tank. Gripping it tightly, I raised it high above my head, mouthed the words “thank you” to the woman, then smashed down once with all of my weight and conviction.

I stood, held the paper in both hands, and triumphantly made a mental checkmark after the third item on my list. If the mountain got me now, at least I would die complete.