In about 5 years of blogging here and approximately 457 blog entries, I'm making an exception for this one because it's one of my first posts here and I am adding some content to it. Also, to make a full disclosure, some of the links in the original story needed updating, so this revised version links to the right places (until, of course, they change again, as links on the web often do).
Also, I know large blocks of italicized text can get hard to read after a while, so while I'm italicizing the revisions, I'll keep them as short as I reasonably can.
On Thursday, March 16, 2006, the Chicago Athletic Association Boxing Club held its first annual Emerald Gloves International Boxing Tournament, featuring a team of boxers from the Chicago area competing with a team of boxers visiting from Ireland. I had the opportunity and privilege to box in this event. After a recap of my bout and the event, I'll share some photos of my match.
The event was a great time. I'm still feeling pumped up and in an extraordinarily good mood, a full 3 days after the match. It was a blast. My opponent and good friend, Tim O'Connor, Esq., boxed very well and showed excellent sportsmanship. While the match was a noncompetitive exhibition, Tim and I both worked hard to use good technique and make the match a crowd pleaser. We accomplished that. I know we did because of all the positive comments we got afterward.
The audience especially liked Round 2 because Tim and I really mixed it up in that round. We each landed quite a few good, hard punches and we got lots of applause and cheers. The bout went great and I was surprised at the seemingly endless stream of positive comments I was getting for the rest of the night.
I also got to spend some time with the Irish team; they're really friendly. The guys on the Chicago team were great, too. Most boxers don't fit the negative "thug" stereotype that much of society puts on them. From time to time, one meets someone he doesn't get along very well with, but by and large boxers have been some of the most cool, likeable people I've known.
Since this epic contest, Tim has become one of my closest friends. On top of being a skillful boxer, he's a great guy and I'm happy to see the growth of his young family and his prospering at the new two-lawyer firm he co-founded a few years ago.
After the bouts on Thursday, there was plenty of food which was great: traditional Irish cuisine. My club was a combined athletic and social club that dated back to 1890 (before it closed in 2008), so we had good dining facilities, an excellent chef, and a bar right onsite! It was neat. I stayed until closing time--midnight--and then headed home. Some of the guys on the Irish team were going out with one of the local boys, but I was wiped out at that point and needed to work on Friday.
Overall, the experience was amazing. It was the first time I had boxed in public since 1997, when I participated in a fundraising event for the DuPage County Bar Association. It was an evening of amateur boxing matches where all the boxers were lawyers. That was a great time, too.
On a related subject, I also had a funny experience on Thursday. One of the doctors who was there giving medical exams was telling me about how our coach and another coach on the South Side are talking about putting together an amateur boxing fundraising event featuring doctors vs. lawyers! (I believe the plan is to raise money for one of the children's medical charities.) The doctor is about my age, size, and level of experience.
The doc asked if I'd be interested in being his opponent if the event happens. I said, "Sure, sign me up." So it was kind of a friendly challenge. We'll see what happens. Could be a fun event for a good cause. Hopefully, I didn't accept the challenge from an endorphin rush-fueled bravado that will get me into trouble here. Hehe! We'll see how it goes and find out soon enough, I guess.
Finally, below are some photos of my boxing match with Tim O'Connor on March 16. I want to thank my buddy and fellow boxer, Jeff Petersen, for telling me that these photographs were already online on Saturday. Thus, I got to see them a few days earlier than I otherwise would have. Thanks, Jeff!
In all the photos, we are wearing protective headgear so it's hard to see our handsome mugs. It's still easy to tell who I am. I am wearing the navy blue T-shirt and the gray shorts. Also, Tim is taller than I am--about 7 inches. That height difference translated into a huge reach advantage that gave me plenty of trouble. Nevertheless, I persevered; when I remembered to get in close and stay in close, near the ropes and the corners, things went well. The center of the ring was not where I wanted to be with a guy who is so much taller than me.
Luckily, my friend Mark MacLeod--a very experienced and talented amateur boxer--was coaching me in the corner and reminded me to keep things simple and focus on scoring with straight punches--double left jab and the ol' one-two--rather than trying to pull off any fancy stuff. That helped immensely. Thanks, Mark!
Enjoy the photos!
Above: I (left) block Tim O'Connor's right and prepare to counter with my right.
Above: I (right) am on defense here, blocking Tim's left hook.
Above: I (right) throw my right over Tim's left, as he prepares to block with his right.
Above: Tim (right) and I (left) both connect with left jabs.
Above: I am on left, Tim is on right.
(From left to right): Tim, the referee, Steve, and Christine (Tim's then-fiancee, and now his wife--she presented the trophies to us).
You can see more photos of my match at this Web page:
All photographs on this page were taken by Glenn Faust. Photos Copyright © 2006 by Glenn Faust. All rights reserved. Photos used here by permission of the photographer.
Glenn Faust is available to photograph other events. Please contact him through his site on SmugMug.
There are a lot more photos of this event, showing all the boxers, at the following site:
The Second Annual Emerald Gloves tournament was held on March 16, 2007, just about 5 months before our beloved club closed its doors for good. The program for the 2007 tournament included a recap of the bouts from the previous year. The writers of the program paid some compliments to Tim and me, so I'll share them here.
"Bout #1 Exhibition Tim O’Connor / Blue [corner] vs. Steve Imparl / Red [corner]Ah, yes, what a great time it was. On the night our boxing team had its final workout and an informal dinner afterward, with the help of a few beers, I was waxing rhapsodic about my bout with Tim. At the close of that August 2007 evening, I walked through the club's Grill Room one last time with another good friend and member of the boxing team, Bill O'Connell. Bill and I strolled over the area where the boxing ring had been just about a year and a half earlier.
"2 attorneys and everyday friends, battled it out in the ring rather than the courtroom. They took the audience by surprise with their skill and all out effort. The roaring crowd declared a tie."
As we took our time walking, I told Bill that I felt I had really become solid friends with Tim in that very spot, as a result of my boxing match with Tim on the night of the first Emerald Gloves tourney. I had always respected Tim, but I think that intense bout between us really cemented our friendship. I'm grateful for my friendships with Tim and Bill. They have proved to be fine friends during times of needs, so I am richly blessed to have them in my life.
Glenn Faust has posted photos of the second, and final tournament in 2007.
Bill and another friend, Kevin McIntyre, proved themselves both quite handy with the gloves during their bout at the 2007 tournament. They boxed well and put on a memorable bout.
In this photo, from left to right: Kevin McIntyre, our coach Bernard O'Shea, and Bill O'Connell.
Those were indeed some great times and they still grace me with fond memories and enduring friendships.