River City Jules: The next Rocky … or not

My friend, Jill, makes the most marvelously addictive fried fondue balls. I know this because I ate no less than 200 of them at bunko last month.

This unleashing of my not-so-inner turophile, along with an upcoming vacation and the bikini I plan to pack, inspired me to try a conditioning session at a nearby boxing club.

Hands wrapped and gloved, I joined the rest of the class in the grid of hanging punching bags while the music blared.

I opted for a spot near the front where our instructor, Jim, led us in a simple jab-jab-punch, an Apollo Creed-inspired move I recalled mastering during my Tae Bo phase in the ‘90’s. He quickly took notice of my technique.

“Jab twice with your right hand and once with your left,” he said, demonstrating a move that was, apparently, not identical to what I had just been doing.

I turned to the bag and hit it so hard it flew two, if not three, inches.

Impressed with my own Drago-like strength, I jab-jab-punched the snot out of that bag for the entire three-minute round.

“Now you’re going to jab-jab-punch-cross,” he announced. “Keep your heels up.”

I jab-jab-punch-crossed with all of my might until Jim came back over.

“Make sure you move your feet and dance around the bag,” he said. “Think about Ali and float like a butterfly.”

I nodded as if I could do that but instead stumbled awkwardly around the bag while a clearly more seasoned gentleman a couple of bags over chuckled.

After two rounds, the sweat was pouring. I was ready to throw in the towel, but my own personal Mickey was far from done with this (consolation) prize-fighter.

“Thirteen rounds to go, let’s do it!” he exclaimed, giving us increasingly more complicated combinations and offering me remedial instruction each time until I sidled to the back of the room after a water break.

I resumed the boxer’s stance at my new bag and continued kicking, punching and ducking just like Rocky (had he been a 40-year-old woman) as “Eye of the Tiger” thumped on, but instead of feeling the rush of beating Clubber Lang to the canvas, my legs and arms were turning to Jell-o.

“Boxing match is over!” Jim shouted, shaking his head when he spied me hiding in the back, “Time for abdominals!”

Never had I been so excited to work my abs, for this was an opportunity to finally lie down.

Face up on the padded floor, medicine ball in hands and crunching like there was no tomorrow, I knew for the first time since throwing that first punch that I had knocked out at least one thing — my ability to walk for the next three days.

But I also knew I had prevailed. While I might not have knocked out all the fondue balls, I had most definitely gone the distance.


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