Thursday, December 24, 2009

Life’s Little Lessons

Rick, your story brought to mind something from years ago, so I hope you don't mind if I piggyback on your story …….

Life’s Little Lessons

By Randy De La O

Back in 1993 when I was taking my son Andrew to the Brooklyn Street Gym in Boyle Heights, a guy named Troy started coming around and working out. One of the guys there started training him. The trainer was not a real boxing person but was someone who had trained in the art of Ninjitsu, a Japanese form of Martial Arts but not just limited to fighting. Troy was a black belt in Karate, I can’t remember what style, so in some ways it was a match made in heaven.. Troy was about 25 years old, 6’ 6” and was a Fabio look alike. He looked more like body builder than a fighter., he looked to weigh about 230 or so, and solid. He was a very nice guy despite the fact that he was as vain as hell. Troy and my son hit it off really well.

After a few months of learning the basic fundamentals of boxing, shadowboxing, hitting the bags and getting in shape, the day came when he was going to spar for the first time. His sparring partner that day was to be an 17 year old amateur fighter. I don’t recall his name nor did I ever hear anything about him later. The guy was somewhat small for a heavyweight, not too much taller than me but he was built like a refrigerator. Troy was really fired up that day. He invited his older brother Tory to come and see him spar.

When Andrew was done working out that day we walked over to Siete Mares (A Mexican Fish Taco Joint) and as Andrew and I were eating Troy comes bursting through the door and says to my son and I “I’m sparring today”! “Really?” I said. After he gave the run down on who he going to spar with he held up his fist he said “I’m gonna to kick this guys ass and knock him out”! He started going on and on about what he was going to do. It was starting to get ridiculous. I mentioned that he was just sparring not fighting and he should just go in there and learn but it fell on deaf ears. Andrew took a shot at it too but Troy would not be denied this great victory.

When we were done eating we walked back to the gym and Troy introduced me to his brother Tory as he was putting on his gear. I never saw a more confident guy in my life. I really felt sorry for him. So did Andrew. He stepped into the ring and started bouncing around like Ali. The other kid climbs trough the rope and a crowd gathered around the ring. Big brother Tory was just as confident as Troy.

The bell sounded and Troy came out with everything he had and missed every punch he threw as the kid moved and jab and started to land almost every punch he threw. Troy was done in the first minute. He was staggering and reeling around the gym. He didn’t have a clue. It was a pathetic showing. He had no heart for fighting and he knew it at that very second. The look on his brothers face said it all. What made it worse for Troy was that almost every person in the gym was laughing as loud and as hard as they could. The fight crowd can be heartless sometimes.

Amazingly enough he came out for the second round. He was bloodied and beaten. He was knocked down or fell from exhaustion a few times but offered nothing in return. He looked like he wanted to cry. So did big brother. It was humiliating. I felt sorry for Troy but he made the choice and the other kid had no choice but to return fire.

They stopped it in the middle of the round and some drunk from the small crowd that had gathered, filled with liquid courage, jumped into the ring and shoved Troy. Demanding to fight him at that very moment. Troy just stood there with his head down. He was as ashamed of himself as anyone I have ever seen. He avoided eye contact with Andrew and I as he said goodbye and left the gym. He couldn’t get out fast enough. Like I said, I felt sorry for the guy.

Troy never came back to the gym and I never saw him again. There were several lessons to be learned that day. I hope he learned them.

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