I want this.
I lay my damp red and black hand wraps linger patiently across the stair bannister in the hall. They hang quietly near the ever-still golden pathos that hangs from the second floor to the first in the gap of the stairwell.
At the gym tonight our jump ropes beat the mats at intervals, sometimes in tandem, as rain pat pat pats on a corrugated roof. Tonight was different though. It was the last night of the gym before the fights.
Everything was the last time before the fights.
Last combat conditioning.
Last bags and pad work.
Before that it was the last time I'd visit my grandmother who has no idea I have a fight coming up.
Last chiropractor appointment.
Last massage tonight from a teammate Jake.
There is no smell to the gym. Coach Wally works hard to keep everything clean so somehow there are little to no dust bunnies in the corners and we wipe the mats down every night.
After sparring was over, we all reconvened in a circle. There was three of us four fighters there tonight doing pads since the hard sparring was over last week. Everyone there went around and told each fighter something they'd notice that could help them in their fight.
Malik has been a stand-out this fight camp. At nineteen, a sometimes rugby player, Nas afficionado, and a recruit in the Rochester Firefighter academy, he never seems to get tired. He encourages us all and focuses us. He's incredibly obnoxious when he wants to be in your face during sparring with his long arms making him impossible to retaliate on with anything but kicks.
That is about the only thing I remember my teammates mentioning. Half of them I hadn't sparred with much but they remembered my kicks. Coach and a couple vets also mentioned that I'll have fun in the ring, hinting that I seem to have enjoyed the grind of this camp. It wasn't too bad until last week.
Tonight I left the gym at 156.2 so had salmon, spinach, a few slices of tomato, hummus, and a yellow pepper for dinner. I was supposed to cut out all water at noon today but sipped the last quart throughout the night. After leaving the gym almost at-weight I guzzled a raw coconut water, sipped the last of any drops left in the splay of quart mason jars scattered in my car.
The thirst that sets in makes you go a little mad. It presses on your comfort level "I deserve this" nerve the way a person pushes on a sore muscle. At first it's fine, then it feels a little good, and then it gets worse and you begin to writhe like a worm on a hook.
I was done tonight. Like so over thai pads that always slide off my arms. Over the feeling of having to pee but can't anymore because my body already has a lot of water in it but is also beginning to dehydrate.
One other thing Coach Wally mentioned is, "You'll finally get to spar with a girl." And a couple guys chimed in that she won't hit as hard as Wally's hit me or some of the other guys have. She seems aggressive but Wally hits pretty fucking hard. A lot of the guys do. I am EXCITED.
Just have to make sure I make weight tomorrow night.