Sting like a bee – go ahead, just try it! I did.
So far, it’s just me and the bag, and I’m winning. Barely. Today, we did shadow-boxing with a sparring partner. It was my first time since I took up boxing three weeks ago. Whoa, it’s a whole different story when someone swings back.
“What? Why on earth would a woman about to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of her fiftieth birthday take up boxing?!”
Why, to get in shape to be a “Playboy Bunny Ring Girl” on her birthday, of course!
It hit me at four in the morning – my eyes flew open and I ran to my laptop. Surely, there must be boxing in Santa Cruz. That’s where I got this idea in the first place. I had attended a boxing match at the Civic Auditorium right after I did the bungee jump at the Boardwalk to commemorate my forty-fifth birthday. The newspaper reporter that covered the jump – oh, yeah. I dressed up as Wonder Woman and had my nine-year-old son ride up in the cage with me – asked me, “What are you going to do to top this when your fiftieth rolls around?”
She caught me off-guard as I rarely think beyond the present moment. I blurted, “Um, be a ring girl at the boxing match.” It just came out of my mouth. And then I forgot all about it until I came across the newspaper article years later.
My daughter and I did a Wonder Woman bungee re-enactment for my last birthday, so what next? Ring girl! Yeah, that’s it. Maybe dressed as a Playboy Bunny? Sure!
I took a good look in the mirror and thought, hmmmm, how did that happen? A pudgy, soft looking woman was staring back at me. Time to take the bull by the horns. I bought a scale, a jump rope, and started going to the gym regularly. It wasn’t enough. I thought about getting a personal trainer. With my limited budget, I knew it was out of the question.
I found Santa Cruz Boxing online and called the number. I left a voicemail explaining my mission. It was only after I hung up that I thought about how that might sound to the person picking up the message. “Oh, hi. My name is CJ and I want to be a Playboy Bunny Ring Girl in Las Vegas for my seventieth birthday. I need to get in shape fast so I want to train at your gym. I have two months before the big day.”
Most people would have ignored that message deeming it a prank call. Not Brian Dunniway, owner of the gym. He didn’t blink an eye. He simply said, “Hi CJ. I got your message, and I understand your goals. When do you want to get started?”
Yeah! My kind of person. To give you an idea, he wears funny socks that say thing like “Bam” and have lightning bolts on them. His favorite expression comes from Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yeah, baby!
The first time I drove to the gym in Scotts Valley, I began to question my sanity. I thought about turning around and going home to have a Bloody Mary instead. The hardest part of taking on something new is walking through the door. So, I kept going. I intended to just watch, and then go home and forget the whole thing. I must admit, my heart was in my mouth as I walked toward the entrance for the first time.
I took a deep breath and walked in while the morning class was under way. As soon as I entered, an enthusiastic battered looking dog ran to greet me. He had scars on his face, one mutilated ear, and was wearing a blue jacket. My heart melted. He sat by my side and let me rub his head the whole time I watched the class wondering if I really wanted to do this.
Much to my surprise, the majority of the group was female. And boy, did they pack a punch! As I witnessed the dedication and power of the group, I tried to picture myself joining them. To be polite, I stayed until the end, thinking I would just slip out unnoticed.
“Hi CJ!” came the powerful yet friendly voice. “I’ll be right with you.”
No slipping out now. At the end of class, everybody gives fist bumps and says, “good job,” including Charlie, the dog.
Next thing I knew, I was signing up for the two-week trial.
To be continued…