What do we preach here at BoomerCafé? Be active, stay young. But really! Our friend from Redondo Beach, California, Erin O’Brien, takes it to the max, as she writes in this story she calls, Teacher Becomes Student (or Becoming a Knock-out Without Getting Knocked Out).
“Go ahead, hit me.”
I can only stare at him.
“It’s O.K.,” he assures me.
Unconvinced, I stand motionless.
“I know it’s hard, because … well, we’re friends.”
He also has a nice face, I think, but I raise my pink boxing gloves and lightly tap him with a left jab.
Then I apologize.
“I’ve never hit anyone before,” I confess, “except for once in my 20s, I hit a guy with my purse when he grabbed my arm.” He smiles. Now I suppose I can say, “Here, hold my purse,” before I take someone down.
At 8:00 in the morning, whereas I used to be saying the Pledge of Allegiance with my class, now I’m unrolling my hand-wraps to suit up for kickboxing. (My trainer is even younger than my podiatrist.)
Checking my stance, he instructs me to stand sideways to be a smaller target.
Then he asks if I have asthma. “No, just catching my breath.”
He was impressed when I arrived one morning with a plastic cup and straw that I could manage easily with my gloves. “I felt like I was in the hospital the first time when you had to give me a drink.”
My lessons have progressed from drills to combinations to sparring. Bobbing and weaving, slipping punches, it’s more than a workout. It’s anticipating my opponent’s next move and testing my reflexes. My stamina improves with each lesson.
Today’s workout includes an invisible jump rope. I chant one of the jump rope rhymes I learned on the playground, and heard years later while on yard duty.
When my trainer says, “Good job,” I feel like a kid again with a gold star on my paper. I like being the student for a change. There’s even homework: push-ups against a wall, fifty jab-crosses, jump rope for five minutes, fifty upper cuts, jump rope, fifty hooks, jump rope.
At least I’ll have a few days to recover.