Busy, busy weekend. I went to Belfast, New York to the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame annual induction ceremony. They were featuring trainers this year and yours truly was honored with special recognition for having trained there last September and the coach/teacher thing. I was both humbled and honored to accept the recognition. I did feel a little out of place, however. There were four former world champions and several former and current title contenders in the crowd. The little contribution I've made to the boxing game doesn't really amount to that much but I accepted the award on behalf of myself and all the other guys who are or have been doing the same thing. Jimmy gave me a nice little introduction and Scott Burt from the BKBHF presented me with a pair of Indian clubs with the Hall of Fame logo inset into them.
It was very nice and I really appreciate the recognition for what I've done. I've now had my 15 minutes worth of fame.
We left for Belfast Friday morning for the long drive and even though my ass was getting sore about the time I was crossing into Pennsylvania, it was also about the time my retirement became official. That in itself was enough to put a smile on my face the whole weekend. After the induction breakfast on Saturday morning, Jimmy and Tim "The Bleeder" from our gym put on a little boxing exhibition for the crowd with Tim living up to his Bleeder moniker. Belfast was also celebrating their Irish heritage with their Festival Days. Jimmy's band, Double Vision, played for the street dance and volunteered their equipment for the talent contest. For a small town there's no shortage of talent.
Sunday morning Livingstone Bramble and Billy Backus, both former world champions, narrated fight films of their world title fights. Absolutely incredible that two former world champions showed up in this little town and people had the opportunity to watch the fight footage with them and ask questions about the fights. No big crowd to contend with. There were photos available that they were happy to sign for you. (Myself, I had all the heavy hitters autograph my invitation to the event. That's going to get framed.) Both of the former champions were extremely nice and seemed to feel at home in Belfast. That town just seems to have that effect on people.
There was also the 5K Ramble with Bramble run/walk on Sunday morning. Tim's goal was to beat Bramble in the run. He accomplished that but Monday he was so stiff and sore it took him about 5 minutes to get out of the truck every time we stopped. I was the male "race walk" winner. There was only one fast walker in the group and she and I walked together for the last half of the race. It felt good to be able to compete again, such as it was. My time was about a minute quicker than the one I did right before I had the heart attack. I walked about as fast as I could go without breaking into the silly race walker mode. I got a chance to see Annie at the race, which was nice. She was the young lady who ran with Jimmy last September when we were training there. She's training for another marathon in October, bless her pretty little heart.
Sunday afternoon was spent at Pollywogg Holler. Double Vision played all afternoon and everyone had a great time. The weather was great, the music was great, the people were great. It looks like the band will be back next year again.
Tim and I slept in the barns again this year. I only heard one unexplainable noise this year, unlike all the crazy things we heard in September when we were there. Apparently the ghosts are comfortable with us spending nights in the barns. This year they added a statue of William Muldoon to the grounds to complement the statue of John L. Sullivan that's there. If you are a boxing fan, you owe it to yourself to show up out there in Belfast for induction weekend.
Tim and I headed out early on Monday for the ten hour trip back home. We were pulling the U-Haul with all the band equipment so now I can add Roadie to my resume. The trip was certainly one for the books and I'm extremely grateful to Jimmy and Scot Burt for my special recognition. The people of Belfast were great, like always, and the boxers were an inspiration to all of the young fighters like Tim.
On a completely different note, if any of you weldors out there are looking for a teaching job in the Midwest, I got this in an e-mail this morning: Byron Ernest, the principle of Emmerich Manual H.S. in Indianapolis, is looking for a full-time welding instructor. If you’re interested, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
More Belfast coverage to come.