We arrived in Louisiana on Sunday after the "interesting" drive down. Joe didn't have to fight until Tuesday, so we had a chance to get settled in and relax a bit. The fights started Monday with half the weight classes, the others having to weigh in and compete on Tuesday. Weigh-in went well - never a worry with Joe. I was a little concerned because I didn't get my passbook signed. Apparently it wasn't an issue because rather than initialing the book, they had little stickers printed up but they weren't distributed until Thursday.
Joe's fight was good, other than the outcome. He lost a 3-2 decision. I had him winning the first round by a close margin, losing the second round and then winning the third round by a huge margin. He must have hit his opponent with 100 jabs the last round snapping his head back each time. I would have scored it a 10-8 round if I was judging, but of course, that's not how it works. Joe took the loss well. He was disappointed, naturally enough, but he was extremely well pleased with his performance, as well he should have been. It was the best he's ever fought. Most everyone one on the team believed he should have won, including Sugar Ray Seales who came along in a coaching capacity. If you don't recognize that name, Seales was a Gold Medal Olympian and a serious middleweight contender. He knows boxing.
Sugar Ray has taken a shine to Joe and offered up a lot of good advice to both Joe and I. Two pearls of wisdom that stuck with me were: "When you're doing nothing, do something." "When your coach tells you to run three miles, run three for your coach and then one for yourself."
There seemed to be a lot of split decisions at the tourney, including 4-1 decisions. It makes you wonder what the judges are looking at if four of them score it for one fighter and one of them scores it for his opponent. Also one of our fighters was involved with a dirty fighter in his bout. The opposing fighter head butted him, put his forearm across his throat, he even hopped up so he could hit our guy with a shoulder under the chin. The referee didn't call the other fighter on any of the infractions and our fighter totally lost his cool. Needless to say, that didn't turn out well. The opposing fighter got his comeuppance the following night but that didn't help our guy since he was already eliminated. I came away from the fights a little perplexed. It's hard to coach someone when you don't know the criteria the judges are using to score the fight. I know what they're supposed to be. It just didn't seem like there was any consistency to the scoring.
The Indiana Golden Gloves franchise is nothing but the greatest in its treatment of the fighters and their coaches. They gave us a very generous per-diem for our meals and they were very generous with the travel money. They're always professional and it's a pleasure working with all of them. Also they have scholarship money available for fighters that can be used for college or trade school. All you have to do is compete in the Indiana Golden Gloves and fill out the paperwork. If you're from the northwest corner of the state, get in touch with me and we'll get you in shape to fight next year so you can help defray your education expenses.
All in all, it was a great experience for both Joe and I. Next year's event will be held in Omaha - hoping to be there!
P.S. I wasn't able to participate in the 5K race walk due to going to Louisiana but I looked up the results. I definitely would have won an age division award. They were giving medals out for the top three finishers and there was only one contestant in my age group. Would have finished no lower than second. Actually, he had a pretty slow place, so I should have been able to easily win my age group. No complaints, though. Not often do you get a chance to compete at the national level in amateur boxing.