Saturday, October 27, 2007

Friday Night: Halloween Party Massacre

Haha, first check out the picture in the SLNN article previewing the night's festivities. I'm not sure whether Mr. Mullen is displaying his ability to laugh at himself, or if he's fixated on the whuppin' Buffy gave him. Either way, it's a funny shot (but if - and only if - it is the latter: Dude. She won. Suck it up and move forward.)


And that pretty much sets the tone for the night. Cash prizes aside, it was all about fun and games at Averlast gym on Friday. The matches consisted of free-for-alls with as many boxers in the ring as could be found. As an extra added bonus, audience members had a couple of free-for-alls of their own, which was a bit of comedy in their own right.

So anyone looking for drama and finely crafted narrative in regard to last Friday had best look elsewhere. It was a party, pure and simple.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More on this later...

... but in the meantime check out this poster:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Friday Tournament: New Lightweight Champion

So Friday was the object of every bit of stress in my life for the past two weeks: The video card burning out, thus exiling me from SL for the time being, ordering its replacement through my favorite online vendor (forget buying one in a store, prices being what they are), the waiting, and the struggle to get it properly configured to my system once it got here. Normally I'm good with hardware, but this thing was beating me 'round the barn and back again for a good three hours.

All told, that left me, oh, a day and a half to get back in the swing of things (so to speak) before the fight. Not the rosiest of scenarios.

And given my penchant for getting the screaming heebie-jeebies (yes, that's a technical term) on fight night, it really made what happened that evening even more extraordinary. I found myself being calmed and talked down from my case of jangled nerves by the unlikeliest of people, if one tends to view what goes on at Averlast through the lens of conventional competition: My opponent in the main event, Alma Despres.

As I've blogged elsewhere, Alma and I have talked before, and I find her to be an interesting and likeable person. And that night, while waiting our turn, we just talked and talked.

Now, if there's one thing that I've been told about my approach to fighting at Averlast, it's that I take it too seriously. Hence the knotted-up stomach and pounding heart at 4 PM SLT on a given Friday. I was also told that it was a trait I shared with Alma, but she was in a good place that night. Calm and collected. The more we talked, the more she passed the feeling on to me.

We weren't silly. We didn't talk trash. When we talked about the match or its possible aftermath we didn't say "when I win", but rather "if I win", and even "if I lose".

And, most importantly of all, we promised each other two things: That when the bell rang, we would give each other our best, and that when it was over, whatever happened would stay in the ring.

Oddly, the prospect of beating the snot out of each other made us better friends.

When the announcements were made, a final calm seemed to wash over the both of us, a sense of inevitability. And when the bell sounded at last, we went to war like lifelong enemies.

I had to do my best against her. It would have been an insult not to. She responded in kind, and we even managed to knock each other out of the ring at the same time.

In the second round, I had accumulated the eight ring-outs required to score a win by KO. I think I was as surprised as anyone that I had done it. I was the new Averlast Lightweight Champion. The final bell rang, the announcement was made, and I put on the belt.

And then Alma and I went back to talking. We had kept our word, and left it in the ring.

I like Alma. More importantly, I respect her, both as an opponent and as a friend.

She's hit a bad patch of losses of late thanks to an inconvenient layoff from the ring, but I know now that she's made of sterner stuff. With time and practice, I know someday I'll be facing my friend again, and we'll again keep our word to give each other our best, and leave it in the ring when it's over.

I don't think I'll be getting a second KO off of her.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Those goddamn bunnies.

Fox kills all theatrical showings of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical, "Once More With Feeling", which, to go by the evidence in the article, had started well on its way to becoming a Rocky Horror*-like phenomenon.


* - Another Fox property, coincidentally.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Going on now.

This is the last post on this subject, but I hate this. I hate not knowing what's going on. Hell, I barely even know who's fighting tonight.

I hate this.

I hope I can get that new card next week, because I don't know how much more of being out of the loop I can stand. Certainly not another week.

Funny, how a few months ago I didn't even know about Averlast or any of the people in it. Now it's like I'm missing a piece of me for not being there.

OK, this is weird.

I'm jittery right now, even though my last cup of coffee is a good seven hours in my past. My stomach's a-flutter, and I'm feeling a little nervous. All normal for me on Tournament Friday.

Small problem: As anyone who's read the past couple of posts knows, thanks to insurmountable hardware issues, I can't even log in to SL. And forget joining the tournament. I've known this for almost a week now. So why is my body keying up like I'm going in tonight?

Looks like good fun tonight, too. With newcomers joining the action, and a much-anticipated title match, this is probably the one night I didn't want to miss.

Ye gods, how I envy anybody going tonight. I mean that. Envy. Possibly hatred. But definitely envy.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Filling the empty spaces.

No pre-tourney jitters for me this week. A burned-out video card saw to that.

While it's certainly one way to keep an unbeaten streak going, an unexpected absence from the ring was not how I'd planned to spend my week.

I'm still trying to keep a hand in, though. After a little fiddling with my xorg.conf file, I was able to get into my computer again, and started working on some trunks designs I had in mind (and also were independently suggested by Derrick Cult). I threw a few together and sent them off to Karine for her thoughts. I haven't heard back yet, but, unlike me, Karine has a ton of things to do the day before a tournament.

Then there's also the official Averlast boards, which I help with. As moderating jobs go, I've had worse. But it could do with a few more people joining into the conversation. If you haven't registered yet, why don'tcha give it a shot? And if you are registered but haven't had much to say, please speak up! Just ignore the rotating knives and the hungry gleam in Allison's eyes. You'll be fine.

What, the screaming? Oh, that's just a tape loop for ambience. Really.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Friday Tournament: I don't want to say "I told you so", but...

The women of Averlast continued to dominate the lightweight ranks on Friday. The strongest showing of the night was from Miansha Beaumont, who not only fought DeadMan Ivory to a draw, but went on to defeat jesica Cuttita in a close match and, in the upset of the night, roundly defeated an overtired Alma Despres in a non-title matchup, ending Alma's undefeated streak.

DeadMan himself also went on, in his case to one of the non-tournament undercard matches, only to meet defeat in the form of Buffy "The Slayer" Soderstrom.

As for myself, I was in the only all-male bracket, that terminated with my match. Due to a scheduling misunderstanding, it was thought that I couldn't stay for the whole night. So I was actually done pretty early, taking out snake5708 "Serpentor" Boa, who in turn had defeated Kev "LL Kool K" Hastings in the preliminary match.

Yes, we're on a nickname kick at Averlast. If anyone has a suggestion for what goes well with "Abel Undercity", please let me know, OK? I'm drawing a blank.

So anyway, despite my win I went no farther that night, which was running pretty long, anyway. It was a touch frustrating, especially seeing Miansha doing so well and itching to try myself against her. I get like that on tournament nights.

Unfortunately, I won't be doing any such thing this week, thanks to my video card finally giving up the ghost after three years of faithful service. Which is a shame, because this week, in addition to the hyped rematch between Middleweight Champion Santana Coppola and top contender "Soldier Boy" Derrick Cult, word has it that SLNN sportswriter Vox Mullen will be making his in-ring debut.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Reflections on a night's sparring (and the morning after)

The gym last night was busier than I'd ever seen it, and not with the usual few boxers and the rest audience willing to mill and mingle and watch the action. No, everyone was there, it seemed, to fight.

Never a bad thing in a boxing gym, of course. There seemed to be a peculiar energy in the virtual air. Everybody was itching to do some punching, to the point that Karine felt obliged to expand the lower level and add a third ring to the facility.

So my dance card was pretty full, you might say. First a long go-round with Karine, whose skills I've blogged about before. I like going up against the higher weight classes in practice. It gives me a chance to sharpen my skills by going against an obviously superior fighter. God knows what they get out of going against me. A good laugh, I suppose.

Immediately after Karine and I were done, Allison Tobias needed a sparring partner. Karine was done for the time being, so I volunteered. Allison hasn't appeared at the tournament yet, though I think we'll be seeing her there soon. She styles some fast, elusive footwork that keeps an opponent on his toes.

After Allison, I turned around to find middleweight Derrick Cult standing in the other corner. Derrick is known in the gym as a bit of a cut-up, but last night he was all business. His style is a quirky one that works well for him: Short, sharp movements that keep him out of an opponent's range with the overall plan of catching him on a vulnerable side or, better yet, back. Derrick is consistently one of the leading contenders for the middleweight title, and, for my money, one of the best fighters we have at Averlast. I'm pleased to report that I more or less kept up with him, though I'm not so great a liar as to say I was "winning".

After Derrick, I needed a break. This was about when the place really started filling up. New fighters were asking for help and experienced ones were looking for space. jesica showed up about then. We agreed to spar, and when Karine opened up the third ring I bolted for it, thinking jes was behind me. Unfortunately she wasn't and we were separated, so no sparring for us. Sorry, jesica.

I did manage to claim dibs on the new ring, though. And not long afterward, who should come down to it than my nemesis from the last tournament, Buffy Soderstrom. I say "nemesis" not out of any personal animosity (she's actually quite friendly when she's not trying to punch me into orbit), but because we always seem to be so evenly matched, right down to our brawling styles. Like Allison, Buffy is fast, but also much more aggressive. We both sent each other flying out of the ring with no clear advantage to either of us overall. I think we make the best of rivals.

After that, it was time for me to go to bed. So I bid everyone good night and turned off the computer.

I had a few hours before going in to work the next day, so I logged in again and my buddy Kev Hastings was there. After a little small talk, we inevitably began sparring, and...

... I was a complete and absolute mess. Kev seemed to knock me out of the ring at will. I was literally walking into his punches. Try as I might, I just couldn't muster up the mojo that I had had the night before. My speed was gone, my punches hit air, and one time after Kev hit me I found myself on the roof of the gym. Kev had literally punched me through it.

I'm not saying that I should have been dominating Kev. He's far too good for that. But damn, I should have at least been giving him a fight. I really can't explain it.

Ah, well, chalk one up for humility. At least I wasn't lagging that time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Just a quick clarification.

I am not, repeat NOT, the Official Voice of Averlast. Since it's her place, that honor belongs to Karine. I'm just a guy who does work for her and likes to throw his hands at whoever's in front of him every Friday night. I just call matters as I see them, and sometimes my perceptions may be off-base, not having firsthand knowledge on every given situation in the gym.

Just thought I should be clear about that.

Help Wanted

So the lightweight division is crackling along, with new blood constantly shaking things up. And the middleweights are engaging in epic rivalries as the resident champion fights to retain his title.

So from a boxing perspective, we're not doing too bad for a promotion that doesn't have a heavyweight division.

Yes, you read that right.

Mind you, we have a heavyweight champion in the form of the ever-formidable Hot Rockin, and Averlast owner Karine Koba is a strong contender for the gold. Both, in fact, can be found at the Friday events every week. So what's the problem, you ask? If they're there, why can't they fight?

Because they have to run the events. Hot can't defend his title because there's nobody else to judge the matches or act as announcer. Karine has had to assume the duties of card girl (who also, at Averlast, pulls double duty as the time keeper), thus keeping her from contention. In addition, this paralysis at the top discourages middleweights from advancing to the top weight class, introducing an unhealthy inertia in the ranks.

Put simply: Averlast needs people, not just in the ring, but outside of it, keeping things running. Having two of our top people in support positions will keep things running, but it's still two people doing the work of four (did I mention security?), and the event itself will invariably suffer until they're back in the ring.

If you like Averlast, but don't consider yourself ready to climb the contention ladder, you might want to consider heading over to the gym side of the building and finding the poster for recruiting employees (note: the word was NOT "volunteers"; you get paid for your troubles). Click on it, and you'll get a few notecards detailing available positions and other important items.

RELATED ASIDE: This morning, after I had already determined that this was going to be the subject of my next long post, I sat in while Karine trained a promising new prospective card girl. I was there to download some pictures that had been taken the night before from my inventory, and when I was done, I suggested to Karine that we have a match with rounds to help Taylor (Menness, very nice person and a sharp one, to boot) become accustomed to how matches work on tourney night. My reasons were threefold: (1) If I learned anything from my brief acting career (don't bother IMDBing me, ya won't find nothin' even if I used my real name here), it's that rehearsal before opening night... helps. (2) I wanted to do some sparring before heading off to work (selfish, yes, but these things will creep into one's reasoning processes). (3) Karine is always a fun opponent, and I had missed her presence in the ring of late.

Anyway, Karine thought it was a good idea, and we boxed four rounds. At the beginning of the match, Karine told me: "Go easy on me today. I'm pretty tired."

Five seconds later I was flying out of the ring on Air Koba. When will I learn?

You guys really don't know what you're missing, not seeing her in action in the ring.

Averlast forums are live.

Right here.

Register as your SL name without the space (e.g.: AbelUndercity), and come and join in the dialogue!