Official Website of
Eileen Register - Author
©2003-2009 Bright Day NetWorks
All content on this web site is the exclusive
property of  Eileen M. Register
unless otherwise stated.
All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without written permission.

Short Stories
The warm, stuffy gym overflows with people. In the center of the huge building, the boxing ring stands empty. The crowd stirs around, stretching tired legs, rushing to and from the concession stand, and waiting impatiently for the intermission to end. On the floor at each
side of the elevated ring, empty tables await the return of the five judges. The doctor's black bag and medical supplies rest on the end of one of the tables, guarded by an assistant while the doctor takes a much-needed break. A folded stretcher rests on its side between the doctor's table and the lower supports of the ring.

Rows of chairs surround the ring on all sides; slightly beat-up metal chairs that promise sore rumps and aching backs for the scores of squirming, jostling people. Late arrivers to the sell-out event lean and squat against the walls of the gym. The crowd presents an amazing
variety: Whites, Chicanos and Blacks, old ladies and young girls, families with squirming babies and wandering toddlers, groups of teenage boys.

In one corner, the make-shift refreshment table enjoys a brisk flow of hungry customers. A hand-lettered sign hanging on the wall behind the counter lists a meager variety of junk food and beverages. A fat, harried woman dressed in too-tight jeans and a sloppy sweat shirt
rushes back and forth sopping up spills, handing out food, counting out change. Several teenage girls work diligently, filling paper cups with ice and soda and preparing food. Tennis shoe-clad feet slip and slide in a sticky sea of spilled ice and soda.

On a table underneath the sign, an electric crock pot half-full of nacho cheese (the hot kind with fiery jalapeno peppers) bubbles its promise of blistered tongues and burning stomachs. Next to the crock pot, an old-fashioned hot dog cooker sizzles and steams. The aroma of plump, juicy ballpark-style franks spreads its invitation to every corner of the crowded room. The irresistible smell of popcorn wafts its way from the old, grease-streaked microwave. The paper bag inside expands as kernels become fluffy blossoms of corn. Several boxes of the premeasured corn packets wait under the table. Precariously stacked cartons of Snicker bars, M & M's, Reese cups, and other sweet delights threaten to slide in one big avalanche to the grimy cement floor.

To the right of the concession stand, a huge wooden stage fills most of the north wall. A sign hangs at one side announcing "Stage area is for boxers and coaches only." Toward the back of the stage, an old doctor's scales stands, resting from the hard work of weighing in over a hundred young athletes. A nearby table is empty now. A few hours earlier it overflowed with paperwork, boxers' record books, and medical instruments, boys jostling each other as they lined up on both sides, waiting for their pre-competition physicals.

Boxers of various sizes and ages loiter on the stage and sit on its front edge. A few look fresh and clean. Disappointed that they didn't get a match this time, they congratulate their buddies who won and console those who lost. Some of the young athletes show obvious signs of just-finished bouts, sweat dripping from their hair and shining on their black, brown, or pale bodies. Their facial expressions read like open books; the disappointment of defeat, the exhilaration of success. One young man's singlet displays the residue of his battle, streaks of dried blood testifying to his opponent's superior skill. He nurses a swollen, reddened nose, the victim of a particularly accurate jab. An anxious coach, his t-shirt also stained with blood, leans over the wounded boy, ice bag and towel in his hands.

On the gym floor immediately to the right and in front of the stage, stacks of red and blue boxing gloves fill a small table. The gloving officials lounge in their chairs, tired from the long evening of checking gauze and tape hand wrappings and handing out gloves. Their job now finished, they, too, wait for the main event.

Between the gloving table and the last row of spectators, a compact, muscular athlete shadowboxes confidently. His shiny red, too-big trunks stick out, the top edge of his protective cup peeking from the waistband. His frizzy, black hair spills out of the gaps between the laces at the top of his padded headgear. Perspiration beads his forehead and the peach fuzz above his upper lip and glistens on his muscular black shoulders. The straps of his yellow singlet are bunched together between his shoulder blades and wrapped with masking tape. Bold red letters across the front of the singlet announce his affiliation: "Greater Metro Boxing Club." Yellow socks cover his strong calves above high-topped black leather boxing shoes with bright red laces.

A few feet away from the confident young boxer, his opponent stands impatiently. The boy's coach fidgets with the laces of his left glove, wrapping the last strip of tape around his wrist to protect the boxer from sharp plastic lace tips. The lanky boxer wears wrinkled black trunks; his old white singlet states simply "PAL". Shaggy reddish-blonde hair hangs just below the edges of his headgear. In lieu of the usual boxing shoes, he wears slightly beat-up white tennis shoes over faded blue socks. In spite of his unimpressive outfit, the kid wears a gleam in his bright blue eyes. He watches his challenger. Nervous anticipation plays across his face.

The crowd begins to settle down as the tuxedoed ring announcer enters the ring. The two boxers wade their ways through the throng of onlookers and climb through the ropes. The loud speaker squeals and comes to life. " And now - the bout you've all been waiting for - The Main Event! Two fine, undefeated boxers of the fourteen-to-fifteen-year old open class." The confident boxer in yellow and red dances about, "hot-dogging" for the crowd as the announcer continues: "In the red corner, representing Greater Metro Boxing Club, weighing in at 122 pounds...AMOS JACKSON!" A small bunch of spectators jumps up, chanting "A-mos! A-mos!" as the announcer says"...and in the blue corner, representing the Police Athletic League, weighing 121 pounds... Michael O'Malley!" The crowd roars; O'Malley steps forward a few steps and nods.

The referee replaces the announcer in the ring. He approaches each boxer, checking gloves and tapping the front of each boy's trunks to make sure the protective cup is in place. He steps to the center of the ring, checks for thumbs-up signs from the judges, signals the timekeeper to start the first two-minute round... "BOX!", he commands over the loud ringing of the bell.

After touching gloves, the opponents circle, sizing each other up. Jackson is powerfully built, but O'Malley, a few inches taller, has the advantage of longer arms. Jackson rushes forward, raining fast and furious punches on his adversary. O'Malley adeptly blocks almost every punch, waiting for an opening. The opening comes, and he lands a vicious upper cut to the chin. The shorter boy staggers slightly, recovers, and pushes forward again. A loud-mouth in the front row yells, "I tol' ya it wuz gonna be a war! Go Amos, use that left jab, work the body, work the body! " Gloves fly everywhere ...somehow, the judges manage to count the legal blows. Finally, the bell signals the end of the first round. The boxers return to their corners.

Slumping on the wooden stool with his long, thin but muscular legs spread out before him, O'Malley spits out his mouthpiece and lets his coach squirt water in his mouth from a green plastic bottle. It says "Gatorade" on the side...

Over in the red corner, Amos spits into a bucket as his coach squats in front of him. "You ain't gonna let that `cupcake' beat ya, are ya? You is the Champ! You's the best boxer in this ring... now get to work an' prove it! Use that left jab, boy...do it like I showed ya..."

While the boys take their sixty-second break, the "ring girl" climbs into the ring, holding up her homemade poster. Her firm young legs, the tops barely covered by her white miniskirt, draw the eyes, whistles, and catcalls of the boys in the audience (not to mention those among the men who are either alone or brave enough to chance the anger of jealous wives!). She swings her hips provocatively, her breasts jiggling just below the poster as she heralds "Round Two". Grinning at the audience, she finally finishes her tour around the ring. Getting out of the ring proves more difficult than entering. The elderly time-keeper sitting at the table directly below her, face flushed, turns his head away. Pink, polka-dotted panties and tanned thighs flash briefly under the girl's skimpy skirt as she climbs between the ropes and hurries down the wooden steps.

A warning buzzer sounds and the referee announces "seconds out!" The coaches scramble out of the ring, jerking stools and buckets behind them. The referee motions the boys back into the center of the ring. "R-r-r-ring!!!" ..."Box!"

Round two, indeed, resembles a "war". The boxers, intent on landing the most legal blows, bob and sidestep, punch and jab. Amos dips low to avoid that sharp left jab that seems to have his name on it. The referee steps closer and cautions Jackson to keep his head up, signaling silently by tapping his own forehead and pointing upward...then steps back quickly. Taking advantage of his superior reach, O'Malley easily lands several combinations in his opponent's face. With less than a minute left in the second round, Jackson shows signs of fatigue, his arms a little lower, his punches a little slower.

If he can only make it a few more seconds... mercifully, the bell sounds.

Both boys slouch on their stools...sixty seconds in the corners seems much shorter this time. Jackson's coach is livid, shows no mercy. "What you doin', boy? That boy's gonna put you down if you keep doin' what you're doin'...get those arms up, work him!"

In the other corner, O'Malley relaxes with eyes closed as his helper sponges the sweat from his brow, wipes away a thin trickle of blood from the tiny cut below his left eye. "It sure didn't look like he got close enough to cut ya...must of been a lucky punch, eh, son? You're doin' great... he's tired, he's real tired. Keep working, keep that jab busy...use those combinations! Wait for an opening, and put him out with that strong uppercut. You got it won, son. Don't let up now!"

Neither boy notices the ring girl's second tour around the ring.

Once again the buzzer signals "seconds out" and the boxers drag themselves off the stools as their coaches climb through the ropes to leave the ring.. Just two more minutes...

The bell sounds; the boys touch gloves. Jackson fakes left then throws a strong right jab. It slides harmlessly off O'Malley's protecting forearms. Seeing his chance, O'Malley moves in, forges a mighty upper cut to the other boxer's unguarded chin. The force of the unexpected blow lifts Jackson into the air, and he crumbles to the floor. Signaling O'Malley into a neutral corner, the referee leans over the downed fighter. Waving his arms to signal the end of the bout, he calls the doctor into the ring. The crowd quiets. Slowly, the boxer raises himself from the canvas, shaking his head to clear it. "I'm okay, I'm okay," he protests as the doctor helps him to the corner of the ring. Relieved that the defeated boxer seems to be okay, the crowd begins to chant..."Mi-chael! Mi-chael! Mi-chael!"

As the doctor leaves the ring, the referee circles it, reaching down for the judging slips. Checking the slips for accuracy, he hands them to the announcer. Jackson's shoulders droop dejectedly; the two boxers join the referee in the center of the ring. "Referee stops contest forty-five seconds into the third round," crackles the announcer. "Our winner, in the blue corner, Michael O'Malley!" The roar of the crowd reaches greater heights as winner and loser hug in the middle of the ring. The boys turn back to their corners.

A thin, ruddy-faced enthusiast in the front row near the red corner jumps from his seat and rushes around the ring. Reaching the blue corner just as the triumphant young boxer steps off the canvas, he hugs the boy. Tears and sweat mingle on his cheeks and pride flashes from his faded blue eyes. "What a match, son! " he exclaims as he accompanies his boy to the doctor's table to be checked.

It's late. The crowd disperses quickly. Soon, only a handful of hardworking faithfuls remain, folding and stacking chairs and sweeping the littered floor. "We'll take the ring down tomorrow," someone suggests, and the other tired volunteers nod agreement.

The judges and other officials finish up their paper work. Their white outfits, fresh and crisp a few hours ago, hang limp with sweat. One of the judges wears a line of blood across his chest, evidence of a ferocious battle earlier in the day.. "I can't believe what a crowd you drew... especially for a first show!", the head official congratulates the exhausted coach whose boxing club sponsored the show.. "Well," the coach protests, "We couldn't have done it without all your help...Thanks a lot, folks. See ya next time!"The warm, stuffy gym overflows with people. In the center of the huge building, the boxing ring stands empty. The crowd stirs around, stretching tired legs, rushing to and from the concession stand, and waiting impatiently for the intermission to end. On the floor at each side of the elevated ring, empty tables await the return of the five judges. The doctor's black bag and medical supplies rest on the end of one of the tables, guarded by an assistant while the doctor takes a much-needed break. A folded stretcher rests on its side between the doctor's table and the lower supports of the ring.

Rows of chairs surround the ring on all sides; slightly beat-up metal chairs that promise sore rumps and aching backs for the scores of squirming, jostling people. Late arrivers to the sell-out event lean and squat against the walls of the gym. The crowd presents an amazing variety: Whites, Chicanos and Blacks, old ladies and young girls, families with squirming babies and wandering toddlers, groups of teenage boys.

In one corner, the make-shift refreshment table enjoys a brisk flow of hungry customers. A hand-lettered sign hanging on the wall behind the counter lists a meager variety of junk food and beverages. A fat, harried woman dressed in too-tight jeans and a sloppy sweat shirt rushes back and forth sopping up spills, handing out food, counting out change. Several teenage girls work diligently, filling paper cups with ice and soda and preparing food. Tennis shoe-clad feet slip and slide in a sticky sea of spilled ice and soda.

On a table underneath the sign, an electric crock pot half-full of nacho cheese (the hot kind with fiery jalapeno peppers) bubbles its promise of blistered tongues and burning stomachs. Next to the crock pot, an old-fashioned hot dog cooker sizzles and steams. The aroma of plump, juicy ballpark-style franks spreads its invitation to every corner of the crowded room. The irresistible smell of popcorn wafts its way from the old, grease-streaked microwave. The paper bag inside expands as kernels become fluffy blossoms of corn. Several boxes of the premeasured corn packets wait under the table. Precariously stacked cartons of Snicker bars, M & M's, Reese cups, and other sweet delights threaten to slide in one big avalanche to the grimy cement floor.

To the right of the concession stand, a huge wooden stage fills most of the north wall. A sign hangs at one side announcing "Stage area is for boxers and coaches only." Toward the back of the stage, an old doctor's scales stands, resting from the hard work of weighing in over a hundred young athletes. A nearby table is empty now. A few hours earlier it overflowed with paperwork, boxers' record books, and medical instruments, boys jostling each other as they lined up on both sides, waiting for their pre-competition physicals.

Boxers of various sizes and ages loiter on the stage and sit on its front edge. A few look fresh and clean. Disappointed that they didn't get a match this time, they congratulate their buddies who won and console those who lost. Some of the young athletes show obvious signs of just-finished bouts, sweat dripping from their hair and shining on their black, brown, or pale bodies. Their facial expressions read like open books; the disappointment of defeat, the exhilaration of success. One young man's singlet displays the residue of his battle, streaks of dried blood testifying to his opponent's superior skill. He nurses a swollen, reddened nose, the victim of a particularly accurate jab. An anxious coach, his t-shirt also stained with blood, leans over the wounded boy, ice bag and towel in his hands.

On the gym floor immediately to the right and in front of the stage, stacks of red and blue boxing gloves fill a small table. The gloving officials lounge in their chairs, tired from the long evening of checking gauze and tape hand wrappings and handing out gloves. Their job now finished, they, too, wait for the main event.

Between the gloving table and the last row of spectators, a compact, muscular athlete shadowboxes confidently. His shiny red, too-big trunks stick out, the top edge of his protective cup peeking from the waistband. His frizzy, black hair spills out of the gaps between the laces at the top of his padded headgear. Perspiration beads his forehead and the peach fuzz above his upper lip and glistens on his muscular black shoulders. The straps of his yellow singlet are bunched together between his shoulder blades and wrapped with masking tape. Bold red letters across the front of the singlet announce his affiliation: "Greater Metro Boxing Club." Yellow socks cover his strong calves above high-topped black leather boxing shoes with bright red laces.

A few feet away from the confident young boxer, his opponent stands impatiently. The boy's coach fidgets with the laces of his left glove, wrapping the last strip of tape around his wrist to protect the boxer from sharp plastic lace tips. The lanky boxer wears wrinkled black trunks; his old white singlet states simply "PAL". Shaggy reddish-blonde hair hangs just below the edges of his headgear. In lieu of the usual boxing shoes, he wears slightly beat-up white tennis shoes over faded blue socks. In spite of his unimpressive outfit, the kid wears a gleam in his bright blue eyes. He watches his challenger. Nervous anticipation plays across his face.

The crowd begins to settle down as the tuxedoed ring announcer enters the ring. The two boxers wade their ways through the throng of onlookers and climb through the ropes. The loud speaker squeals and comes to life. " And now - the bout you've all been waiting for - The Main Event! Two fine, undefeated boxers of the fourteen-to-fifteen-year old open class." The confident boxer in yellow and red dances about, "hot-dogging" for the crowd as the announcer continues: "In the red corner, representing Greater Metro Boxing Club, weighing in at 122 pounds...AMOS JACKSON!" A small bunch of spectators jumps up, chanting "A-mos! A-mos!" as the announcer says"...and in the blue corner, representing the Police Athletic League, weighing 121 pounds... Michael O'Malley!" The crowd roars; O'Malley steps forward a few steps and nods.

The referee replaces the announcer in the ring. He approaches each boxer, checking gloves and tapping the front of each boy's trunks to make sure the protective cup is in place. He steps to the center of the ring, checks for thumbs-up signs from the judges, signals the timekeeper to start the first two-minute round... "BOX!", he commands over the loud ringing of the bell.

After touching gloves, the opponents circle, sizing each other up. Jackson is powerfully built, but O'Malley, a few inches taller, has the advantage of longer arms. Jackson rushes forward, raining fast and furious punches on his adversary. O'Malley adeptly blocks almost every punch, waiting for an opening. The opening comes, and he lands a vicious upper cut to the chin. The shorter boy staggers slightly, recovers, and pushes forward again. A loud-mouth in the front row yells, "I tol' ya it wuz gonna be a war! Go Amos, use that left jab, work the body, work the body! " Gloves fly everywhere ...somehow, the judges manage to count the legal blows. Finally, the bell signals the end of the first round. The boxers return to their corners.

Slumping on the wooden stool with his long, thin but muscular legs spread out before him, O'Malley spits out his mouthpiece and lets his coach squirt water in his mouth from a green plastic bottle. It says "Gatorade" on the side...

Over in the red corner, Amos spits into a bucket as his coach squats in front of him. "You ain't gonna let that `cupcake' beat ya, are ya? You is the Champ! You's the best boxer in this ring... now get to work an' prove it! Use that left jab, boy...do it like I showed ya..."

While the boys take their sixty-second break, the "ring girl" climbs into the ring, holding up her homemade poster. Her firm young legs, the tops barely covered by her white miniskirt, draw the eyes, whistles, and catcalls of the boys in the audience (not to mention those among the men who are either alone or brave enough to chance the anger of jealous wives!). She swings her hips provocatively, her breasts jiggling just below the poster as she heralds "Round Two". Grinning at the audience, she finally finishes her tour around the ring. Getting out of the ring proves more difficult than entering. The elderly time-keeper sitting at the table directly below her, face flushed, turns his head away. Pink, polka-dotted panties and tanned thighs flash briefly under the girl's skimpy skirt as she climbs between the ropes and hurries down the wooden steps.

A warning buzzer sounds and the referee announces "seconds out!" The coaches scramble out of the ring, jerking stools and buckets behind them. The referee motions the boys back into the center of the ring. "R-r-r-ring!!!" ..."Box!"

Round two, indeed, resembles a "war". The boxers, intent on landing the most legal blows, bob and sidestep, punch and jab. Amos dips low to avoid that sharp left jab that seems to have his name on it. The referee steps closer and cautions Jackson to keep his head up, signaling silently by tapping his own forehead and pointing upward...then steps back quickly. Taking advantage of his superior reach, O'Malley easily lands several combinations in his opponent's face. With less than a minute left in the second round, Jackson shows signs of fatigue, his arms a little lower, his punches a little slower.

If he can only make it a few more seconds... mercifully, the bell sounds.

Both boys slouch on their stools...sixty seconds in the corners seems much shorter this time. Jackson's coach is livid, shows no mercy. "What you doin', boy? That boy's gonna put you down if you keep doin' what you're doin'...get those arms up, work him!"

In the other corner, O'Malley relaxes with eyes closed as his helper sponges the sweat from his brow, wipes away a thin trickle of blood from the tiny cut below his left eye. "It sure didn't look like he got close enough to cut ya...must of been a lucky punch, eh, son? You're doin' great... he's tired, he's real tired. Keep working, keep that jab busy...use those combinations! Wait for an opening, and put him out with that strong uppercut. You got it won, son. Don't let up now!"

Neither boy notices the ring girl's second tour around the ring.

Once again the buzzer signals "seconds out" and the boxers drag themselves off the stools as their coaches climb through the ropes to leave the ring.. Just two more minutes...

The bell sounds; the boys touch gloves. Jackson fakes left then throws a strong right jab. It slides harmlessly off O'Malley's protecting forearms. Seeing his chance, O'Malley moves in, forges a mighty upper cut to the other boxer's unguarded chin. The force of the unexpected blow lifts Jackson into the air, and he crumbles to the floor. Signaling O'Malley into a neutral corner, the referee leans over the downed fighter. Waving his arms to signal the end of the bout, he calls the doctor into the ring. The crowd quiets. Slowly, the boxer raises himself from the canvas, shaking his head to clear it. "I'm okay, I'm okay," he protests as the doctor helps him to the corner of the ring. Relieved that the defeated boxer seems to be okay, the crowd begins to chant..."Mi-chael! Mi-chael! Mi-chael!"

As the doctor leaves the ring, the referee circles it, reaching down for the judging slips. Checking the slips for accuracy, he hands them to the announcer. Jackson's shoulders droop dejectedly; the two boxers join the referee in the center of the ring. "Referee stops contest forty-five seconds into the third round," crackles the announcer. "Our winner, in the blue corner, Michael O'Malley!" The roar of the crowd reaches greater heights as winner and loser hug in the middle of the ring. The boys turn back to their corners.

A thin, ruddy-faced enthusiast in the front row near the red corner jumps from his seat and rushes around the ring. Reaching the blue corner just as the triumphant young boxer steps off the canvas, he hugs the boy. Tears and sweat mingle on his cheeks and pride flashes from his faded blue eyes. "What a match, son! " he exclaims as he accompanies his boy to the doctor's table to be checked.

It's late. The crowd disperses quickly. Soon, only a handful of hardworking faithfuls remain, folding and stacking chairs and sweeping the littered floor. "We'll take the ring down tomorrow," someone suggests, and the other tired volunteers nod agreement.

The judges and other officials finish up their paper work. Their white outfits, fresh and crisp a few hours ago, hang limp with sweat. One of the judges wears a line of blood across his chest, evidence of a ferocious battle earlier in the day.. "I can't believe what a crowd you drew... especially for a first show!", the head official congratulates the exhausted coach whose boxing club sponsored the show.. "Well," the coach protests, "We couldn't have done it without all your help...Thanks a lot, folks. See ya next time!"
THE MAIN EVENT
By Eileen Register
Pit LeBrun won his last bout, boxing proudly as a member of the Evander Holyfield team against one of Joe Frazier's boxers in Atlanta, Ga. in 1994, one of many exciting bouts that earned him national status as a talented amateur boxer.  A few short months after this bout, Pit died in a car accident, leaving behind a family that misses and loves him. Pit LeBrun remains a strong example for others; "The Pit LeBrun Outstanding Boxer's Award" is given annually by the Florida Amateur Boxing Association.

The short story presented here is totally fiction, but the events described are based on experiences I had while involved in amateur boxing as a judge and, for nearly two years, secretary of the Florida Amateur Boxing Association.  It was during my involvement with the sport that I learned to respect the concerted effort it takes for a dedicated amateur athlete to succeed.

Although this story was written as an assignment for Dr. Wylie's class, I chose the topic because of the memories.  I no longer have contact with Pit's family.  Still, when I  think of what was lost when my former brother-in-law died, tears come.
Pit LeBrun Inspired the
writing of this story.
© 1991  All Rights Reserved