Saturday, 6 June 2009

The Boxing Smoker

Last night was the Boxing Smoker VI showdown held at the Main Gym. Our COB Speicher boxed 11 matches against opponents from the neighboring FOB Summerall. A bunch of my friends were heading over as well and I managed to find them almost right when I walked into the gym, sitting on the first row of the bleachers, front and center. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the event, having never been to a boxing match before combined with the fact that military events can be somewhat stuffy and uncomfortable. The Boxing Smoker COULD not have been farther this impression.

After squeezing in on the bleachers I surveyed the scene through the dimmed lights and realized that the entire gym swirled with the smoke of a thousand cigars circulating amongst the crowd. Brown bottles of near beer (probably the only inauthentic part of the evening) occupied most hands and MWR employees hawked complimentary bottles of water, Gatorade and bags of pop corn. A boxing ring had been set up in the center of the gym with a judges table slightly off to one side and the crowd was set up on three sides of the ring with standing room only in the back against the walls and on the second floor above the bleachers.

I confess I know nothing about boxing and could make no sense of the "One-two, one-two!" that everyone kept yelling, but I'm sharp enough to know when someone's winning and someone's losing and I cheered like crazy with the crowd. I wasn't able to stay for the whole event because I was still on shift, which figures because after I left there was a knock out, but it was by the far the best Friday night I've had in Iraq, hands down!

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