Monthly Archives: April 2013
Well I am back from the jungles of Northern Thailand. The teachers have survived giant spiders the size of my hand in my bathroom at 5:00am, a snake in another teacher’s bathroom (thank god that didn’t happen to me!!!), teenage love triangles and gossip, sicknesses of our young cherubs we were looking after, and a rather uncomfortable bed/floor mattress for a week. No tigers were spotted on the trip but we did get up close to a Gibbon monkey family at one point which was pretty amazing. However, I think I would have preferred another 6 minutes in the ring with “The Hammer” though 🙂 I am happy to be back and my body has finally told me to slow down. Thanks to the not-so-nice ear & throat infection I have acquired, I have been forced to listen to my body this weekend and have taken the time to rest up.
I did get a chance to see the whole boxing match since I have been home (thanks to Apple TV I was able to watch it on the big screen in my living room which was pretty cool). I was very nervous to watch it from start to finish. My perspective of the night was a bit of a blur and I knew that a lot of the training and practicing that Rey and I had done kind of went out the window as soon as that bell went and Jemma started to attack. I happens I guess, but I have apologized to Rey 🙂 But here it is in full: our entrances, our training bios and the full fight itself. Check out Jemma and I showing our version of the eye of the tiger here:
It has been great to be home again and by looking around, I need to spend some time getting caught up on my regular life and getting things back to normal. As one of the guys put it, he felt deflated after the fight and asked who wanted to climb Everest. 🙂 I think he was joking? But with a group of determined individuals like our squad is, you never quite know.
Some of the next things on my agenda is to get caught up at work and at home, work through all the back-piled emails and get my thank yous out to everyone who donated and supported me over the last few months, start getting my summer plans in order and book my flight home for the holidays, etc. I think there are only 8 weeks left of the school year and I know that time will just fly by.
I have had a lot of people ask about the blog and what will happen to it because they have enjoyed reading it. And I think that I will keep it going to fill people in on what is happening with me over here in Singapore and it has definitely acted as a bit of therapy to my sometimes crazy, busy lifestyle. I hope that you all keep reading along on my Asian & Canadian Adventures in the future – though I can’t promise the excitement of all that lead up to the big event. But I am sure I will find something worth writing about 🙂
Thanks again to everyone for their support and kind words! And I promise to thank you all individually for your support – it may take me a little while to get to everyone but it’s coming!!
Happy Sunday and I will see you at the gym tomorrow Rey!
Sorry you haven’t heard from me for a few days. I haven’t had internet access and have been on-call working since 4:00am Monday morning. I am currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand with approximately 85 Grade 8 students from my school. The trip has been great but extremely tiring as days are not only filled with fantastic activities, but also a ton of hormonal teenage Drama (and quite frankly enough to last me a lifetime!) 🙂 I do not miss those years at all (though sometimes Kelso may argue that I act like a teenager at times!!)
Otherwise, I have been rock climbing, abseiling, zip wiring, doing a homestay in a village, mountain biking and I’m off today to do kayaking and orienteering. Not a bad way to spend my week. I have fully recovered from the pummelling that Jemma gave me in the ring on Saturday. It took a few days for my neck to recover from a bit of whiplash from her punches but all seems to be back in order and I am already planning on my next session back at the gym when I return.
But, I do apologize for being MIA during this time. There isn’t a lot of “free time” to be able to write and post, but I have finally gotten some footage that I think you will enjoy. So without further adieu, iFS White Collar Boxing event footage is upon us! Enjoy!!
Opening Training Video
An Overview of the Night – filmed by my friend Greg Dixon
(Greg made this video to share with our school community so that is why it features me prominently. Just to be clear – our squad raised the $60,000 USD not me by myself!)
My full fight video should be coming out either today or tomorrow as well so I will be sure to post when I have access to it!
Thank you again for all of your support everyone! More to come as and when I have internet again. 🙂
It’s hard to believe it’s all over.
4 months of training and 4 months of fundraising all summed up in one awesome night.
Jemma “The Hammer” Hooykaas truly stood up to her name. She was one fierce female who wasn’t giving up for anything or anyone. Guts, determination and a crazy strong jab made her one heck of a competitor. I was so impressed with her and her boxing. She was an all-star.
I had a fantastic cheering squad worldwide supporting me during the fight and I could feel all of their support as I stood backstage ready to make my entrance. Now, many of you may know, I do like to make an entrance. 🙂 I had my amazing fly girls with me making sure that everyone watching knew who runs the world… GIRLS!
My sister sent me this video of my family back home, watching the fight via a live stream that I set up over my iPad. I loved seeing my family getting involved and enjoying the fight with me. I wish that they could have been there in Singapore ringside to enjoy it firsthand, but it was a close second to the real thing. Check them out cheering here when they announced the winner!
After the fight – Jemma and I were both so happy with what we had accomplished in the ring. We ended our fight with a big hug and walked down the catwalk back into the backstage area together. We chatted about the fight and congratulated each other on a great effort on our walk backstage to the dressing room. And then we had a beer. 🙂
I showered up and came out to say hi to everyone who came to support me. What a buzz!!! Everyone was so excited and it felt so great to hear all the congratulatory words and feel the hugs from all of my friends. Thank you again to everyone who came to support. It was awesome to have such a great cheering squad!!!
The rest of the night was a party and a half. We watched the rest of the matches and then went upstairs to the New Asia Bar located on the 78th floor of the hotel and has amazing views of Singapore. No better place to celebrate a great night! We enjoyed a few wobbly pops and danced the night away until the very wee hours of the morning. Fantastic!!
So… who won?
In the red corner… Keriann “K.O” O’Rourke!!!
Videos and photos to come soon! I’m departing for Chiang Mai, Thailand in the early morning for a week long excursion trip with over 100 Grade 8 students, so I won’t have too much of a chance to post as much as I would like but I hope to keep you updated as much as possible this week.
Thank you again to everyone for the amazing support! It has been an AMAZING experience and I am so proud of our fundraising and all the boxers who stepped into the ring last night all in the name of a good cause. Fantastic effort. 🙂
Today was difficult. In the words of my opponent Jemma “The Hammer” Hooykaas,
Work productivity – all time low. Brain productivity – all time high.
All I could think about was what is going to happen in the ring tomorrow night. I have been mentally preparing all day – daydreaming, if you will, about the whole night ahead. I am so very excited but also getting slightly nervous about the big event. There’s a lot of hype leading up to the fight and it takes a lot of mental willpower to not let it get the best of you. Easier said than done I think.
I’ve been getting prepared not only for the fight itself, but also for after the fight. On Monday, I fly out with all of the Grade 8 students (over 100 of them!) from my school for a week long trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand. There was lots to get prepared in my classroom to be ready to leave it in the hands of my Grade 7 classes and a group of various teachers and I don’t want to have to think about anything work related this weekend. I also didn’t want to leave my classroom in total shambles, and sadly upkeep for the last little while has been fairly low on my priority list, I will admit.
I was so thankful that after school my friend Jodie invited me over for dinner with her and her son, Oliver (a former student of mine). It was perfect. We chatted a bit about boxing, but we really talked about what is going on in “Master O’s” life and it was exactly what I needed. I didn’t even think about boxing when we were just talking about life at school. Relaxed. Chilled out. And we enjoyed a delicious meal together with great conversation. You did more good for me than you can ever imagine.
I have been completely floored by all the words of encouragement I have received today. Everyone is as excited as I am it seems, and it helps to know that there are so many people all over the world cheering me on tomorrow. It has been very motivational to have messages from near and far. Master O gave me some of the best pearls of wisdom I have ever received and I will be making a copy of it tomorrow so I can keep it in my boxing bag and read it again just before I head towards the ring. Thank you Ollie – I’ll give it my best “Hook, Jab, Smack” inspired by you.
So – the plan tonight… sleep as well as I can and sleep in tomorrow morning if possible.
Again, perhaps easier said than done. It feels like Christmas when I was a kid and you were too excited to sleep! 🙂
For the past few days I have been working to get things arranged so that my parents can watch the fight *live* on Saturday night (Canadian Saturday morning). During all of this, I have ran into a few road blocks (i.e. the event venue treating the wifi password like it was the secret codes to the pentagon, while having to “test-drive” a few options of how to make this possible over 3G). I think that I have worked something out, but along with some of these things happening on my end I have also had my father on the other end of the technology trying to get this to all go through his “Smart” TV (which he is currently calling his “Dumb” TV).
To get this all working, we have been texting and skyping and using many different forms of technology to communicate with my family back home. At one point, I was on Skype and could hear and see my father perfectly, and he could see me, but he couldn’t hear me. So I was writing notes and holding them up to my screen and my father was talking to me (and also to himself when he was kind of losing it and saying some very unpleasant words at his TV). Which was completely hilarious to see his frustration unfold over the wonders of the internet.
However, last night I went to do a post on my blog and technology was NOT working in MY favour…. and then I did exactly what I watched my father do that very morning. I swore at my computer, threatened to throw it across the room and then kept muttering about it under my breath while Kelso watched me out the corner of his eye in bed beside me. It’s not so funny when it is happening to you.
And I came to the realisation – I have turned into my parents. 🙂
However, we have prevailed and now it’s up and running and all is right in the world again (well, my world at least). So this is what I wanted to post last night before my computer decided that it didn’t want to cooperate.
Shout Out to Southwestern Ontario!
Over the past few weeks, I have done 2 radio interviews that have aired on radio stations back home. I’ve gotten messages from people telling me that they heard me on the radio too which is pretty fun. Here in Singapore I would be called an “Artiste” with all the media coverage I have been getting. It is pretty fun to hear and I am so happy to get the message out there to everyone.
I am still working on how to get the clips into my FB page, but myFM radio has also posted them online through this link:
And, Kate Dubinski from the London Free Press, has also written an article about me and the upcoming fight. You can read the article here:
*sidenote* I found out that Kate’s husband is best friends with a couple who I am good friends with here in Singapore! Small world!! 🙂
All this coverage has been wonderful and I am thankful to everyone who is showing their support to this little Huron County gal tomorrow night.
I know in my heart that everyone is cheering me on and I will post the fights as soon as possible after it is all over – and post the results of whether I win or lose here as quickly as possible too. Thank you to everyone who has shown their support for me in both my fundraising and my boxing. It has been a wonderful experience and many continue to do so by donating in my name at
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t say it enough! 🙂
Yep – it’s the truth. A true bunch of superstars. One big group that sets the bar high and will inspire others to do the same. We started out as a gang of people trying to get through a session without vomiting; to a squad that worked together to raise over $50,000 USD!!!!
And we haven’t stopped there. More money is being collected and we have absolutely smashed our original goal of $20,000 and surprised the hell out of ourselves and everyone around us. How cool is that when you even surpass your own goals by over double?? We underestimated what we CAN do. It has been a very pleasant surprise indeed.
Along with this accomplishment, our squad has come such a long way in terms of our boxing and fitness. It’s hard work – no joke! But we have persevered on to our final week. We look different, we feel different (*and gosh darn it, people like us* – sorry I couldn’t resist the SNL Stuart Smalley reference)
In this last week, training will begin to relax. My week with Rey has included only shadow boxing and pad work and will eventually taper off on Thursday with my last session of only shadow boxing. That’s when sh%& gets real.
And for now, I will spend my time trying to devise a game plan to keep myself calm, cool and collected on Saturday before the fight… without beer!
Hmmmmm…. tough one. 🙂
There are only 5 days remaining until the big event. I feel ready for Saturday, but I also feel anxious about the event. I want to keep my cool throughout the next few days and it would be even better if I didn’t allow myself to get nervous before stepping into the ring. However, these feelings are inevitable. It’s hard not to when you know that 1,500 people are expecting to see great boxing and a great show. Despite being a Drama teacher, the butterflies are always there before the curtain goes up (or in this case, the bell rings).
Deep breaths and repeating my mantra “it’s just like sparring” will hopefully help.
The next few days will inevitably generate a range of emotions for all the squad members. I am very much looking forward to when the event is over and the squad can actually get to know each other outside of the gym a bit more. Perhaps we have more in common than boxing?! *Shocking realisation!*
But a lot can happen in 5 days. We must all be careful to not get injured and take care of our bodies. I know I am very careful about where I am walking for fear of twisting my ankle (which I have a tendency to do). Eating right, getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water are other things to have to worry about. We have to be at the top of our games come fight night.
But the biggest thing that I hope that happens in the next 5 days is that we reach $50,000 USD. We are so close to achieving this – with just over $3,000 USD to get there. It would be simply amazing to hear that amount announced on Saturday night. I am already so proud of the squad and all that we have done together to get where we are. I don’t want to toot our own horn or anything, but the squad is kinda awesome 🙂
So – the fight looms and the end to all of this craziness is near.
Bout #5 – Here we come!
Never underestimate the power of the small stuff.
When we approached our fundraising – we looked at how doing small things can make big differences. For all of last week, I ran a Charity Book Fair out of my classroom (Thanks to this great suggestion from my friend, Jodie!). I collected books that people dropped off or asked me to pick up for about a month leading up to the Fair. These were donations from anyone and everyone. Some people donated only a few books, and some people donated boxes and boxes of their previously loved reads. It didn’t cost me a thing – other than my time to sort through, categorize and price each book individually. By the time I was selling I probably had over 1,500 books to sell. My prices were the best in Singapore (even beating the prices that the Salvation Army sells their books for). Books ranged from $0.50 – a few at $5. But most of my books sold for $1 or $2.
My little Book Fair became very popular thanks to the help of the PTA and teachers spreading the word (a huge thank you to PTA mom and all-around amazing person, Heather White for helping me spread the word of the Book Fair to the parent community at school). Gradually, my classroom became a VERY popular spot. At recess and lunch I would have my classroom absolutely filled with students who were excited about getting a new book (and they were also excited with how cheap the books were!) Teachers were bringing their classes down to buy books or buying books for their classrooms. It was awesome.
My little Book Fair raised $2,117 SGD and was pretty much cleaned out of books at the end of the week (thanks to a trusty “Stuff-A-Bag Sale” idea stolen from my days working at George!) and a wonderful student in Grade 5 who committed herself to helping me every single day. I would hire her in a second if I owned a retail store – she was amazing and could run the whole thing by herself while also eating her lunch at the same time!
Small things can definitely lead to big differences!
Our Clothes Swap ran under the same concept also raising over $2,000. And so did the Weigh-In event with our little Horserace Sweepstakes taking in over $7,000 SGD. As well as our online donation page – with people contributing various amounts both big and small and currently sitting at just under $12,000 USD. And our Charity Raffle was another amazing success with each member of the squad selling tickets to friends, colleagues and family and bringing in just under $13,000 SGD itself. wow!
These things have added up to something amazing. Something HUGE. Something that will absolutely change people’s lives at the Children’s Surgical Centre for the better.
As a squad, we have (to-date) raised…..
wait for it……
approximately $46,260 USD (based on exchange rates from xe.com)
Yes you read that right! And yes I have done the calculations over and over again because I just couldn’t believe my eyes.
We would like to make it to $50,000 USD before Fight Night and I truly believe in the power of the small stuff. So please donate a little or donate a lot (and ask your friends to do the same) – it really does have the ability to add up to something phenomenal. 🙂
p.s. we will be updating our online donation page with our offline donations as well so you can also see how close we are to our final $50,000 USD goal before next week!
I thank each and every one of you who has helped to contribute to our fundraising. We absolutely couldn’t have done it without you.
Rising before the sun does definitely isn’t my favourite thing to do, but my body apparently doesn’t know that. I was awake by 6:30am and tried to fight the urge to get out of bed and get my day started. I was excited about a few things today.
Firstly, I wanted to finish the video I started the night before of some of my sparring sessions. I haven’t included all the sparring but it is a few bits of what I have been doing for the past little while and gives a good example of what the practice looks like.
I have been promoting my blog through a few different media outlets this week. My friend Al Coombs, who works for CJBK radio in London, Ontario, interviewed me on Thursday morning. It aired yesterday at 3:35pm Canuck time (which meant 3:35am Singapore time). Unfortunately I have missed it, but others have told me that they tuned in which is great! Al will be sending the interview to me and I will post it here when I get it. Very excited to hear it and I hope that listeners will come to my blog and see what I am doing and hopefully support the cause. I also had an article in the Times Advocate this week (and yes, my nickname back home is “Pinky” – as mentioned in the links below – and not the harder sounding “K.O” I go by in the ring!)
I also did another radio interview for myFM radio but it will be airing next week. I hope that all of these things will help to get the message out there to more and more people who will help to support the fundraising initiatives 🙂
Secondly, I was having a practice for my entrance. I can’t post anything about that yet but I am very excited about it
Thirdly, I wanted to get my run and shadow boxing over before it became too hot!! It’s been really, really scorching in Singapore in the past little while and I do my best to avoid exercising in the crazy heat here. However, I did (literally) run across a slithery serpent on my run that cut right across my path. I jumped in the air and stopped dead in my tracks. A man who was walking along also saw it and said it was a cobra and then started throwing sticks at it to show me how it stands up and shows it’s hood. My run was probably my best time after encountering that as I didn’t stick around long enough for him to prove himself right. *ugh*
And lastly, I am heading to my friend, Shyama’s daughter’s wedding this evening. I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends and celebrating this special occasion. It’s also an Indian wedding and I got a beautiful sari made for it! (By the time I finished writing this blog today I already came back from the wedding! woops!)
And finally – the most important part – we have one week left to fundraise! We have wonderful friends and family who have supported us greatly throughout all of the training. If you haven’t made a donation yet – please do so this week before Fight Night 🙂 We are at $11,870USD on our online fundraising… can we hit $12,000 by the end of the weekend?
I hope so!
Sorry there will be 2 posts today… I tried to get this one out to people for a couple of days, but was running into technical difficulties with the video. So enjoy the double whammy posting day! And without any further adieu….
Wow – the power of sleep is an amazing thing! Just having a full night’s sleep last night (Wednesday) has made an unbelievable difference in my boxing tonight. Thank goodness!!
I was kind of worried that I had overdone things yesterday at training… Rey knew I was tired and for the first time since I started training, I only did 2 rounds of sparring instead of my usual 3. yikes! So – I went bed and listened to my body and it paid off tonight because I felt good and energized and had 7 rounds in me! (3 shadow boxing with the bag, 3 pads, and 2 circuit work rounds). *Phew!*
So, with just over one week to go and my last ever sparring session before fight night on tomorrow evening, I have been thinking A LOT about next week’s fight. A LOT. Like… really, A LOT! 🙂
I found a video that I made for my students last year following the boxing match. I wanted to speak to my students about what I was doing, why I was doing it and how to get involved in helping to support others or doing something themselves. I thought I would share it with you all too for fun. Some of the extra photos and videos included are my work colleagues who I had come down to the gym to do a session to see how hard the boxing is first hand and so the students would also see their teachers giving it a try as well. It was a fun day (for some by the looks of some of the photos!!)
So – I think the message is an important one. Don’t just think about doing it, go ahead and “Get Involved” and support the cause!
Please go to the video here: https://vimeo.com/63938088