Category Archives: Boxing

My experiences participating in the White Collar Boxing event in April 2013.

Focus on the Awesome

You know… sometimes you have one of those days that you think “geeeze, could anything more happen??”. Today happened to be one of them.

But instead of complaining about how busy I was or things that went wrong or things that annoyed the F out of me… I decided that writing down the things that went AWESOME are far more worthwhile (and probably far more interesting for you to read!)

1. I sparred. – Ok, it was more of “spar play” with Rey, but I did don my mouthguard and headgear and let him give me a few love taps while I tried my damnedest to hit him. That’s the way it usually goes when I am sparring, but it felt good to try it again. Three 3 minute rounds too. I felt pretty good about it. Nevermind the part about how after the rounds were over I was so tired I could hardly move my arms… let’s just celebrate the fact that it happened.

2. I boxed with my students and they were AWESOME! How refreshing it is to have kids who aren’t complaining about being too hot, or being too tired, or being… well they can sometimes complain about just about anything. But for the last 3 weeks I have been taking a group of students on Wednesday afternoons to the boxing gym and they have been phenomenal. They have really worked their hardest to learn the skills and improve their ability. When we got on the bus after the session, I asked “Did you guys like it?” and they all screamed out a resounding “YES!” What’s not to love about that?

3.ย Our online Canadian fundraising page hit $14,820 today.ย What the what? That is fabulous!!! We still have so many more events to happen so we are looking like we might hit our fundraising goal. I see that my parents have done an amazing job of collecting donations and as always my Aunts, Uncles, cousins and family friends have shown their support. Thank you!!! Kelso has been an all-star today as well. He made a fabulous donation himself, has helped to spread the word and has gotten another significant donation from a colleague. I knew there was a reason I married him (and also for his football skills obviously) ๐Ÿ™‚

4.ย My parents arrive in 16 days!ย The countdown is officially on. Enough said.


Four fantastic things that are awesome, ain’t so bad in a single day. Not every day needs to be a “belter” (as Kelso would say – translated to mean “amazing”). Sometimes the awesome just isn’t as noticeable as the bad stuff… sometimes you need to step back to see it.

 

 

Eye of the Tiger

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for? (and the videos you are looking for?)

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!) ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!)

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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. ย ๐Ÿ™‚

The Rumble in the Singapore Jungle

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

https://vimeo.com/64491255

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 101 – Hook, Jab, Smack!

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Until tomorrow!!

clarkgriswold

 

Day 98 – Did I ever mention my squad is awesome?

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 raiseย 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)

Feelin' ripped and ready to go!

Feelin’ ripped and ready to go!

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.ย 

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 97 – The End is Near

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?! *Shockingย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/IFS_WhiteCollarBoxingSGP/wcbsingapore_20april2013

So – the fight looms and the end to all of this craziness is near.

Bout #5 – Here we come!

The Teacher's Rumble in the Concrete Jungle.

The Teacher’s Rumble in the Concrete Jungle.

Days 94 & 95 – One Week TODAY!

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.

https://vimeo.com/63949571

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!)

Pinx’s TA Article Part 1ย  ย ย Pinx’s TA Article Part 2

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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*

 

An example of what I saw (I didn't stick around for a photo today!)

An example of what I saw (I didn’t stick around for a photo today!)

ย 

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 ย sari made for it! ย (By the time I finished writing this blog today I already came back from the wedding! woops!)

My cousin Katelyn and I loving our new duds for the wedding!

My cousin Katelyn and I loving our new duds for the wedding!

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ We are at $11,870USD on our online fundraising… can we hit $12,000 by the end of the weekend?

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/IFS_WhiteCollarBoxingSGP/wcbsingapore_20april2013

I hope so!

๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

Day 93 – Get involved!

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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: ย https://vimeo.com/63938088

DONATE:

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/IFS_WhiteCollarBoxingSGP/wcbsingapore_20april2013

Days 90-92 – Sleep Deprivation and Ginseng Overdose

Well it certainly has been a busy few days. We have had all of our fundraising events running back-to-back since Sunday! Thus the reason why I haven’t been posting for a couple of days. I just ran out of time in the day. Here is a summary!

SUNDAYย –ย Clothes Swap for Cambodia

This event was absolutely fantastic and we raised over $2,000 from the event. At $2 per clothing item – that’s A LOT of clothes! We had loads of people who came down to join us at Fandango’s. We have gotten really positive responses from everyone and requests to run another one already… maybe sometime, but we need some rest first! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here was my day in a nutshell.

  • 6:30am – up and at ’em and off to school to work on setting up the Book Fair,
  • 10:00am – back for a quick shower and change before the girls came to my place to pick up clothes
  • 11:00am – depart for Fandango’s and unload the car
  • 12:10pm – back car into a post and crunch my taillight and bumper (well done Keriann! Not too bad damage on the outside but the beeping noise that happens when you back up is now messed up and it now produces the most ear piercing noise. Instead of beeps, it now holds on a single horrible straight note until you finish backing up. This needs to get fixed immediately!!!)
  • 12:10-2:00 – create a whole store in Fandangos. Amazing that all this was accomplished in such a short amount of time!
  • 6:00pm – start clean up
  • 7:30/8:00pm – depart Fandango’s and head for home
  • 9:00pm – start marking seven 40-page Personal Project papers (I thought I would have time to do this but the book fair prep really took much longer than I anticipated!)
  • 10:00pm – fall asleep on the papers and admit defeat

MONDAY – Book Fair Starts

This was another nutty day! But well worth the nuttiness!

  • 4:45am – wake up and head to school to complete marking those papers and complete set up for the book fair
  • 7:45am – first book fair customer! yay!
  • 8:30am – work day starts
  • lunch – sell more books at the fair
  • back to work sessions in the afternoon
  • sell more books after work and set up more books to sell
  • 4:45pm – head to the gym for a PT session with Rey
  • work from home, Skype husband in Hong Kong, do some more work to get ready for the Weigh-In the following day and head to bed around 11pm

TUESDAY – Weigh-In event

The big event! Libby did a great job getting things organized this day – from t-shirts for the boxers, to gathering a PA system to use, to all the other bits and bobs of organizing. We couldn’t have done the event without her amazingness!

  • 5:45 – wake up
  • 7:15am – arrive to work and get things set up for the book fair – try to get more books prepared and ready to sell, and also get things ready for a day of teaching
  • Morning recess – so many visitors and books sold! Great start to the fair
  • Lunch – even better turn out
  • After School – lots of parents and students came to purchase books! Amazing! Also the Leadership Club brought lots of helpers and they helped me reorganize all the books. It looks fantastic now. Thank you!
  • 5:15pm – pack the car and depart for the Weigh-In
  • Let the fun and fundraising begin!
  • Raised well over $7,000 from the event! Well done squad and a special thanks to Paul Summers and his mates from work who ran the Horserace Auction Sweepstakes. A massive success!!!
  • Midnight – after counting up the money and locking it up – I head to bed finally. So. tired.

WEDNESDAY – Book Fair Continues and a bit of normalcy

Things are getting back to normal now. The book fair is doing really well and practically runs itself these days (with a little help from some of my students!)

  • 5:45am – seriously struggle to get out of bed
  • 7:20am – arrive to school – get some work done for the students and try to reorganize my desk which has become a pit for anything and everything (the clutter is driving me crazy!!!)
  • Morning Recess – amazing turnout from students to the book fair! I love to see so many kids excited about reading and recognizing what a deal the books are ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Lunch – it was packed in the book fair! My friend, Nadia brought her class down to check it out as well as lots of other kids from Elementary and Middle School divisions
  • After school – Loads of parents and students at the fair again. I love to see and hear people talk about how much they are enjoying the fair. Thank you to all the CIS community for the support ๐Ÿ™‚ I had to be at a meeting (2 places at once is my favorite place to be!) so a student stayed for a little while after school to be the cashier and did an amazing job. And only in Grade 5 – she ran the whole place! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • 5:00pm – rushed off to the gym to do a PT session with Rey. I tried my best, but my body is very tired. I have tried to get some bursts of energy through my trusty Ginseng pills, but they are no replacement for good, ol’ fashioned sleep and rest.

So – that’s my plan for tonight… my bed has never looked so inviting

G’night!!! ๐Ÿ™‚