By Dudley “KO” Marsh
March 5, 2014
One of the cool treats that come with being a boxing writer is covering the fights in person and hanging around with all my boxing writer buddies. It’s especially awesome when I can bring my wife, Midge, along and do my job in another city, especially when we can stay in the apartment of someone swell like King Blogger Jim Sparx of TURD (The Transcendental Universal Rankings Department).
The incidents in this travelogue are from a few weeks ago, but the story was too awesome NOT to share with my public.
10:00 AM– We board the flight that will take us from our cozy suburban cottage to the big city. Midge accidentally gets a whiff of a roast beef sandwich carried by the person in front of us and enters into a fit of nausea and random panic attacks that lasts through the weekend. My Midge is a very delicate flower. I purchase the sandwich from our plane-mate for fifty bucks so I can make sure it does my Midge no more harm. I dispose of it properly in the restroom, then rush back to hold Midge’s hand and hold a cold compress up against her temples with the other hand for the remainder of the flight.
12:30 PM—We arrive, grab our luggage, and make our way to the street to find Mr. Sparx’s lovely apartment. Midge is still reeling from her ordeal on the plane, so we decide to stay the night at the airport hotel, where she can rest. Poor thing.
4:37 PM—Midge suggests that we leave the hotel and go to Mr. Sparx’s place. After all, he’s waiting for us. She is such a people-pleaser! I’m out 250 bucks for the last-minute booking and the room we only used for four hours. Oh, and she drank half of a five dollar Diet Coke from the mini bar and ordered a movie she never got around to watching. I’m sure the nice folks at the hotel will credit my account.
6:10 PM—The delightful Mr. Sparx receives us with open arms. We spend the rest of the evening complimenting him as he tells us about all the awesome things his media friends have said about his site. Did you know that the New York Times once referred to one of his articles as a “good read?” Crazy!
12:35 AM— Sparx is turning out to be an awesome host. When I was supposed to be asleep, I saw him take Midge into the bathroom, probably to administer some sort of big city cure for her nausea. So as not to wake me, he even closed the door behind them. I heard Midge putting up a bit of a fuss, but I figured she was in good hands and I snuggled up with my pillow with a big smile on my face and had happy dreams.
10:00 AM—After a delicious breakfast at a local eatery called IHOP, Midge and I went with Mr. Sparx on a guided tour of his city while he shared some more awesome things said about him and his site by other bloggers. Did you know that Sports Illustrated once referred to his blog as “solid?”
3:00 PM—The three of us rushed over to the weigh-ins for the next day’s fights. I interviewed the guys and my Midge took their pictures. Mr. Sparx ran over to greet some of his boxing media Twitter pals and show them a screen cap on his iPad of what The New Yorker had recently said about his blog.
5:30 PM—These things always get so crazy. With all the people moving about, I lost track of Midge for a good hour and a half. Luckily, I found her coming out of the restroom. She must’ve been taking photos for my big report because five of the next evening’s fighters came out behind her, shirtless and sweaty—likely from doing some shadow boxing for Midge’s camera. The fighters were so nice, I even heard these young men offer to accompany Midge on a workout. “Let’s pull another train on you after the fights,” one Hispanic young man told her.
6:45 PM—Ran across that lovely elderly man, Bob Arum. He told me about some great fights that are in the works. It’s really nice to come across someone who exudes such an aura of honesty and integrity. Mr. Arum is well-deserving of the Hall of Fame honor bestowed upon him by the honorable ranks of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
7:10 PM—Midge and I met up with Mr. Sparx and a few of his writer pals, just as he was telling them about the article of his that was once referenced on ESPN.com. He said good-bye to his friends and made plans to meet up tomorrow at the fights.
9:35 PM—Back to the apartment. We watched a collection of screen caps chronicling every time Mr. Sparx’s face has appeared on national TV and ate veggie taco salads that Midge had insisted on buying at the corner market.
1:04 AM—That sweet Mr. Sparx took Midge to the bathroom again, I guess just to make sure that everything was alright. How lucky am I to have a friend like this?
4:00 PM- 11:00 PM—Fights, Writing, Taking Pictures, Learning that Mr. Sparx’s blog was once described as “well-done” by The Village Voice.
11:15 PM—The three of us and three boxing writing brothers crammed ourselves into a compact car and went back to Mr. Sparx’s apartment. We were so tightly packed that, apparently, Midge was accidentally sitting on the hand of a swell guy from Fight News. But what a trooper Midge is—not one complaint throughout the entire 20-minute ride, even though you could tell the kind of pain she was in by her biting of lip and randomly squealed, “Ahhs.”
11:35 PM – 1:41 AM—The rest of the evening was spent around the dining room table, listening to Mr. Sparx’s tales of how he formed TURD and how his blog’s average reach of thirty-seven daily readers was pretty awesome because the RIGHT thirty-seven people were being reached. A nice fellow from Boxingscene went out and brought us snacks—something called “Slim Jims” that packed a heck of a punch and had my stomach spinning. In my five years married to Midge, all I’ve eaten is white rice, salad, and tapioca pudding. This spicy meat stick reminded me of the wild ride of 2011 when I took a bite of that slice of pizza and it nearly ruined me. Anywho, all of the excitement was a bit too much and Midge and I excused ourselves to hit the hay. We were due to board our plane at one in the afternoon and it was probably going to be a flight full of Midge’s unfortunate nausea and panic attacks.
2:53 AM—Eager to make sure Midge would be alright for the return flight, Mr. Sparx and his three boxing writer buddies took her for one more bathroom treatment. I just shut my eyes tight, smiled broadly, and thought happy thoughts about all my new friends.
10:22 AM—Packing and trying to shake off the strangest, most off-putting dream I had last night. Midge and I were laying in bed and that nice fellow from Boxingscene was standing over me, nude from the waist down, doing unnatural, un-Christian things to himself while holding and sniffing my shoes. I was frozen with fear while he did this, similar to how I felt back in Boy Scouts when I had my “issues”. I finished packing my things and made sure nothing was left behind, still trying to shake off that creepy dream. Then we said our good-byes to the gracious Mr. Sparx. As a good-bye gift, he gave us a framed copy of the Time Magazine where his blog was mentioned as one of the Top 100 blogs on niche subjects in America.
9:37 PM—As expected, Midge had some discomfort on the plane trip back home. But aside from having to momentarily divert the flight to St. Louis because of her cockpit-rushing panic attack, all was well.
Back home, I took my usual writing spot on the dining room table, unpacked my laptop, and began telling this tale.
Awhile later, Midge brought me a big bowl of white rice with a glass of ice water on the side.
I couldn’t help but smile. Two years ago I was a nobody, now I’m one of THEM. A real boxing writer! I am now part of this wonderful brotherhood of honorable scribes. God Bless Us All!