Since I’m usually officiating, I’m not the one who packs the gym bag to take our competitive boxing team to their events, but sometimes I pitch in to help the other coaches remember everything we need.
And finally I wrote it all down, since that’s infinitely preferable to madly scrambling around at the last minute, trying to remember what all our boxing team will need once they get to the competitive arena.
Btw, I searched the internet and didn’t find ANYTHING to help you pack your competition bag, so if you happen so see something, please link it in the comments. Just the fact that I couldn’t find anything made me wonder if I was missing something…
Of course, this will be the ONLY post on the subject to include toilet paper, sparkly elves, chainsaws, and Nicki Minaj. Read on.
Here’s what we typically pack
2 pairs of clean 10 oz boxing gloves in good shape (and toilet paper)
Typically gloves will be provided at the event, but this doesn’t always happen at the local level. DON’T count on anybody else having all the stuff you might expect to be available when you’re at the lowest (and most ordinary and frequent) level of competition!
Picture you, the coach, with no fecking BOXING GLOVES when it comes time to field your boxer. Right, not a good picture.
Always bring EVERYTHING. Everything, my friend.
This is why I always bring toilet paper to boxing events. I am not joking. I have even sent someone out to buy a 12-pack because the women’s room (which apparently no one expected to be in use) had ZERO tp. This is not a happy thing for nervous females who can keep producing fluid ounces, right up to the bell. Or female refs who are there for 8-hour stretches, drinking endless bottles of water. And we just don’t do the drip dry method, sorry.
I think we’re all on board here.
And if you have more than one boxer competing, you’ll need two pairs of boxing gloves, in case there are two rings running, or your boxers are competing back-to-back.
2 USA Boxing-certified headgear (and scrunchies)
Make sure you have sizes that you already know fit your boxers. Many boxers have their own headgear, but the majority of young people at my gym (which serves at-risk, and gang-related youth) do not.
A moment for a rant.
If your boxers have those gorgeous long braids, or a massive head full of waist-length dreads, you gotta secure that shit. Cannot have it flinging about. Really, this is in the rules. Bring a bunch of scrunchies (LOVE these for the guys, they’ll never forget again), one of those do-rags, or a bandanna or something. The hair has to be tied up and contained.
2 groin protectors/cups or “no fouls” (and a funny story)
Did you know women can actually wear a no foul? See the image above. There’s a separate shape for the women, thank the good baby Elvis and all his sparkly elves, but the guys are actually required to wear some kind of protection.
One of the guys I ref with makes it a habit of rapping lightly against the cup to check the guys in the ring before the bell. I have to stifle a (very unprofessional) snicker when he does it. The guys are always fine with it though. They’re all Yeah, I got big tough junk. I’m a MAN.
And no, to answer your next question, I do not check this way, hah. I ask. But I don’t say, Hey do you have tough junk? Everything good in the trunk, dude? I say, like the prim nerd I am, “You wearing a cup?”
In fact, I’m so habituated to (politely) asking that I accidentally asked one of the women who was about to box in my ring. Fortunately she did not take a swing at me.
Again, make sure they fit before you go. Well, let the guys handle that part. Unless it’s a no-foul, and in that case you can check the fit. Who knew boxing was so dicey?
Gauze, tape, and medical safety scissors (no chainsaws)
I can remember being at one event (I think I was actually the one competing) and NOBODY had any scissors. Y’all, that tape just does not tear by hand. Or by teeth. And most places will not let you bring chainsaws into the arena. You can’t hear the bell over the roar of those damn things. (Plus there’s the exhaust fumes.)
Anyway you’ll also need the scissors (get the crooked medical kind) to cut off all the gauze and tape after your boxers’ matches, too.
You can get all the info about how much gauze and tape is allowed by downloading the Boxing Competition Rulebook.
2 new, unmolded mouthguards
Sigh. If you work with teenagers, you will understand this part. Somewhere in the universe, there are thousands of mouthguards that have sneaked off to dally with unmated socks. Someday an explorer will uncover the cache and boy will it stink. They better cover that shit back up, stat.
Take two shiny new mouthguards to have on hand for when one of your people says, Ohmygawd ohmygawd I forgot my mouthguard can I borrow yours?
That’s nasty, and besides, it has to be molded. This can be done at a competition if you can find a microwave to heat the water. You may have to drive to the nearest mini-mart or gas station. I’ve done it.
Btw, no pink or red on mouthguards. Officials can’t see blood if it’s pink or red. It’s in the rules, and I’ve had to say it to boxers waiting for the bell. And I’ve seen coaches do all three options: pull their fighter, unwrap a brand new unmolded mouthguard and shove it in a boxer’s mouth, and borrow someone else’s.
I do not share my toothbrush and I do not share mouthguards. It’s a personal thing.
Spare jersey and shorts (and socks and underwear)
No, you must say to your boxers, you may (emphatically) NOT wear that shirt with the mustached Elmo saying “This might tickle.” Ditto for “Drink til you want me.” Or any of the Nicki Minaj tees.
Well, they wear ’em to school, why would they think it might be different at the boxing competition? Your bad!
You can’t count on your boxer knowing these things as if by magic. So be prepared, like a boy scout. Actually like a boy scout leader. Or any normal adult who deals with teenagers, I guess.
Water bottles, power bars, and a towel
You MUST have the towel (to “throw in” and stop a bout, if necessary) if you’re working a corner. The water bottles must be clear. And the power bars are because everyone who boxes is perpetually ravenous, and there’s just not going to be time to hunt, shoot, and dress a deer while you’re there. No place for a campfire, either.
Extras: Mitts, Vaseline, rubber gloves
The punching mitts are for warming your boxer up, the Vaseline may be applied lightly to their faces before the bout (and also prevents cracked, bloody lips during winter), and the rubber gloves are for coaches who are being careful about all the bodily fluids we inevitably encounter at a boxing arena.
And I’m not even talking about that Ladies’ Restroom.
And DON’T FORGET the passbooks!
Especially if you drove 3 hours in a smelly van full of anxious boxers to get to the event. Nobody can box at a sanctioned amateur event without an up-to-date passbook. Period.
What did I miss?
If you have other stuff you typically pack, leave me a comment and let me know.
CC image by Scott on Flickr