Summer is gone here in NY, and you can tell by the fact that the garbage pails don’t stink as bad in between days that garbage gets picked up. Also, you aren’t hearing the sing-song siren of the ice cream truck as much….
Sweet summer memories, of frolicking at the beach, and such, are now in the domain of savored memories. Same goes for the experience that 70 campers who attended the 15th annual Gleason’s Gym Fantasy Camp. The camp, which unfolded in upstate NY, at Honors Haven Resort, from Aug. 10-13, saw persons travel to get a feel of an old-school style fight camp, and gain quality time and instruction with ex champs and modern day pugilists of renown, all under the kind and watchful gaze of Gleason’s bossman Bruce Silverglade.
We checked in with one camper, Angie Mendoza, to get an in-depth report on how her sessions went.
The 54 year old Queens resident pondered attending when she learned of its existence. She thought she could slip away from the kids, get some relaxation time. It turned out to be much more than that.
“This was my first camp and I can tell you that it will NOT be the last,” she said enthusiastically.
Mendoza, mom to a 22 year old and grandma to a 4 year old boy, has been a boxing fan forever, and boxed decades ago, doing exhibitions with other ladies who trained at Gleason’s.
She was ready to relax her first day at camp when, at 6 AM, the game changed.
“KNOCK KNOCK- a voice from behind the door, Sonya Lamonakis, world champion, saying, ‘Rise and shine – downstairs in 10.’ I thought “early breakfast”— good, because I’m hungry… wrong again – from that moment on I was convinced I was training for a world title fight. Run/swim/box/spar/jump rope/abs work/strength training. And that’s how I felt for the next couple of days. It was amazing to train side by side with numerous world champions and if that wasn’t enough there I was working out with Hall of Famers.”
Mendoza cited a few big-deal takeaways from her camp tenure. “Dream big – and follow that dream,” she relayed. “Also, how important the Give A Kid A Dream program is for today’s generation. The hard work that Bruce Silverglade, Gleason’s Gym has put into this program is larger than life. I wish they had a program like that when I was growing up! And also, I’ve got to get back in the gym!”
I was curious—is the camp experience different for a woman than a man? “Honestly, I find that question hard to answer. At camp we were all equal, women trained just as hard as men and maybe even harder to prove a point. Women can box – in the ring there is no gender, at least that’s how it was up at camp. I’ve never stepped in a ring as a professional so they might see it a differently-although not at camp.”
Apart from working her butt off, Mendoza enjoyed the out of the ring periods. “Downtime was just as interesting as work time, we sat and watched world title fights. We watched the classic Tommy Hearns vs. Iran Barkley fight..
…Hearns lost that fight, and after the knockout Iran Barkley tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘How did you like that knock out?’ That’s a moment I will never forget.”
Mendoza sounds ready and raring to glove up again, ASAP. “I am already signed up for next year – I’ve also decided to make it a family affair. I will have my daughter and grandson at next year’s training camp. And I will continue to spread the word!”