• Dexter Hastings

Saturday Book club - Fear No Foe Chapter 3

The third chapter of my book Fear No Foe, I hope you are enjoying the story. Please feel free to comment on the book at the bottom of the page, not so much on grammar and spelling but what you think of the story.

CHAPTER 3

The week before his 16th birthday Shay was pretty busy, his home phone never stopped ringing with people congratulating him and wanting him to appear at local events. Even the Lord Mayor of Birmingham wanted Shay to attend an event at the Town Hall to show off his newly acquired British vest to all the dignitary’s. Shay did go to the Town Hall as it was such an honor, he went with Kenny and his Mom and Dad, and he had his picture taken with the Lord Mayor and some local business men. He even got a peace in a national newspaper as one of England’s hopes for the future and could well be a future Olympic Gold Medalist. The Olympics weren’t for another 3 years, so that wasn’t Shays main objective, Emma his new girlfriend was a bit annoyed that she didn’t get an invite to the Town Hall with him, but she made up for it at his 16th birthday party. Emma never left his side and made everyone especially any girls that came near him know that he was with her. Emma even warned off his best friend Kelly as she saw her as the main fret to her.

Shay had a great time at his party and enjoyed all the attention he was getting, but his world was just about to come crashing down around him. He had an appointment at the hospital to see how long he would be out of boxing. He went along with his Mom and the news wasn’t good, the Doctor explained to Shay and his Mom that because he had broken his hand so many times it had started to weaken the bones in his hand. The Doctor told them Shay would need to keep the cast on for 2 months minimum and would need a lot of physio after to get back all the normal movement in it.

Shay asked the question “So how long before I can box again?”

The Doctor replied “Well with the physio it may take up to a year before you can get full movement in your hand and then you will need to give the bones chance to heal”.

Shay said “Oh o.k. I’ll be out for a year, that’s not too bad then”.

The Doctor butted in and said “No Shay, that’s how long it will probably take to get full movement in your hand. I would advise you don’t box again, but if you want to it could be up to 2 years before you would be able to compete”.

With this news Shay bowed his head and put his hands over his face mumbling the words “2 years, 2years”.

His Mom put her arm round him and tried to console him “Come on son it will be o.k.” She looked up at the Doctor and said “So there’s no way he could fight, before 2 years?”

The Doctor shook his head and replied “Shay’s hand has been really badly damaged by all the times it has been broken, he needs to give his hand time to heal and the bones to get stronger before he even thinks about competing again. I’m sorry”.

Shays Mom thanked the Doctor and led Shay out of the room and took him home. When they got home Shay went straight to his room, he was inconsolable he felt like his whole life had ended.

Kelly came round to see how he had got on at the hospital, she knocked Shays front door and his Mom answered. Kelly could see his Mom was upset; Shays Mom might not have ever liked the fact that Shay boxed, but knew how much of his life it was.

Kelly asked his Mom “Is Shay back? Is everything alright Miss Dempsey?”

Shays Mom just asked Kelly to come in and said “Go up and see Shay, he’s had a bit of bad news and he could really do with a friend right now”.

Kelly went up the stairs and knocked on Shays door, Shay called her in and she entered. Kelly could see how upset Shay was and asked him what had happened, Shay looked at her with tears in his eyes and said “2 years, Fucking 2 years out, what the fuck am I going to do?” Kelly replied “Years out of what? What’s happened?”

Kelly sat down next to Shay and put her arm round him, Shay began to tell her what the Doctor had said about his hand and the 2 year layoff he would have to take to make sure his hand recovered properly.

Kelly replied “Ahh Shay I’m really sorry to hear that I know how much boxing means to you, it’s your life”.

Shay looked down at the floor and said “I just don’t know what I’m going to do with myself now, I can’t box, I can’t even get a job with my Dad because of my hand, so what am I going to do, I left school with no qualifications and now I might not even get a chance to be a professional boxer if my hand doesn’t recover”.

Kelly took this chance to try and make Shay see it’s not all over, Kelly said “Shay look you’re out of boxing for 2 years, but you can still keep yourself fit and still be a professional boxer when you turn 18, why don’t you go to college and take your exams again, get your qualifications just in case. I know you’re not stupid and if you put your mind to it you could be or do anything you wanted to”.

Shay replied with “But I hated school”

Kelly then said “Its College not school, you only go on the days when you have got classes, it would give you something to focus on”.

Shay said he would think about it and gave Kelly a hug to say thank you. As Shay was hugging Kelly, Emma walked into his room; she saw the 2 friends in an embrace and just went off her head.

She said “What the hell is going on here, I always knew you were more than just friends. Get your hands off him you slag, he is my man!”

Shay jumped up and replied “It’s not what it looks like; I was just giving Kelly a hug to say thanks for her support”.

Emma reply was “Yeah yeah whatever, I knew she was trying to get with you”.

Kelly then stood up looked at Shay and said “I’m going to go; I’ll talk to you soon”.

Shay looked at Kelly and said “Sorry”, but Emma butted in and said “Don’t say sorry to her and if I have anything to do with it you won’t be seeing him again”.

Kelly left and then Emma asked Shay what the hell was going on. Shay started to tell her about what the Doctor had said and that it could be up to 2 years before he could fight again. Emma’s reply was “What you can’t fight for 2 years? So what are you going to do?” Shay started to explain that he was thinking of going to college to retake his exams, as he was saying this Shays Mom was coming into his room to see what all the noise was about, she heard what Shay had said about going to college and before Emma could say anymore his Mom said “You going to do your exams at college, that’s a great idea Son”. Emma paused for second before agreeing with his Mom, but by the look on Emma’s face you could see she wasn’t happy about it.

Shays Mom left the room and Emma and Shay had a very Frank talk, Emma started by saying “So what was she doing in your room?”

Shay replied Kelly’s my friend and she just came to give me some support. I’ve known her since I was a kid; we are just friends, that’s all”

Emma replied with “Well I don’t like it, if I had a boy as a best friend you wouldn’t like it if you saw me hugging him in my bedroom would you?”

Shay replied “Well no I suppose not”.

Emma continued “So you can understand what I’m saying, if you want me as your girlfriend you need to keep your distance from Kelly”.

Shay looked disheartened and said “But she is my friend”.

Emma replied with “Yes she is your friend, but I’m your girlfriend and I don’t like her hanging round all the time”.

Shay just shook his head and said “What can I do I have known her for years and we have always been close”.

Emma looked at Shay in a very serious way and said “Well it’s either me or her, your choice”.

Emma left Shays house so he could think about what she had said. His mind was going all over the place, and he had so much to think about. When Shay’s Dad came home from work and heard the news off his wife, he went straight up to see his Son. Shays Dad was gutted for him, he knew Shay lived for boxing, but did agree with his Mom that going to college was a good idea. Shays Dad told him that he should go to Case’s gym and talk to Kenny about what to do with the boxing; his Dad just couldn’t find any encouraging words to say about his 2 year layoff.

Shay went down to the gym, all the lads were working away, the place was buzzing with the sound of leather on leather as the punch bags were being smashed about.

Kenny saw Shay and shouted “Hey champ, how you doing?”

Shay went over to Kenny asked him if he could have a word in the office. They went in and Shay started to tell Kenny about what the Doctor had said about his hand. Kenny listened and could see how upset Shay was. Kenny put his arm around Shay and told him in a fatherly voice “Look son I know it seems like the end of the world for you, but it aint, its 2 years. What you got to do is keep yourself fit, do all the secret training that don’t include hitting anything, make sure you keep your running up, you could even do some shadow boxing, and when you get the all clear in 2 years time you will be fit as fuck and a Senior Amateur and we can make our aim getting you ready for the Senior Championships and then maybe the Olympics”.

Shay looked at Kenny in a bit of a shocked way and said “Do you really think I can get back and even make the Olympic team?”

Kenny smiled and said “Why not, you got a God given talent, just give the hand time to heal and keep yourself fit. I have no doubts you will be back”.

Shay thanked Kenny for his words of wisdom and went home; he was in a lot better mood and had something to focus on. Emma came round to his house to see what he had decided, Shay told her about what Kenny had said about the Olympics and this seemed to make her a little less annoyed.

Shay also said to her “Look I’m going to go to college and re-sit my exams, I still want you as my girlfriend, but I cannot say I won’t talk to Kelly anymore, she lives next door to me and has always been a good friend, but I will make sure I give you all the attention I can, but I really need your support”.

Emma had kind of calmed down now and started to think about the big picture about what it would do for her and Shay if he got to the Olympic Games and maybe won a medal. Emma put her arms round Shay and gave him a very loving kiss then said “O.k. I will give you whatever support you need and I understand about Kelly, but you can’t be having her in your room and stuff like that, it’s just not on”. Shay agreed with her and told her he wouldn’t anymore.

Emma then said to Shay “Alright then, but I just hope you know how lucky you are to have me”.

Shay replied “Yeah I do Em; I’m a very lucky man”.

Shay started his training the very next day, he was going on 5 to 7 miles runs one day and doing specially worked out secrets at Case’s Gym the next day. Shay was training at least 5 days a week and was focused on being in tip top shape. After the summer holidays he enrolled in college to retake his exams, he was retaking English, Math’s and Science and was actually enjoying it.

When he wasn’t training or at college he spent most of his time with Emma, he hardly got chance to see Kelly anymore or any of his other friends.

After 2 months they took Shays cast off his hand. Shay could feel it was still tender and kept to his non boxing programme. Every month the Physiotherapist was seeing an improvement in his hand, they were sure that if he stuck with it his hand would be completely repaired. As the 1st year of physio was coming to an end he was reading his ‘Boxing Monthly’, a magazine he read like it was the Bible every month. They had a piece all about the British Amateur Finals and how Gary (now with ‘Great’ in-between his names) Britain had destroyed his opponent in the finals of the Junior Welter Weight Title fight.

The Boxing Monthly were tipping Gary to bring home a gold medal from the Olympics in 2 years time. This really pissed Shay off; he showed the piece to Emma who encouraged him with the words “Well you have beaten him before and its 2 years away so who knows what could happen”.

Shay smiled as he felt that Emma had faith in him, but then Emma said “But I got to say that Gary Britain is one fit looking lad, his gorgeous”.

Shay just gave her a look but said nothing.

The next time he was at the gym, he talked to Kenny about it. Kenny just laughed and said “Son they can say what they like, you win the British Senior Title the year of Olympics they will have to pick you”. This put Shay’s mind at ease and as the months went by Shay’s hand got stronger and stronger. Shay also managed to pass all his exams at college so thing were starting to come together for him at last. He even enrolled in a Business Management course for his second year there.

It was about 6 months after his 17th birthday that the Doctor said he could start doing some light pad work, if he thought his hand was up to it. Kenny took him on the pads the next time he was down the gym, just nice and light for a 1 minute round to see how his hand faired. It was like Shay hadn’t had any time out, his timing was perfect, and he looked sharper than ever. Kenny was well impressed and told him if he could keep that up he would be a dead cert for the Olympics. As Shay got older he also got bigger and taller.

Kenny weighed him the one night and said “Shay your no longer a Welter Weight, you are now a Middle Weight”.

Shay smiled and said “Well I feel a lot better with the extra weight”. Kenny replied “You look a lot better; all that training has paid off Son, now we just got to ease your hand back into it.”

Kenny registered Shay for his last year as a Junior Amateur, but didn’t really expect him to fight as they were really being careful about his hand. Case’s Gym had, had a pretty successful season; they had got 3 boxers who had managed to win the Birmingham and the Seven County’s title’s, but didn’t progress any further in the Championships.

Kenny had organized a show against a boxing club from Ireland as their final show of the season.

It was to be held at the Irish Centre, Digbeth, Birmingham and the main event was Case’s Gym Seven County’s Junior Middle Weight champ John Martin against the newly crowned Junior Middle Weight Champ of Ireland Danny O’Dyer. It was a real event for Case’s Gym as they never usually put their own shows on, Kenny always used to get the lads on other gyms shows. But with their new sponsors they had for the gym, Kenny had decided to see if he could put one on himself. The gyms main sponsor Brumsdale: a Birmingham based clothing company, who had kitted out all of the gyms boxers with Brumsdale shorts and vests and new gloves, they also contributed to paying for the event to take place. The owner Gary Southan was at the show and if it all went well there would be more money for the gym.

The night of the show Kenny had been given a real big problem, John Martin had been suffering with a cold for the week before the fight and it had now turned into full blown flu. Kenny was trying to explain to the Irish champ’s coaches that he couldn’t fight, the Irish coaches were going mad; they reckoned John was just scared to box their champ. Shay had been round to John’s house before he came to the show. John could barley move he was really ill. John had a note off the Doctors to prove he wasn’t faking it and Shay said he would bring it to Kenny. As Kenny was trying to calm the Irish champ’s coaches down, Shay came walking in to give Kenny Johns sick note. Kenny showed O’Dyers coaches the note; he wasn’t too impressed, but had to except the lad was ill.

Danny’s coach said in his very board Dublin accent “You have got loads of Irish people here that have just come to see Danny fight, can’t you find anyone else for him to fight?”

Kenny replied “No we haven’t got anyone else”, before the Irish coach could reply; Shay jumped in and said “I’ll fight him Ken”.

Kenny just looked at Shay and said “No son you’re not ready”. The Irish coach looked Shay up and down