The Fighting Finnegan's Ch. 01bydavidpaul©
This is a work of fiction. Please note that the story is based in Australia and is written in Queen's English therefore my American audience will notice subtle differences in wording or phrases. This is the story of a family deeply involved in the world of boxing and how decisions can change the course of many lives.
Copyright© 2009 by David Paul
Jack Finnegan was feeling good tonight, his defence was holding up well and he was attacking as often as possible. His opponent was a higher ranked, better credentialed, more seasoned fighter. Every expert had predicted Jack would be catching z's by the 6th round.
Well it was nearly the end of the 8th round and he felt he was ahead on points. The bell went and Jack raced back to his corner. Jack didn't bother sitting down as he wanted to let his opponent know he was still as strong as a lion.
His trainer slapped him on the face. He only put up with that because his trainer happened to be his father.
"Jack listen to me, stop fucking around and concentrate. Remember what I said stick and move, stick and move. Don't go looking for the knockout because you're leaving yourself wide open "
"I can take him Dad"
"Stick to the plan Jack, no funny business. We need this win; this will propel us up the rankings and open up the big money fights"
Jack was momentary distracted, time stopped....his Dad was screaming at him and the crowd was roaring but Jack was looking at a beautiful red headed vision. The visions name was Cathy Reilly and she was on the arm of another man.
Jack was pulled back to the present as the bell rang for the 9th round. The last thing his Dad said was
"Jesus Jack forget Cathy and get your head back in the fight"
The fight went the full distance. Jack was declared the winner in front of his home crowd. His Dad was jumping around like he had just won the lottery. Jack was glad to see his Dad happy because he hadn't seen him smile for a long time. His Mum's death last year had really sucked the life out of his dad.
Flashing back, he had briefly thought of Cathy during the fight but that was soon forgotten as a microphone was shoved in front of him. Jack said all the right things. He thanked his support team, the crowd and his opponent John 'Killer' Cobb for a good fight. Jack headed back to the locker room for his shower and icing of his hands.
As Jack stood under the shower, he couldn't believe the gall of that prick bringing Cathy to the fight tonight. He was sure he had done that on purpose to distract him and make him lose focus. The bastard would stop at nothing to keep sticking it to him. Cathy Reilly was Jack's high school sweetheart, the love of his life at one time, but now his ex-fiancée.
They broke up around the time of his Mum's death. Cathy then went straight into the arms of that prick. Actually the prick had the name Billy Finnegan. Billy Finnegan was a Sports Agent and Jack's older brother. Jack's thought process was interrupted with Gary calling out to him.
"Jack what the hell are you doing in the shower. Get out here so I can check your hands."
"Dad they are fine, you worry too much. Cobb's head will be sorer than my hands" Jack laughed
"Jack don't be a smart ass, we were lucky at times tonight. We have a lot to work on in the Gym
Now let's see those hands"
Jack had suffered a break in his right hand in a previous fight and Gary wanted to make sure there was no re-occurrence of the injury.
"They appear fine, so ice them down now son."
"On it now Pop"
He left Jack to ice his hands and change into his street clothes. Gary then went about gathering all the boxing gear.
There was a loud knock at the door. Gary Finnegan opened the door to see his son Billy and Cathy Reilly standing outside.
"Hey Dad, we just wanted to come by and congratulate you and Jack on the win tonight. You really gave it to my client"
"Thanks Billy. Listen it's probably not the best time right now. I need to check Jack over, so why don't you and Cathy come over Sunday for lunch at the house"
"Sure Dad no problem, I'll see you then"
Cathy just nodded her head and slowly walked off with Billy. They both went back towards the arena. Gary hated being in the middle of this war between his two sons. He loved both his sons but they were both stubborn little bastards.
Gary secretly blamed Cathy Reilly for the problems in his household but he held his tongue. For the life of him, he couldn't understand why Cathy ran straight into Billy's arms when Jack broke off their engagement. Oh to be young and foolish again he thought.
Jack had heard the exchange at the door and thought it might be a good idea to head to the beach this weekend for some R&R. He would be damned if he was going to spend Sunday with his brother and ex-fiancée. With that thought, Jack began to slowly pack up his gear and went to speak with his Dad.
"Dad...I think you were right about the fight. I need to rethink my ring strategy and get some R&R"
"Well son I guess that isn't such a bad idea. Where were you thinking of going?"
"I thought I'd talk to Uncle Matt and see if I could use his beach house for a few days."
"Ok son sounds like a plan. I will ring Matt and let him know you need the beach house. Leave it to me"
"Thanks Pop, I'd like to go tomorrow morning if possible."
With that, Gary went off to make the call to Matt.
Jack loved having generous sponsors and was very happy that his 'Uncle' Matt McEwan, owner of a business called 'Fire Power Sports' was always ready and willing to help Jack with anything and everything. Matt McEwan was also his Dad's business partner/best friend who hopefully wasn't using his beach cabin in Finbar this weekend.
Jack knocked on the door and his 'Aunty' Vera opened the door.
"Well, well, well the champ is here"
"Hi Aunty Vera how you going?"
"I'm just fine my darling. Great fight last night!"
"Thanks, I could have done better but I got the win and this will open doors to the big fights."
"Well I'll be there cheering you on but no doubt you need to wind down from last night's fight."
"Yeah I sure do"
"Well darling here are the keys to the cabin. Just relax and enjoy yourself. Matt said the place should have plenty of food"
"Thanks Aunty Vera. Say hello to Uncle Matt for me."
Jack had told Gary he was going to disappear for the weekend for a bit of R&R. Gary knew the real reason was that Jack was avoiding the pain of seeing Billy and Cathy together. Gary reasoned the boy did deserve a break for a few days after his fine performance against 'Killer' Cobb. Somehow, he had to resolve this stupid feud between his boys. Sunday would give him the chance to speak with Billy and Cathy if necessary.
Billy and Cathy had just finished making love. Billy had a huge smile on his face. Was it satisfaction from sex or did he have some plan cooking in that head of his? Cathy wondered for the umpteenth time what the hell she was doing. Well she would find out why Billy seemed extra happy. It was funny considering his major client just got beaten by his brother.
"Billy is everything okay?"
"Sure it is sweetheart, why would you think otherwise?"
"Well your fighter did get beaten last night"
"Oh well honey you win some, you lose some. Jacky boy should remember that."
"What the hell do you mean by that?"
"Nothing Cathy. Just that in boxing a man's fortunes can change at any given time."
With that, Billy gave her a kiss, turned over and went to sleep. Cathy could not sleep as she had too much on her mind. Well really one thing on her mind apart from Billy's cryptic answers was Jack. As usual, Jack looked magnificent in the middle of that ring.
Cathy had to admit though, she still hated watching him fight for fear of him getting badly hurt. Cathy silently shed some tears wondering how something that was so right for such a long time had now turned into a bad nightmare.
Jack had just left Matt McEwan's house with the keys to the beach house in his hands. It was only 7am Saturday morning and he had a long drive ahead of him. Beside him in his truck was his faithful dog, a Border Collie called Bidgee. He still laughed about his dog's name.
He was not the one who named his dog. Jack had been given Bidgee by an old sparring partner a couple of years ago. The man who had given him the Border Collie was Neil Luff. Neil was born in New Zealand but spent his teens in Australia. Neil was glad for the move as it was a more competitive fight arena in Australia.
The dog was named after the 'Murrumbidgee River' in Australia. This was the river that Neil had fished and swam in when he was a young man. Neil had got the dog as a training partner when he did road work. He gave Jack the dog before leaving Australia. Neil had run into some visa problems in Australia and was sent back to New Zealand.
As Jack drove towards the beach house, he went over the fight. Jack was secretly very pleased, as he knew doors would now be opening for him at the tender age of 23 years. Jack was looking at a promising career as long as he kept his focus more completely centred on boxing.
Jack arrived at the beach house around 10 am. Bidgee jumped out of the truck and ran barking at some birds that had landed near the house. Jack quickly unloaded the truck. As Vera had told him, Matt had left the house well stocked with food and booze. Jack went out back and switched the heater on for the spa so it would be ready to get into later in the day.
Jack decided to take Bidgee for a walk and a swim in the ocean. He quickly got changed, grabbed a beach towel and called Bidgee. She was the only female Jack trusted now, with his mother no longer around and his ex-fiancée, just that, his ex. The ocean was warm and inviting. Jack felt thoroughly refreshed as he swam in the water for about 15 minutes and then got out and dried off.
After a run on the beach, Jack and Bidgee made their way back to the beach house. Jack fed and watered his dog and left her on the enclosed deck to sleep. He had a quick shower to rinse off the salt water and sand and then changed into shorts and a t-shirt. Being around 1pm, Jack put together a light meal and ate.
With that done, Jack grabbed a light beer. Jack knew he should not have been drinking but he felt he deserved a few. Anyway, his next fight was yet to be decided so it would not hurt his body too much.
Jack sat down outside on the deck and watched the ocean. Feeling totally relaxed after his first beer he decided to have a second. Sitting outside and watching the waves, his mind betrayed him and he started to reflect on his sometimes painful past....
Jack had a good childhood overall. He grew up in a rough neighbourhood in Mayson New South Wales where you had to be on the lookout for trouble at all times. His family were just getting by but the household was full of love. His Dad Gary was a cop.
Gary Finnegan was a man who could have made detective but he loved being in uniform and patrolling the streets with his partner Matt McEwan. Jack's Mum Lisa worked a register at the local grocery store part time. Lisa was a loving Mother who ensured she was home in the afternoons to be with her children when they returned from school.
Billy was Jack's older brother by 4 years and they were as close as two brothers could be. Billy looked out for Jack and vice versa. Gary started teaching both boys to box at a pretty young age. Gary had been a pretty decent amateur boxer growing up but he turned out to be an even better trainer and was always in high demand.
Gary helped run a boxing program in the neighbourhood out of 'Harry's Gym'. The gym was owned by an ex fighter called Harry Weaver. In reality without the help of Gary Finnegan and Matt McEwan running the boxing classes, the gym would have closed its doors long ago.
Harry Weaver was once upon a time a contender for the Middle Weight crown. Now he was a bitter drunk who spent more time propping up a bar than running a gym. Fortunately, Gary and Matt each had a set of keys so the gym was always opened in the evenings for classes.
Billy showed little promise as a fighter and only went through the motions to appease his Dad. Whilst enjoying the gym environment Billy was more book smart. He watched the managers who came around the gym to look at promising fighters and knew that was where the smart money was.
Jack was a different kettle of fish. Gary knew straight away he had a champion in the making. Jack was a tireless trainer, quick to learn, had a strong right hand and was fearless. He looked at home in the ring and everyone could see it.
Lisa was not thrilled with Jack's love affair with boxing but she trusted her husband completely. Lisa knew Gary would not endanger Jack at such a young age sparing against boxers outside his ability or range of skills. Lisa was much happier that Billy seemed to have more interest in books than boxing.
Gary had to keep a tight rein on Jack, as he was headstrong and chomping at the bit to start competing. Gary wanted to develop Jack a bit more prior to starting his amateur boxing career. It got more difficult for Jack as Billy was already competing in tournaments as a 12 year old. 8 year old Jack loved to watch his older brother box and his Dad even let him work the corner. Jack would always copy ring jargon to throw in his advice to Billy when working the corner.
"Knock him out Billy, Knock him out" Jack would always say each round. Billy would always reply with
"Anything for you little brother."
Billy won more fights than he lost but not by much. Gary knew Billy was not going to set the world on fire but Jack had something. It seemed he was born to box.
The schedule Jack maintained was set in stone when he was 8 years old. Get up, go to school, come home, homework, boxing, dinner and bed. On weekends, Jack and Billy would workout on Saturdays and have Sundays off. Although there was, a 4 year age gap the Brothers still did a lot together. Due to their rigid schedules, they had no time to get into trouble.
Things continued that way for many years. At the age of 10, Jack began his amateur career and he won most of the time. The brothers were still very tight and looked out for each other. Things changed when Jack was 12 & Billy was 16. It came in the form of 12 year old Cathy Reilly and Billy's decision to quit competitive boxing.
By 16, Billy had enough of being in the ring and so he quit. Gary was not pleased but Lisa was delighted. Jack could actually recall some of the conversation the day Billy quit. It all happened at the Gym. Jack had been working out for 30 minutes and Billy had suddenly appeared in his school clothes. Gary was helping Jack with a combination when Billy appeared.
"Jesus Billy where the hell have you been! You'll be doing extra fitness work now" Gary proclaimed
"Dad I need to speak with you"
"After training we'll talk. Now get changed"
"No Dad I need to speak with you now!"
"Listen Boy for the last time get changed and we'll talk later"
"What do you mean no!"
You could hear a pin drop in the gym as all eyes turned to the Finnegan clan.
"Dad I didn't want to do it this way but you leave me with no choice. I am not boxing anymore. You have Jack... you don't need me."
"Son be reasonable..."
"Dad please I thought about this long and hard and I'm out. I'll see you at home."
The house was very icy for a long time and you could cut the tension with a knife. Gary then poured all his efforts into Jack. If Billy was upset, he did not say.
So Billy drifted away and was only interested in his school work and hanging out with his friends. Jack was upset with the decision of his older brother. Jack felt he lost his best training partner and confidant. Jack did not have too much time to mourn the loss of his brother from boxing. Soon a cute little red headed girl called Cathy Reilly distracted him.
Cathy Reilly was new to the neighbourhood. Her family had fallen on hard times as her father had been injured in a car accident and could no longer work. Cathy's mother Lyn was now the main breadwinner and her Mum had to work two jobs to ensure they survived.
Jack was instantly smitten. Whilst he was fearless in a boxing ring, he was completely out of his depth talking to the female species. Life kept on keeping on and Jack only admired Cathy from afar. Things began to change near Jack's 13th Birthday. Gary decided to quit the force, which had come about from being involved in a near fatal shooting. Then Matt McEwan his former partner gave Gary an intriguing offer.
Matt had retired from the force and had opened a store called 'Firepower Sports' and it was exceedingly successful. The store was doing so well in fact that Matt wanted to open another store on the other side of the city. Matt asked Gary if he would run it for him. The offer was too good to refuse so Gary agreed.
Billy being nearly 17 at the time wanted a car so he landed a part time job working with Gary. Gary had begun searching for an Assistant Manager who could run the store in his absence when he had other commitments. Gary found his Assistant Manager when Lyn Reilly came for an interview.
Naturally once Lyn began work both Gary and Billy came to know her well. They both found out Lyn had moved into the neighbourhood in the last year because of her husband's condition. Gary and Lyn soon became firm friends and with the money Lyn now made she was able to quit her second job.
The families soon became friends and often had cookouts on the weekends. Jack was delighted as he now had a venue to speak with Cathy outside of school. With all the time the Reilly and Finnegan families spent, together it was only a matter of time before a friendship blossomed between Jack and Cathy. Jack still maintained his strict regime but whereas years before Billy & Jack would spend all their spare time together, it was now Jack and Cathy.
By the time, Jack had reached 14 he was starting to really make a name for himself in amateur boxing circles. Billy at 18 decided to work full time at 'Firepower Sports' while attending night school to gain his business degree. Around that time Harry Weaver passed away, years of drinking had finally taken its toll. Harry had no family to speak of so it was a very small funeral. The shock came later that week when Gary and Matt found out they were the new owners of 'Harry's Gym'. As per the instruction in Harry's will, they now owned it lock, stock and barrel.
Gary and Matt made the decision to refit the gym out with new equipment and started attracting more legitimate trainers and boxers. Gary and Matt put their business heads together and in a short time, the gym was doing a pretty good trade. Billy was then asked to run the Gym during the day and the nights when available. All in all life was going pretty well for the Finnegan family.
Jack in the meantime was winning titles and travelling to various events. As Gary had a flexible schedule the father and son team went to events together throughout the country. The thing Gary was most pleased about was the attitude Jack displayed when he lost. Jack took the loss on his chin and went back to the drawing board to find out what went wrong. The boy was learning and honing his craft. There were some bad losses but he kept on fighting.
Love was blossoming between Jack and Cathy but it was a near tragic event that pushed them together and brought those suppressed feelings to the forefront. The neighbourhood was changing for the better but there were still bad elements about.
The worst element was a local neighbourhood gang called the "Westies". The Westies were a mix of hoods, thieves and general riff raff. The gang ranged in ages from 13 to 22 years of age and most of them were on the track for a life time spent in and out of the correctional system.