Saturday, October 18, 2014

Selling Boxing To The Girls

I found another Cobra bag at the field house.  The base is filled with water.  I pushed it out of the storage room where it was located into the gym area.  Only three youths showed up, and they had fun knocking the bag around.

Yesterday, I received the boxing fliers, so I hurried over to Lewis, the closest grade school to LaFollette Park, to hand them out.  Most of the boys were happy to get the fliers.  A few of them showed up in the gym not long after they got a flier.  The girls were a different story.  One girl's eyes widened in terror.  "Oh, no!  I don't want to box!" she said, as she rushed away.  Another girl said smugly, "I already know how to fight."  "Not in the ring you don't," I told her.

I never liked fighting with girls when I was in grade and high school.  Most every girl fought the same -- wild windmill and round house punches.  Then came the scratching and hair pulling.  I remember some girls taking off their shoes and hitting people with those.  I didn't know how to box back then, but I would wait for an opening then, boom, try to knock them to the ground.  I cut one girl's chin open with my fist back in third grade.  We're currently friends on Facebook.  I don't know if she remembers the fight.  After all, that was 44 years ago.

Looks like I'm going to have a boxing program that is filled predominately with males.  Currently, there are two girls in the 12 and under class, but I wish there were more.  It's tough to get the girls interested.  But I know this -- the females who are involved in boxing and stick with it have an edge to them.  A lot of them are tomboys.  Unfortunately, boxing is a tough sell to "girly" girls and women.  Nothing wrong with being very feminine.  However, it seems that the females who are very feminine don't last long in the gym, if they sign up.

I guess the best way to convince the girls to come in is to talk up the health benefits of the sport while assuring them that they do not have to spar if they don't want to spar.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Twins and the Football Team

I was hopping at the gym.  Three moms came in to sign up their kids for boxing.  I'm particularly looking forward to coaching three of the kids, two six year old boys and their eight year old sister.  The two boys were very animated, while their sister, the voice of reason, smiled, looked at them and shook her head.  I felt like I was in a comedy show with the two boys, who were proud to show me their various scars.  After they all left, I looked at the sign up form and wondered why their mother listed both of her sons as having the same birthday.  Then it dawned on me that the boys were twins.  But I could tell them apart.  That will be helpful when they come in next week.

The teenagers returned, but not the 15 year old girl who was in the other day.  It was all boys, and all they wanted to do was spar, so I let them.  But at the same time, the football coach brought his team in for conditioning exercises.  It was quite a juggling act, keeping an eye on the teens while giving exercises to the team.  I ran out of exercises after awhile, so I taught them the punches.

Looks like the word has gotten out, and now, I'm getting a rush of kids and teens in.  I still don't have the boxing fliers, but Steve, the supervisor, promised he would pick them up for me tomorrow.  I have to alert the parents that the current times are only for the fall and winter sessions.  By spring, an adult session will probably be added.  Unfortunately, the younger kids time will have to be cut by at least a half-hour when that happens.  But the more I work with those under age 12, the more I realize that an hour is really all they need.

The teens will need the hour and a half, especially since most of them have expressed an interest in getting matches.  A couple of the teens who came in will be 16 years old before the end of the year.  I told them it was a little late to try to get a fight at the park district tournaments, which are happening now.  But then can set their sites on next year's Chicago Golden Gloves.  However, they have to start training for it now.

The adults, even though most of them probably will not compete, are going to need to have an hour and a half.  They are going to want to feel that they've received enough time for whatever fee they will have to pay.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Here Come The Teenagers

In this photo that was taken back in 2008, Barry (in the blue shirt) works with Edward in the ring at Loyola Park.

I think one of the little girls in the boxing class is gone.  Her mother no longer works at the field house, having found another job.  The other girl, an eight year old, showed up, but the two boys, aged eight and ten, did not.  Near the end of the kids' class, three 15 year olds, two boys and a girl, walked into the gym.  They wanted to spar despite not being signed up for the class.  I was glad to see some teenagers, so I obliged them.

Turns out that the teenage girl knew more than the teenage boys.  She knew all of the punches, and while sparring light with one of the boys, she caught him several times.  "I used to take boxing at my school, and I also took boxing at a school I used to go to in Milwaukee," she explained.  I sure hope she comes back to the gym.

The boys then lightly sparred with each other, and quickly found out that boxing is not as easy as it looks.  The eight year old girl kept trying to tell the older boys what to do.  I acted as referee, but the little girl was also in the ring.  Finally, I had to tell her she couldn't be in the ring while others were sparring.  After the boys got tired out, the little girl asked me if she could spar with one of the teenage boys.  "Oh, no," I said, explaining to her that she has to spar with kids her own age.

Alan called me last night.  I took the opportunity to ask him how to keep kids under age 12 focused while they are in the gym.  "Keep them busy with exercises and drills," he said.  I've got to constantly be on the lookout for activities to keep the younger kids interested, especially since I don't have all the equipment I need.  It would also help to have more younger kids in the class.  The boxing fliers are coming soon, so hopefully, that class will become full.