Thursday, August 27, 2015
Both Rocky and Kishaun called me at the field house, assuring me that they were going to be at Harrison Park for a boxing show. "Please get there by 5:30 PM," I advised them. I showed up at 5:00 PM. Many fighters showed up in hopes of getting a fight. There a long line for the weigh-in. But after the last two fighters showed up around 6:25 PM to get weighed in, Tommy shut the scale down so the coaches could get about the business of making matches. Rocky and Kishaun never showed up.
Of course, I was ticked off. Kishaun could have had a match because of the wealth of boys who showed up looking for fights. But then, Kishaun hadn't been in the gym for two days, and he might have re-thought taking a fight because of missed training time. However, both Rocky and Kishaun have to think about the fact that I closed the whole gym down. That meant that no one was able to train today, including the adults who have to pay for the boxing class. I don't have an official park district volunteer for whom the staff will feel comfortable to open up the gym for in the event that I'm away at a boxing show with other fighters.
Also, both Rocky and Kishaun would have got to see some very good fights at the show. The fighters were serious about winning, and some very hard blows were thrown. Most of the fights went the distance; only a couple of them were stopped.
I saw Joe, a trainer who I hadn't seen for a long time. I received a warm greeting both from him and Sean, a referee. "Gentleman" Gerald and Shifty were the other two referees. Ernest, Rodney, Fermin, Mike, and Jeff rounded out the coaches who attended.
Fortunately, the night wasn't a total loss, because John from Loyola Park was able to get a fight. I helped Alan in the corner with him.
John didn't win, but he put up a good fight. I told Alan that I was bringing fighters to his and Barry's boxing show next month. But whether Kishaun and any of the other kids choose to show up remains to be seen.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
No sign of Kishaun today. Ashanti called her cousin via cell phone, only to be told that Kishaun was hanging around with another set of cousins somewhere. I know I told him last week there was a boxing show at Harrison Park going on this week. "Kishaun shouldn't be missing days at the gym," Ashanti said, and I agreed with her.
For a brief moment, Shanita and Julius made another appearance. As usual, Shanita did all of the talking, while her brother just looked around. She's fully into basketball these days, so she (nor her brother, for that matter) are returning to boxing any time soon. The both of them seemed surprised to see Derrick, his parents, and Ashanti in the gym.
I had Ashanti and Derrick do sparring drills for a few rounds. Then Derrick asked if I would do some rounds with him. The drill was made up of just us moving around and throwing punches, but not landing any. The point was to work on footwork, head movement, getting out of the corners, and defense. Derrick is very quick, but I managed to get him backed into the corners several times. Once there, he easily turned out of the corners.
At some point, I realized that I was chasing around a 13-year-old kid. "I'm forty years older than he is," I thought, as I struggled to keep up. That's one of the benefits of being a boxing coach. The coach has to practice their skills in order to keep time with the people he or she has in the gym. I got a good workout today. "You've got some skills!" Derrick exclaimed afterwards. I try to do my best.
Ashanti's mom doesn't want her to spar, I learned. "Accidents could happen," Ashanti explained. I guess that means she won't be taking on any boxing matches. Yet she has a good pair of strong hands. Sigh. . .it seems that I've lost Ashley, even though she won her one fight. Now it looks as if I won't have Ashanti facing anyone in the ring. Girls show up expressing their interest in fighting, but the challenge is getting them to really get into it.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
"Ralph is a good fighter," Alan said. "Too bad he's leaving tomorrow." It was Ralph's (wearing the blue hoodie in the photo) last day at Loyola Park. He's flying home to attend college, where he will major in international economics and law. Alan wished he could have gotten more fights for him.
I learned there will be a show fight somewhere on Ravenswood, but I don't know if there will be any slots for younger fighters. I'm planning to take some of my fighters to Harrison Park later this week for another Chicago Park District boxing show. Kishaun is up for it.
His cousin Derrick needs to control his temper, however. Last week, Kishaun got the better of a sparring session between him and Derrick. Despite Rocky, Derrick Sr., and myself telling Derrick to keep his emotions out of it, the boy stormed out of the gym afterwards.
The summer session is now officially over as of last week, and I'm looking forward to fall. I want to take my fighters to the upcoming boxing shows at Loyola Park, Simons Park, and Humboldt Park. I'm very pleased that summer camp is done, so I don't have to deal with that set of kids vandalizing my gym, at least until next year.