Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Visit To Loyola Park

If you think the man in the photo above looks tired, you'd be correct.  Alan was too tired to work out the night I paid a visit to Loyola Park.  Luckily, it was a light night.  Not too many people came in.

It felt good to get in an hour and a half workout, as opposed to the twenty minute ones I usually get in at LaFollette Park.  It also felt good to hit a speed bag, a body snatcher bag, a double end bag, and move around in a ring that has ropes and a dark canvas -- things that aren't in place yet at LaFollette.

Colonel was in the gym, and in fine form as usual.

Martin was in the gym.  He wants to check out LaFollette sometimes.

Martin sparred with Jesus, shown here on the speed bag.

Professor was in the gym, but he didn't stay long.  Colonel commented that Professor had lost some weight.  Professor it was due to having been sick recently.

The woman in the above photo is originally from Peru.  Unfortunately, I can't remember her name.  But I had my coach's hat on for a minute, showing her how to throw jabs and rights.

Back at LaFollette, I made an announcement when the playing got out of hand -- again.  I told the kids if they were not training, they needed to leave the gym.  It's always the same kids -- some who are signed up for the class, and a few who are not, but want to hang around.  About ninety percent of the kids left.  I shook my head.  Most of them aren't going to learn how to box.  I can't fight their lack of interest in the sport.  I also can't do much about a lot of the discipline problems because that has to be dealt with at their homes.  I guess one of the kids really don't like me enforcing rules because they tore up a sign I had posted outside the gym that had some rules on it.  How nice.

Another staff member told that I have to continue to get across to the kids that the boxing gym is not a play area.  Easier said than done.  However, I have to have order, and I'm going to get it.  If that means some kids need to drop out of the program, than so be it.  But I can't allow some of the kids to continually turn the gym into a free-for-all, anything goes area.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Refereeing The Girls

Lord, help those of us who work with kids.   The girl I was grumbling about in the previous post -- let's call her Princess -- got into it with another girl -- let's call her LaLa -- in the gym.  I overheard an exchange of words that included insults about LaLa's mom.  I thought things had died down when Princess, LaLa, and two other girls ran into the women's washroom.

Moments later, Princess is walking around the gym sulking, and throwing insults at the other girls after they emerged from the washroom.  Allegedly, LaLa or one of the other two girls hit Princess in the face.  It took me about ten minutes to get the details about what exactly started the incident, and everyone's part in it.  Then I had to endure another twenty minutes of the girls screaming and yelling at the top of their voices as they disputed each others' facts.  Nothing got done in terms of training because the other kids stood around to watch and add their two cents.

I got on both Princess and LaLa about wanting to give each other beat downs over insults.  "They all were rolling their eyes at me and laughing," Princess snapped.  "Princess, you will never be able to control what people do, think, or say, so get over it now," I told her.  I also told the both of them that they could not resort to putting their hands on every and anybody who said something out of turn to them.  Neither one of them really listened to me.  After I told the both of them to drop their beef, Princess kept talking and keeping confusion going for another several minutes.  I knew Princess had started the mess.  If she had been paying attention and training instead of goofing off and playing around like she always does, the whole incident would not have happened.

Princess was walking around sniffing and crying.  One of the other girls convinced LaLa to apologize, but Princess wouldn't accept the apology.  A continuation of the argument was brewing again.  "Drop it now," I warned the both of them.

I noted that while Princess made threats to LaLa, the two other girls, and LaLa's older sister, she apparently didn't throw a punch back when she was allegedly hit in the girls' washroom.  That just further proved to me that Princess hasn't been paying attention in class.  Oh, she still would have been in trouble for fighting, but at least I would have had proof that she was learning something.

Losing My Patience

A lot of kids showed up at the gym.  I have 30 kids listed as being in the class, but usually 15 to 17 show up somewhat regularly during the week.

The one kid who usually skips my class, and who lies to her parents that she has been attending, showed up in the gym.  It is obvious she doesn't want to be there, as she never pays attention when technique is being taught.  She is a distraction, often influencing the other kids to play school yard games with her, when she's not teasing them.  She'll wait until I'm in the middle of coaching to pester me every five seconds with inane requests.

However, the dial on my patience was turned down to zero that day.  I kept my voice fairly even, but I let her know that her antics were not appreciated.  The girl also has an annoying habit of jumping in front of me to "instruct" the other kids as to how the box.  I sharply told her that I didn't need her help.  "There's only one boss in the gym, and that me," I told her.

It's not that the other kids are 100% angels all the time, but their behavior is manageable for the most part.  But this one particular girl has the "it's all about me" attitude 24/7.  When she doesn't get her way, she sulks and refuses to do anything.  I've noticed that while some of the kids go along with her goofing around, other kids are annoyed because they truly want to learn how to box.  I did not want to embarrass any of the kids by admonishing them in front of the others.  But in this girl's case, I made an exception.  Her behavior improved for a brief moment, but it wasn't long before it was business as usual.

I understand that some of the other activity instructors often ask her to leave their classes for the day when her behavior gets too much to bear. She came very close to being kicked out of the gym that day. But seeing how their tactics has not improved her behavior, I'm going to have to try other methods to keep order.  I don't want to be the coach who's always bellowing at someone, but it looks like I might have to relax that rule.

And I thought Igor, back in the adults' boxing class at Loyola Park, was irritating.  Igor ain't got nothing on the little girl in my class.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nosebleeds and Sparring

The photo is of the headgear stand at Loyola Park.  I need one at LaFollette.

Earlier in the week, one of the kids had a bad nosebleed.  It wasn't from sparring.  Unfortunately, it was a bit too warm in the gym.  The kid was one of those people whose nose starts gushing when there is too much heat in a room.  Luckily, I'm not the squeamish type.  I managed to help slow the flow down.  However, his older brother decided to take him home, so they both missed out on sparring that day.

Li'l Mama and her brothers didn't miss out on sparring today, however.  She had to spar with her younger brothers.  One of them kept taunting her in the ring.  Li'l Mama stepped back and got that look of determination on her face again before punching back in the later rounds.  I told her brother that he wasn't going to be able to take advantage of her so easily in the future.

One of the twins was looking for another girl who had sparred with Li'l Mama several days ago.  "I want to beat up that girl that was beating my sister," he told me.  "Sparring is practice fighting.  It's not for actually beating down someone," I answered.  "But she was hitting my sister.  I want to knock her tooth out," he continued, serious as a heart attack.  His mother and I both had to laugh.

I ended up sparring with the twins.  They kept saying they were going to knock me out.  Her brothers are six year old twins.  Of course, I was just doing pitty-pat while in the ring.  One of her brothers laughed and told me, "You're quick!"

No teenagers showed up for the later class -- again.  The mother of Li'l Mama and her brothers said, "It's party night.  That's why they're not here!"  She was right.  Cold weather doesn't keep people from partying.  But it seems to be an excuse for not showing up to do other things.  Promoting the boxing program so close to the holidays doesn't seem to be a good plan.  But I have to think of something to get the older kids interested in boxing.