Thursday, July 30, 2015

A New One On Me


The other day found Rocky and I trying to convince Kishaun to shadowbox.  "It just doesn't feel right," Kishaun said.  "What doesn't feel right?" I asked.  "I don't have anyone in front of me," Kishaun answered.  "It doesn't matter!" Rocky said in frustration.

We still don't have mirrors in the gym, and I doubt there will be any in there anytime soon.  But I explained to Kishaun that shadowboxing is part of boxing training, and it has to be done.  I had never heard "it doesn't feel right" being used as a reason not to shadowbox before.

Rocky took a a seat and grumbled about Kishaun wasting time in the gym.  I was irritated, too, because Kishaun seems to give his all during football practice, but acts lazy in the boxing gym.  "Use your imagination!" Rocky snapped when Kishaun repeated again about shadowboxing being hard because of the lack of having a live person in front of him.  Eventually, Kishaun did do a couple of rounds of shadowboxing, but more should have been done.

Derrick won't be going to Seward Park's boxing show next week because his dad believes he needs to work on head movement and the left jab more.  I'm in agreement with Derrick's dad.  BJ's dad wants him to wait a couple of months before taking a fight.  I agree with that, too.  Tyrone is fairly new, and not ready to take on a fight yet.  Neither is Andre.  Nassir and Little Jordan show up to train on and off, and don't follow instructions when they do.  Little Jordan's sister, Jordana, seldom attends the gym.  Dorian and Trejan don't show up consistently nor train hard enough.  LaKendrick hasn't been in the gym for over a week.  Ashley wants to fight, but doesn't want to spar.  Mya doesn't want to spar or fight.  Guadalupe, Big Jordan, and Tandi seem to have disappeared, and Shanita and Julius quit.

That leaves Kishaun, who's dividing his time between boxing and football, and Carmelius.  The gym is going to be closed for two days due to a gospel fest that I just recently learned about (and I have to be there to monitor the people going in and out).  None of the kids can afford to lose training time in the middle of the park district boxing season, but there's nothing I can do about that.  We'll just have to step up training next week for the couple of days before the boxing show takes place.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Parents Need To Know Their Place


I walked into the gym, thankful that I did not have to deal with the summer camp kids today.  But they had been there earlier in the day.  A large poster I had up on the bulletin board had been ripped down.  Someone had laid it to the side, but no note had been left explaining how it got there.  Nor did any of the staff say anything.  After re-stapling it up, I reported the incident to Steve, the supervisor.  He promised to talk to the camp counselors about seeing to it that the kids touch nothing while they are in the gym.

To avoid a repeat of having to deal with most of the kids' destructive ways, I sat in a chair right in front of the bulletin board when they came down to get their afternoon snack.  I had to put up with a lot of offhand remarks about my hair (I went to the barber shop yesterday), but my presence kept the kids from leaning on and touching that board.  I wish I had thought to do that the first time I noticed the kids were vandalizing that board.  Unfortunately, I can't protect the board earlier in the day when I'm not there.  But I'm damn sure not going to allow the kids to tear it up when I'm actually in the room.

Shanita and Julius came in again.  Why?  I have no idea.  I officially withdrew them from the class today.  Shanita's insistence that she has still "got it" indicates she has no understanding about how quickly skills not being used can diminish.  Julius said nothing, and I didn't say a word to him. Maybe he picked up on the fact that I'm still a bit ticked about Julius backing out of a fight a few weeks ago with no notice.

Later, there was a sparring match between two of the boys.  One boy is usually very good on his feet, but for some reason, he stopped defending against the other boy's punches.  When I saw the headgear was askew, and tears running down the boy's face, I called him to come out of the ring.  However, the parent of the boy who was "winning" wanted the other boy to keep fighting.  "He's good," the parent kept insisting.

But the other parent pulled their kid out after admonishing their kid for being a "sitting target".  Despite of this, the parent of the "winner" kept pushing for the sparring to continue.  The other parent snapped, "I got this!" and a small argument began.  I stayed quiet, waiting to see how it was going to play out.  The other parent apologized to me and took their son home.  "We'll try again tomorrow," they told me.

However, the parent of the "winner" still didn't get that the sparring was over.  They didn't even notice the other parent and their kid had left.  I noticed they thought it was amusing that a minor argument had taken place.  But it wasn't funny to the other parent, and it wasn't funny to me.

Parents need to know their place in the gym, and to be honest, I need to be more direct with some of them about who really is in charge.  I was not cool with the idea that the parent of the "winner" was willing to ignore the fact that the other boy was hurt just so their kid could get some sparring work in.  That's not what amateur boxing is about.  Yes, kids are going to get hurt from time to time.  But amateur boxing is about safety, not letting sparring or actual fights go on until one or both fighters need serious medical attention.  Trust me, that incident will not happen again.  The door to the gym opens as well as closes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Five Rounds Of The Night


It's Gabe vs. John (the other one, not John the teacher) during sparring at Loyola Park.

I did five rounds of sparring: three with Kelly, and two with Katie.  Kelly is not much taller than I, but she stayed on her toes and moved around a lot more than I did.  It was only during the third round with her that I remembered to move my head.  After going a little too hard with my right hook, I heard Alan telling me, "Easy, Hillari!"

Katie's long arms were hard to get around, and she kept the jab in my face.  I got in hooks to the body, but like Kelly, she kept moving around, too.  I could back Kelly up into the corners sometimes, but I couldn't do that to Katie.  My knees were not doing so well during the last round with Katie.  I plodded along until the bell rang to end it.

John also sparred with Rafael, who is from Austria.  I missed seeing a hard punch that John gave Rafael, but I saw the result.  Rafael was bleeding all over one of the gym's towels.  He went to the washroom to clean up, and when he returned, he gave John a high five.  Alan was praising John about how he opened up on Rafael.

Geniece opened up on a guy named Richard.  I could tell Richard wasn't hitting her very hard.  But she didn't hold back on him.  A couple of times, Richard stepped back and shook his head to clear it after Geniece rocked him.

Today, I finally brought a scale for the gym at LaFollette.  I'm going to hide it for a minute in the storage room.  Some of the kids treated the other scale (which belongs to Ken, who trains people in the fitness center) like a toy.  They kept wanting to get on it every time they were at the gym, which is unnecessary.  I also ordered cones so the kids can work on their footwork.  An agility ladder would have been better, but the floor in the gym is uneven, so a ladder wouldn't sit properly.  Alan suggested that I also get milk crates so the kids can jump over them in order to work on their footwork.  I also got a pair of one pound weights; I'll buy a few more pair before summer ends.  Those are for shadow boxing.  Unfortunately, I can't buy everything I want for the gym out of my own pocket, but I can purchase a few things to help the fighters out.