Friday, January 30, 2015

How About Some Football?

"Really?" I thought to myself when I saw a few spots of white paint on the walls in the gym.  Every other room was busy, so the kids and I had to go up to the girls' basketball gym to participate in another class.  The class was basically an open gym for kids 12 and under.

The instructor had the kids playing an abbreviated form of football.  I didn't play because a) my left knee has been acting up again, and b) I'm not into football.  It gave the kids in my class something to do, which I was happy about.  But of course, some did not participate (Angel), some were acting out as usual (Tough and Talky), and some didn't show up, period (most of the boxing class).  Canceling the boxing class until the gym is painted is not an option.  The program is new and still in the process of being built up.  Any shut down will seriously slow the momentum.

I learned that most of the kids don't listen and are always trying to do what they want to do -- contrary to what is actually going on -- in most every program that goes on at the field house.  I kept having to check Tough and Talky for their antics, and I was not in the mood for much. Tough had the nerve to suggest that everyone participate in a hula-hoop competition because she was bored with throwing around a ball.  The staff person running the open gym as well as myself told Tough twice that she could not do that.  Instead of following orders, Tough tried again to get the other kids on her side.  I overheard one boy tell her that he had the right to not want to go along with what she wanted to do. I was cheering him in my mind.

While the kids were playing, the usual crowd of basketball players kept wandering in and out.  One boy could not understand why he had to wait more than an hour to use the gym.  I grumbled to the kid, "Y'all got basketball on the brain," before again repeating what time the other kids would be done with the gym.  All of my encounters with the kids today made me extremely glad that I could go home to a nice, quiet apartment where there are no kids -- or grandchildren, for that matter.  I actually felt sorry for their parents who have to live with that 24/7 for 18 to 21 years.  Help them, Jesus.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Paint and Dodge Ball

Another day of having to be moved to different room because of the boxing gym being painted.  I don't know how much more I can take of this.  A peek in the gym showed that little to nothing had been done.  I'm beginning to run out of ideas to keep the kids busy, as I don't dare bring equipment upstairs that can end up walking.

This time, we were in the auditorium.  The kids' interest in yet another round of new exercises I introduced quickly disappeared.  T1 stayed in the basketball gym, not bothering to show up.  Lu wasn't there, either.  Marine and Angel resumed their usual flirtation with each other.  Tough, Talky, Curly and Little J started playing up on the stage.  The kids associated with the community organization didn't come to class, even though I told their leader what time and days the gym is open.  There were several balls located behind the curtain.  I picked the softest ones and called for a game of dodge ball.

I haven't played dodge ball since. . .I don't know, 1972 or 1973?  It's been a long time.  Many schools have banned the game on the silly premise that it's too aggressive and demeaning and whatever other excuses the political correct police created.  That game can still be done.  Just use Nerf-like balls like we did.  It was a lot of fun, but not much of a substitute for boxing training.  Summer seems to be a long way off, but not really.  The boxing shows will be taking place soon, and training time is being lost.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jumping In and Whippings

The gym is finally being painted, so the kids and I can't be in there for a few days.  One of the staff members told me that sometimes, painters will let people hang for a month before they finish their job.  I certainly hope that's not the case where the boxing class is concerned.  The kids associated with a community organization returned to class after disappearing most of last week.  The combination of them and the kids who've been there awhile wasn't such a good mix in the boys' basketball gym.  The same incidents of playing around went on.  Tough kept getting on my nerves complaining about some of the boys hitting her.  I finally told her that if she would worry about what she is supposed to be doing, that wouldn't happen.  She didn't like my answer, but I didn't care.  I'm tired of being distracted by the kids' nonsense arguments.  It's counterproductive to anyone learning anything in the gym.  Tough always wants to play victim, but she often starts problems and then continues them.

I opted not to bring up any of the boxing equipment because I don't want any of it to come up missing.  When I was at Loyola Park, the stuff that was easier to smuggle out, like gloves, headgear, and hand wraps would disappear often.  I've already been told there is a problem of many "sticky fingers" at LaFollette Park.  Until the boxing gym is painted, that time can be used for conditioning and shadow boxing.  Conditioning is sorely needed.  Just about none of the kids do any floor exercises until I get on them to do it.

One kid wants to exchange places with a kid who is in another activity.  They have decided that boxing is not for them.  Fine, but they have to get permission from their parents to do the switch.  I can't just go into the computer system to withdraw and add kids.

For some reason, some of the kids brought up the subject of spankings, or whippings, as we usually referred to discipline in the 'hood.  One of the boys assumed that I was never spanked at all.  "Oh, please!  I can tell many stories about when I took a whipping and why!" I told the kids.  All of the kids seemed surprised.  I got the feeling they thought "old folks" never got punished for things when we were kids.

Another boy said, "If someone is taking a beating in the ring, will you jump in the fight?"  I had to explain that is yet another move that can't be done in boxing.  A few of the kids paid attention when I told them once they get in the ring, I can't fight their fight.  That's why they need to train and pay attention to me in the gym.  In the ring, they are on their own.