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.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Channeling Ma


I don't like repeating myself.  Furthermore, I don't like repeating myself and sounding like my late mother.  Every day I'm in the gym, the same phrases and statements keep coming out of my mouth.  I long for the day when I won't have to say them anymore, but I seriously doubt that day will appear any time soon.

"Stop leaning on the ropes!"

"Stop playing and do some training!"

"If you all would train instead of play. . . ."

"Don't turn your back on an opponent!"

"Don't sit on the ropes!"

"If y'all do that during a regular match, the referee will stop the fight and give the trophy to the other person!"

"Don't step on the ropes!"

"Don't hit the heavy bags without hand wraps and gloves on!"

"This is boxing, not professional wrestling!"

"This is boxing, not mixed martial arts or the UFC!"

"Y'all have to learn how to wrap your own hands!  I'm not going to do it for you each time y'all come to the gym!"

"There is no open gym!  Sign up if you want to box!"

"I'm trying to run a class.  Those who are not signed up need to leave the gym -- NOW!"

"Don't eat in the gym!"

"Stop using curse words in the gym!"

"Hold that ball!  This is NOT the basketball gym!"

"Y'all have to make up your mind.  Either y'all gonna be in boxing or be in basketball (or whatever other activity the kids have signed up for at the same time they've signed up for boxing)."

"No, I'm not putting another Cobra bag in the gym."

"Buy a mouth piece!"

"Either train or go upstairs!"

"What did I just say?  Did y'all hear me?  Am I invisible?  Am I just talking to be talking?"




Can't Do Two Things At The Same Time


Not long ago, someone in the gym asked me where some of the other kids were.  "They're probably in another activity.  I don't know why some people have signed up for multiple things going on at the same time," I said.  Tough, who like her sister Talky and her brother T1, are signed up for many activities gave me some explanation that didn't make a lot of sense nor cut any ice with me.

Is it that some parents don't keep up with their kids' schedules?  One of the reasons why I want to talk to parents before they sign their kids up for boxing is that I need to emphasize that training is a commitment.  If their kids like basketball, cheer leading or whatever else is going on better, then they need to devote their time to that.  I'm not going to be offended.  However, I don't want them in my class if the commitment is not there.  

Running in the gym for ten to fifteen minutes, then telling me, "I'm going to go do something else", has got to stop.  Kids standing around for 30 minutes waiting to spar, instead of training, then having to run off to another activity before any sparring happens -- that's got to stop.  Showing up the last five to ten minutes of class and wanting to stay around an extra 20 minutes (mostly to goof off), after they've spent time in the basketball gym, or in cheer leading practice, or in swimming, etc. -- that's got to stop.  None of the kids who do such things are going to learn how to box properly.

I keep worrying about some kid getting their head handed to them during a Chicago Park District boxing show.  I can hear the kid crying and whining, "I lost," and me trying to keep my voice even as I point out, "Enough training wasn't done in the gym."  Perhaps their parents and guardians, get an attitude with me because their kid got hurt.  It would probably be a parent or guardian who never met me beforehand, but just signed off on the registration form and sent it back with their kid to the field house.

There's a huge possibility that some of the parents put their kids in the boxing class because they saw it was free.  There is a cost for a lot of the other kids' programs, and a free one appeals to many.  I have made it clear that I don't expect all of the kids to show up every day.  They at least have to make up their minds to show up at least twice a week and stay in the gym for the full class.  But I'm not going to make it my problem that boxing doesn't have a ball to throw, hit, or kick.  I can't make it my issue that boxing is not dancing, MMA, or wrestling.  If the kids really want to be a part of it, they'll make the time for it.  Otherwise, the kids are wasting their time, and to be honest, wasting my time as well.