Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Side Hustle Boxing


Several of the women in my neighborhood expressed interest in attending a boxing class.  After making inquiries and finding a spot for it to take place, I now run a women's only boxing class on the weekends.  The emphasis is on fitness as opposed to preparing for competitions.


After the disastrous fall session at LaFollette Park, running a women's only fitness boxing class is a pleasure.  It's a chance for me to make a little extra money.  The majority of Chicago Park District employees are part-time.  If my father, who was also a government employee were alive, he would alternately be laughing at and picking on me about the low salary I make at the park district as well as the fact that I don't get annual raises in pay among other job benefits.  It is no wonder that most park district employees have to take on a second job. 

It feels good to coach adults.  I haven't had much of a chance to do that at LaFollette because the adult boxing class is the least populated class of the ones I have there.  Only once in the four years I've been with the park district has that class been half-way full.  Not once have any of the adults -- save for Sahia -- stayed in the class for an entire session. 


Coaching adults has always easier than dealing with kids and teens.  I don't have to deal with parents' issues on top of the youth's issues.  The group of women I have in the weekend classes want to be there and are eager to learn.  I do my utmost to mix up the routines to make it interesting for them and so they get the most out of it.  Since I have my own health issues, I'm very mindful of what health issues the women may have.  Modifications are made for every exercise.  The women are encouraged to work within their own fitness levels.  My motto is, if something doesn't feel comfortable to do, then let's do something else.

I'm hoping that the women's fitness boxing class continues to grow and that I can offer more classes like that at other times during the week.




Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Keeping Youths In

I had to attend another instructor's meeting today.  The topic of how to keep youths in the park district programs came up.  Several people, including me, pointed out that if there is no cooperation from parents and guardians, keeping youths in the programs is very difficult.

When dealing with a parent or guardian who displays an indifferent attitude about their kid's presence in the boxing program, my attitude is "If the parent/guardian doesn't care, I don't care either."  It's a waste of my energy to keep trying to convince people that it is beneficial for their kids to show up.  It is very frustrating, and heartbreaking as well when I notice that a kid really likes boxing and wants to be there but has no support at home.

However, if I also have to deal with a kid being disrespectful, lazy, rude, etc., on top of their parent or guardian's indifference, I'm done.  I don't agree with what appears to be the park district's thought that I should keep someone around at all costs just to show I have the numbers.  I'm not shy about telling people that their child needs to sign up for something else.  A small number of motivated, teachable kids and teens is more pleasant to take.  It beats having a crowded gym full of youths who really don't want to be there, who have been registered by their parents and guardians for the wrong reasons, etc.


A manager at the meeting told the attendees that we need to plan for next year.  I always plan to have someone compete at the City-Wide Boxing Tournament and in the Chicago Golden Gloves.  I always plan what to do to get the kids to those competitions.  My plans have yet to work out because once again, it depends on whether or not I get cooperation from parents and guardians.  Some parents and guardians never talk to me; they just dump their kids off and leave (or have someone else do that).  It was suggested that maybe employees should reach out and ask them what they may need in terms of getting their kids to the program regularly.  That's been done, too -- mostly by the gym volunteer because I don't have the patience or the time, frankly -- and still, no good results.  It makes me wonder if some of the parents and guardians are operating like that with their kids' school teachers.  

A major part of any park district program working effectively is having the parents/guardians and the person running the program act as a team to make the program enjoyable and worthwhile for the youths.  If that's not happening, then the program suffers.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Finally, The End Of The Session


Henry and David's 95-year-old grandmother passed away recently.  It was expected, but sad all the same.  Right before that, one of Sahia's sons was in a bad auto accident.  He's okay, but his truck was totaled.  With everything else that has transpired during this session, I can't say that I'm surprised that it is ending this week on such somber notes. 

Some equipment needs to be replaced due to carelessness on the part of the window installers leaving the equipment room door open several times.  Most of the hand wraps have disappeared and another of the jump ropes are missing.  Luckily, I don't keep any of my personal items in that room on a daily basis.  I'm not in the mood to hear the park district crying about what funds aren't available.  I've needed new equipment for a couple of years now.

Another in the long line of issues that continually ticks me off is Lael's willingness to obey when Sahia tells him to do his training.  Yet when I tell Lael to focus, especially when Sahia is not there, I get blank looks, non-cooperation, and the occasional smart-aleck comment.  I've made it clear a couple of times that if Lael doesn't want to be in the class he needs to say so.  But his mother might sign him up again for the winter session.  Frankly, I'm not looking forward to that.


I would like to have Gregory and DeMarius back in the class for winter, but I'm concerned about their current attendance.  It's a mix of them being involved in other sports and whether or not their people are able to bring them to the gym on any given day.  Both of them have good potential that I'd like to keep working with.

Damaris showed up in class again after having been absent for weeks.  She displayed the same old, same old in terms of her attitude.  What I'm hoping for is a large influx of kids under age 12 to join the class.  Sometimes, the presence of other kids, especially those who actually are interested in boxing, help to create attitude adjustments in the kids whose motivation is low.  Hasn't really happened in the case of Damaris nor Lael, but I can dream. 

I have to plan for the City-Wide Tournament which isn't as far away as it seems.  Next year, I would like to have some contenders in that tournament as opposed to spending two days doing nothing but judging fights.