Friday, January 13, 2017

First Week Problems

So far, the winter boxing session has been off to a bad start.  I don't like to call the kids when they don't show up for class.  It's not a good use of my time.  Against my better judgment, I did call Donovan and Maz's homes.  Donovan has been "busy" and decided that he couldn't come to class today, either.  I should have been informed of that earlier in the week.  I got voice mail when I tried to contact Maz.  I left a message regarding the new attendance policy that is in place.  Unfortunately, both Maz and Donovan are currently in danger of running afoul of that policy.

Out of eleven kids who are registered for the youth class, only Davion, Tyler, and James showed up.  They were so busy fiddling around with their cell phones that they could not focus on what they were supposed to be doing.  James kept prattling on about video games and TV shows.  One of the other two boys complained about being bored.  Well, if they would actually train instead of goofing around or sitting and staring into space like deer in headlights, maybe they wouldn't be bored.  I gave the usual statements about the need to train in order to win fights, but they weren't listening.  I had enthusiasm in the beginning of class, but it fizzled quickly in the face of the kids' lack of motivation and interest.  Davion seemed surprised by the idea that any of them would participate in boxing competitions.  Really?  What does he think the class is about?

Sparring early during the class didn't seem to do much to raise the boys' interest.  Davion was giggling through most of his time in the ring.  James still has a long way to go.  At least his headgear wasn't coming off constantly like it usually does.  Tyler showed some promise, but he keeps his hands down too much.  I worked on head movement with Davion and Tyler afterward.  However, James was too enamored with video game hack videos on YouTube to get in gear for punch mitt work.

Davante was the only one who showed up for the teen class.  He told me he would cut his Saturday baseball practice short to come to the gym.  But I encouraged him to go.  After all, Davante has shown up the other days of the week, and he seems eager to learn about boxing.  I'm not going to have a problem with him going to baseball practice on Saturdays.

Group lessons are included on my lesson plan for the classes.  But it is hard to do them when everybody does not show up at one time.  I'm tired of doing the lessons piecemeal -- showing something to a couple one day, then going over the same things again to the ones who decide to stroll in a week or two later, and so on.  But I won't adjust the lesson plan to accommodate those who refuse to get it in gear and get to the class when they are supposed to be there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winter Session, Take Two

There are now eleven kids in the eight-to-12-year-olds' boxing class.  Too bad only two of them showed up today.  I knew I shouldn't have put out that much equipment, but silly me, thinking that I would have a nearly full class of enthusiastic students.  James did his usual sort of half-way workout, while I worked with Tyler, a new kid.

Maz, Ariel, and Donovan didn't bother to show up for the teen class. I would love to know what excuses they had for not being there. That was not a good way to start the session.

Davonte, a 13-year-old, signed up today, bringing the grand total of the teen class to four people.  Davonte is a big kid who also plays football and baseball.  His mother told me her son has baseball practice on Saturdays, which is fine.  It looks like he'll be in the class most days during the week.  It would be good to have Maz and Donovan work with him, although Davonte would be a better match for Ariel when it comes to sparring.  But Davonte's mother seemed a bit concerned about the boys sparring the girls, so that may not happen.

Jaymerson's mother signed him up again.  I sighed when I saw his name on the attendance list.  But Dwayne, the inclusion aide that assists Jaymerson, told me that the boy is also signed up for swimming.  He can only be in boxing two days a week.  Since Jaymerson is not allowed to spar, I suggested the boy show up on Tuesdays and Thursdays (sparring is on Wednesdays and Fridays).  His sister, Morgan, did not sign up again, but that's no loss.  The girl has no interest in the sport.

My boss told me there's a good chance that I will get most of the equipment that I asked for.  I hope so.  It won't drive more people into the class, but I'll feel better that I have the resources to use.

Lights Out At LaFollette

All the lights were out when I arrived at LaFollette Park yesterday.  It appeared that half of the neighborhood was without power.  Steve had left me a voice mail about coming in two hours earlier to finish up my time sheet, but being the non-cell phone lover that I am, I didn't check my messages.  My boss did not, however, mention that the field house had been without power since noon.

The staff had to contact the parents and guardians to come get their kids.  The kids were littering the main hallway, ripping and running, and making all kinds of ear-splitting noises.  I had a hard time hearing a lot of what Ms. Pousey, who handles the senior citizens' activities had to say.  We were talking about the possibility of having a boxing class specifically for seniors that would start earlier in the day.  At some point, some kid parked themselves next to me on the bench where Ms. Pousey and I were sitting.  They were watching a video on their cell phone, and the volume was turned up as loud as it go.  Another staff person asked the kid, "Could you turn that down -- or off?"  "Yeah," I said sarcastically to the kid, "because that is annoying.  Sorry."  I wanted to add, "sorry, not sorry". Yet another staff person heard me and they laughed.

The work day ended early, so basically, I wasted gas driving to the other side of town only to leave an hour after I arrived.  But I was happy to realize that I may have a solution to kids messing up my gym during the summer.  Last summer, I had summer hours, but fortunately, I was not scheduled to run boxing classes for the summer camp kids.  The seniors could have those hours in the summer before the regular boxing classes begin.  It could be done as an aerobic boxing class.  I think the seniors would like it.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Winter's Full House

In this photo, Alan stands in the middle of the ring as he shows techniques to the new people on the first day of the winter session.

There were the familiar faces like John, Paul, Lauren, Reif, Robert, Connor, and Kathy.  There were people who hadn't been in for awhile like Gabby and Erica.  There were a lot of new people including Andrew, who contacted me via this blog to get an idea of how the class would be. The place was packed. Robert asked me, "Is it always like this in January?" I confirmed that it was so.

I did a workout as much as my lower back would allow me.  During the last half of the class, I spent time with some of the new people like Sarah, Stephanie, and Kat, answering questions and helping out where I could.  I also listened closely to what Alan was telling the new people.  Sometimes, I feel I don't explain things well to the youths at LaFollette Park, so I try to pick up on better ways to communicate concepts.

Alan told some of the new women that they could spar with the other women in class including me.  But until I find out what is going on with my lower back, I'm restricting myself from sparring at Loyola Park for a while.  I'm not going to spar with the kids at LaFollette anymore, period.  They need to spar with those closer to their ages and speeds, and I don't need to take hits from the youngsters.  I just hope that Donovan and Maz don't start pulling a lot of disappearing acts this session, especially since at the moment, Ariel is the only girl in the teen class.  She's had the least sparring experience of all three, and she needs to have more.