Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Being a Boxing Chauffeur


Kathy sparred with David last night at Loyola Park.  I told her she looked really tough in the ring, and she said, "I'm trying to do that!"  I scaled down my workout a little, and I was too tired to spar with her.

Hanging around the DMV and City Clerk's office for a majority of the day will do that to a person.  But praise God!  I now am the owner of a car.  I won't drive it Loyola Park because I live within walking distance.  But I will drive it to LaFollette, and I am most glad that my commute time to there will now be cut down considerably.

Another use for the car will be to transport people to the upcoming park district boxing shows.  However, based on the attendance habits of the youth, I'm anticipating some problems.  It's one thing for the youths to consistently show up to the gym late.  It's another thing to be tardy to a boxing show or tournament when the event has to start and end on time.  When I ask someone to meet me at 5:30 because we absolutely have to be somewhere, that does not mean they should show up at 6:00.  I will have left before then.  A lot of the youths may find out the hard way that I don't dig tardiness, especially when my time and now my gas money is involved.



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Wasting Time and Effort


As I understand it, the park district's boxing program is set up mostly for youths who want to compete.  But when there are kids in the class who can't or don't want to compete, it complicates what I do in terms of coaching.  I understand when the adults in the class say, "I don't want to hit anyone, and I don't want anyone hitting me."  It's easy to present an aerobic boxing program in that instance.  But most kids who sign up for the program expect to fight in the ring.

I've had a couple of kids flake out on me on the day of a boxing show before.  Last year, one kid decided right before the weigh-in that they didn't want to fight.  Another kid went out of town before the show, and didn't bother to tell me.  I barely speak to that kid when I see them (I had taken pains to pre-match them), and thankfully, they are no longer in the boxing class.  Now I've got a kid whose parent and grandparent don't want them to spar nor compete.  However, the kid, not being aware of their relatives' feelings, wants to do both.

Boxing involves giving and taking hits.  I can't change the nature of the sport.  So what does that kid's relatives expect me to do?  Why is the kid still in the program?  "I want them to get exercise and discipline," the parent told me.  But if focus and self-motivation is practically non-existent in a kid to begin with, as it in this situation, keeping them in the class is not going to help.

Other coaches have told me war stories of what drama they had to put up with when parents and guardians didn't want to hear that perhaps their little darlings should be enrolled in different sport.  Yet they need to hear that and respect the coach's observations.  I don't want to waste my time and effort.  I have other kids in the class who actually want to put in the work to do well in competitions. More importantly, the kid's time should not be wasted trying to plug them into an activity that doesn't suit them.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I Have My Suspicions


Brenan was the only one who showed up for the youth class.  I ended up sparring with him because he asked me.  But I mostly did defense while allowing him to do offense.  Brenan was not turning his back as often, and he was getting out of the corners when I forced him into them.  Now if only he would do that when sparring with the boys.

Brenan and his dad had barely left for the day when Justin, Janaye's brother, strolled in.  It was two minutes before the youth class was going to end.  Justin actually thought he was going to get a workout in.  "What are you going to do in two minutes?" I asked him.  "Can I come in now?" he said.  "Your class started awhile ago.  It's over for today," I informed him.  The boy had a cell phone in his hand, and I wondered why he didn't notice the time on it.

About five to ten minutes later, Justin returned to ask if his sister had come to the gym. "I'm not her keeper," was what I wanted to say. "She hasn't been here in weeks," is what I actually told her brother.  After he left again, a red flag came up.  Surely, if he was there, his sister had to be in the field house, too.  That scenario had happened before a few weeks prior, when Janaye came in briefly.  She told Justin to make sure to call her on her cell phone at a certain time.  Then she went away, and did not come back down to the gym that day.

Just before leaving for the day, one of the attendants told me they spied a teenage couple looking very cozy on the back stairwell leading up to the basketball gyms. I was asked had I seen the teens. "I'm in the basement," I told the attendant, "and I can't hear if anyone is up on the second landing."  "Those two were whispering to each other," the attendant said with a tone that suggested the teens were having an inappropriate conversation.

I walked to the nearest bus stop after leaving the field house for the day, and there was Janaye, Justin, and some boy whom I had never seen before. She said hi to me, but gave no explanation as to why she hasn't been in boxing class for weeks.  Janaye seemed very comfortable with the boy, however.  Now I'm wondering if Janaye and that boy were the couple that the attendant saw on the back stairs.

A relative of mine, one of my older nieces, once used me a shield to cover up the fact that she had a secret boyfriend.  My grandmother and oldest half-sister had practically imprisoned her in the house one summer, not letting her go anywhere. The smarter thing to have done was to talk to my niece, who was 14 at the time, and lay down rules and expectations.  As hot as that summer was, it would have also been a good idea to let her go outside with her friends from time to time. But nooooo, as the late John Belushi used to say.  That would have been too much like having common sense on my grandmother and half-sister's part.  So one day, she told them she needed to go to the library.  She couldn't go unless someone went with her.  I happened to be at my grandmother's house that day, so I was pressed into service into being my niece's chaperon.  The next thing I knew, I was being dragged around the neighborhood by my niece so she could steal some giggling and goo-goo eye time with some pock-faced boy she liked.  That was the first and last time I allowed her to do that to me.

If I'm being used as a alibi in this current situation, I'm shutting it down with a quickness.  I've already had to deal with a situation where another teen girl who was in the gym in the past was assaulted.  She was telling her mother she was going to boxing class.  I found out she was lying to her mama when her mama showed up one day to ask how her daughter was doing in class.  The girl hadn't been there for two weeks.  Not long after that, the girl was assaulted while hanging somewhere else when she was supposed to be in the gym.  She only got slapped.  But it could have been a lot worse.

Looks like I'm going to have to talk to Janaye's parents.  She hasn't been in regular attendance for the past couple of sessions she's been signed up for.  Her parents, particularly her dad, will probably want to sign her up for the summer session.  Better for me to voice my suspicions now, than to be silent and wished I had said something sooner.