Thursday, May 11, 2017

When Kids Disappear, So Do Their Opportunities


Ariel got in trouble with her grandmother the other day.  Grandma showed up unexpectedly to pick her up from the gym, but Ariel wasn't there.  The girl dropped in briefly to drop off her book bag.  "I'll be back," she told me, but a half-hour went by.  Ariel's been doing that since she's been taking the class.  Whenever she starts talking about getting a fight, I remind her that she needs to show up more often to train, as well as remain for the entire class time.  Grandma was not happy to find that Ariel wasn't where she was supposed to be.  In fact, it was discovered that the girl wasn't even inside the field house.  "Too much goes on out here in the streets for these kids to just roam around," her grandmother said, and I agreed.  I suspect both the grandmother and her mother had a deep conversation with Ariel when she got home.

Iz and his brother Abraham have been absent for a couple of days.  David had no chance to spar yesterday because of that.  It concerns me because Iz and Abraham have already signed up for the summer class (as has David).  I can buy the excuses about arriving late most days because of having to travel from school.  I know that they miss one day every week due to swimming.  But their tardiness and disappearances here and there are not going to cut it next session.  They won't have school as an excuse, and the boxing shows will be happening.

Commitment from the youths has always been in short supply in the boxing program.  No matter how many times I tell the youths (and parents/guardians) that opportunities, like competing for example, and sparring, to an extent are not going to be available to them because of poor training habits and poor attendance, it doesn't sink in.  I'm beginning to suspect there's a willful lack of wanting to listen.  So I'm fully prepared to take the heat when I deny youths opportunities in the program because of their own actions.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Recognizing Potential


J, a trainer at LaFollette Park, has taken an interest in Ariel regarding her training.  He had her skip rope 500 times the other day.  She did it with ease.  He's not the only one who's always checking for her down at the gym.  People are very interested in watching her train because she has good potential when it comes to competing.  Unfortunately, Ariel doesn't show up to the gym consistently.  I would like to schedule sparring sessions for her with other fighters within the park district, but her attendance, on top of the fact that she's female, makes that hard to do.

I had to lightly admonish Iz and his brother Abraham this past Saturday.  They showed up to the gym on Friday -- late, as usual -- found the door locked and didn't check around enough to learn that I was there.  In their defense, I might have forgotten to open the door that leads to the other set of doors that open into the gym.  It's happened from time to time.  But if they would at least had kicked and banged on the door, I would have heard that.  So those two missed out on sparring.  They were in the field house on Saturday because they opt to go to swimming instead of boxing on that day.

There's been no more talk about the seniors having their own boxing class.  A class for them should have been on for this spring.  I keep hearing that those who are supposedly interested in boxing haven't met yet to decide when they want to take the class.  The idea was presented to them back in February, and now, it is May.  I'm over it at this point.  I was willing to run the class, but I don't have time for this "we can't make up our minds" stuff.  My priorities now are to keep the summer camp kids out of my gym as much as possible this summer, preparing people for the boxing shows, and focus on getting the adult boxing class back on the schedule for fall.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A City-Wide Mix Up


Yesterday, Ariel asked about signing up for the Chicago City-Wide Tournament.  "The registration has passed," I told her.  Besides, Ariel hadn't been around enough so we could make plans to sign up.  Ariel didn't come in today but was hoping that Porsche will come in soon.  Ariel wants to spar on Thursday if Porsche shows up because she's going out of town on Friday.  So it looks as if she'll miss a week of training which is not a good situation.  I have yet to see Porsche spar or fight so I don't know how she'll stack up against Ariel.

Today, Fermin, the coach at Harrison Park, called me, wondering why one of my fighters didn't show up for a match with one of his fighters at the City-Wide.  I believe the fighter was Anthony, who is not one of my fighters, but one of Derek's North Lawndale Boxing League kids who signed up at my gym.  For some reason, I had a feeling that something like this would happen.  "I don't have Derek's phone number, but call Thomas (the head of the boxing program).  He might have his number," I told Fermin.  I was a little irritated to think that people down at the City-Wide probably assumed that one of my own fighters had backed out of a commitment.

Abraham and Itzcoatl have not shown up to the gym since last Friday.  Alyssa and Mia have been gone for longer than a week. David was the only one who showed up.  He wanted to spar but that's not possible when other kids don't keep their commitment to show up to class.  I'm glad I didn't give any mouthpieces out because that might have been a wasteful thing to do.  I've given out mouthpieces to those who dropped out of the class right after they got them.  I've made the mistake of giving mouthpieces to those who said they were interested in signing up and did not, like Jayla, for example. Now I wait a couple of weeks into the session before I give mouthpieces out.  But even that is no guarantee anyone is going to follow through with the class.