Saturday, August 23, 2014
There will not be an adult boxing program at LaFollette Park at this time. The gym will be open for kids and teens beginning September 16th. I was told that an adult class will be added later on. That changes my lesson plan a little, but the adjustments aren't major.
I might have a volunteer to help in the gym soon. A young man introduced himself to me the other day and explained that he was eager to work with the kids. The young man had fought in the Golden Gloves. The field house supervisor printed out a volunteer form for him. "It might take a couple of weeks or more to approve, but turn it in as soon as you can," I told him.
In the meantime, I've been talking to the kids who hang around the field house and the park about the upcoming boxing class. All I have to do is walk around with my battered bag gloves and my hands wraps on, and the kids start asking questions. Turns out that quite a few kids are interested. But a lot of kids have a lot of other after-school activities going on, too. I'll have flyers soon so I can do more recruiting.
The second group of people I need to reach out to are the kids' parents and guardians. I already know that some parents/guardians -- regardless of how much interest their kids show -- are not going to be too keen about giving permission to the kids to box. The very nature of boxing as a tough, rough sport means that I have to assure parents and guardians that their kids will be safe and looked after.
The boys are interested, but I'd like to see girls sign up as well. Seldom would I see any girls under age 12 in the boxing classes at other park district gyms. Not many teenage girls were in the boxing classes, either. Even if they never spar and/or compete (and this goes for the boys, too), I'd like to show the girls that boxing is a good workout.
I had to go through my storage bins to find my boxing books. I don't know why I packed most of them away, but they are back in my bookcases. I'm going to be re-reading most of them so I can get more ideas to use with the youths.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I was hanging around in the front hallway, talking to Pam, Myiesha, Rog, and other staff members. Two kids walked past on their way to the pool. Myiesha asked them where were their parents. It was family swim, and the rules state that a parent has to be in the pool with their kids. The kids explained that their mother was outside. "You two look familiar," I said to the kids. I asked the boy what his name was. "I'm Nathanial, and this is my twin sister, Nia," he said. "Your mother's name is Kim, right?" I asked. The kids answered in the affirmative, the looks on their faces wondering how did I know that. "I went to grade school and high school with your mom," I said.
I followed the twins outside to their mom's car. I heard Nia say, "Hillari is here!" Kim stepped out of her car and gave me a big hug. Her kids are training for a sports event, and they needed to practice in the pool. The photo above is a selfie taken with Nia's cell phone. I was so glad to finally meet Kim's children. She brags on them all the time for good reason. Also, Kim is a very involved parent. She goes out of her way to make sure that her kids have various experiences, and she is their biggest cheerleader.
Earlier, I did a workout in the gym. Myiesha, Rog, and ReRe watched as I alternated between hitting a heavy bag and an uppercut bag. It was so hot in the room, so I only did four three-minute rounds. I need to get what workouts I can in now because once the fall session starts, I won't be able to do many of them.
I was walking through the halls with my hands wrapped, carrying my old bag gloves. Three youths saw me, and they were surprised that I was the new boxing coach. One boy said, "Seriously?" The second boy said, "But we don't want to hurt you!" The third boy, who was older than the other two said, "Come on, man. She's not going to be sparring with us! She's the coach!" I try to be seen with gloves as much as I can. It's a way to help promote the program and drum up interest. Soon, I will be creating a flyer to hand out to kids and adults.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
The photo above is of LaFollette Park's boxing gym. There are pieces of the ring in a nearby storage room. The two bulletin boards in the gym aren't visible in this shot, but I worked on them today. I took down the old paper and pictures. I'll copy some material out of the boxing books and magazines I have at home to decorate the bulletin boards.
These are speakers; the sound system is behind them in the boxing gym's storage room. I suspect I'll be listening to the usual hip-hop stations when the gym is open, just like when I was at Loyola Park. There were CDs around, but I didn't look at them too closely.
This is the boxing gym storage area.
These are hand weights in the storage area.
There's a small refrigerator in the storage area. A couple of containers of water are inside, along with three jars of petroleum jelly. I'm glad there's a 'fridge; I can store snacks there plus extra water bottles.
This is the football field in the back of the field house, which also doubles as a soccer field. I met James, who is the youth football coach. He told me that his players who also did boxing workouts in the past were in great shape. James proposed having the football players coming in to train in the boxing gym in order to improve their game. Sounds like a good plan to me.
I wrote out my own plan for when the fall session begins in September. It's similar to a poster hanging in Loyola Park that has a workout plan on it. Right now, sparring will be twice a week, but it won't begin until the third or fourth week, depending on the experience, skill, and readiness of the participants.