Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Death In The Family


I had to go to Garfield Park today to attend an instructor's training.  I was a little pissed because I wasn't told about it until yesterday.  The day was planning to be a long, slow one.  The training wasn't as bad and unproductive like the others I had attended recently.  During a brief break, I decided to go up to Garfield's boxing gym to say hello to George.

George was busy watching two of his fighters sparring, so I waved to him across the ring.  "I just stopped in to say hi," I told George.  I looked up at the ceiling there was a robe hanging from it that had belonged to Ed Brown, a young man who had trained at Garfield.  Everyone didn't know Ed personally, but most knew about him.  He was on his way up, an undefeated contender who was scheduled to have a fight on the Showtime network in a few weeks.  Unfortunately, we'll never know what heights the young man could have reached in his boxing career. Someone rolled up next to the car that Ed and his sister were sitting in and opened fire.  His sister survived.  Her brother didn't.

A co-worker at LaFollette made a comment last night:  "Well, the guy was gang-banging."  We don't know that for sure.  Yes, it's common knowledge that Ed Brown had been shot before, and survived those attempts on his life.  His mom died in a tragic incident in a downtown nightclub over ten years ago.  His dad has a jail record.  Ed Brown had his own ups and downs.  But the fact that he had dedicated himself to a sport and was coming up, told me that he was trying to change his circumstances.

I can't shake the feeling that the young man's murder may have been motivated by jealousy.  I grew up in the same area he did, and I've seen people take beat downs from others who were angry that someone appeared to have a little more extra than they.  Many of the fights I was in while in grade school were instigated by kids who wanted to bring down the girl who had a higher reading score than most of the other students.  I'm too familiar with that attitude.  I was just thinking the other day that most people miss out on blessings because they are too busy complaining about the blessings that others have received.  However, most limit their "playa hating" to snide remarks and pulling mean pranks.  Then you have those who believe that others whom they believe won a golden ticket to something better should never be able to cash it in for the prize.

I just shake my head at it all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

And You Are. . . . .?


Matthew and Ben look ready to charge each other in the photo above.  There was a lot of sparring action at Loyola Park among the guys.  None of the women were in on it, including me.  Later, Matthew went in the ring with his dad, Alan.  I started to tell the both of them, "Fight nice!" as a joke.  I should have spoken up. Matthew fired a right hand at Alan then backed up near the ropes.  He had pulled a muscle in that arm but wanted to keep on fighting.  Alan refused and halted the action.  Matthew could feel where the muscle had popped out.  I sure hope that doesn't mean having to get surgery to fix it.

Matthew had brought a friend in named Alonzo.  People are always bringing friends into the gym to check it out.  When I figure out that an unfamiliar face is associated with someone who normally attends the gym, I think, "Oh, they're cool because they know them."  

I never think that about people who walk into LaFollette Park's boxing gym like that.  My first thought is usually, "Who is that and what do they want?"  Regardless if they know someone who is training in there, I prepare myself to bark at them for disrupting the class.  I know I'm going to have to get on someone for touching the equipment.  I know I'm probably going to ask -- no -- tell someone to leave, and I probably won't be nice about it.

It's probably because Loyola Park and LaFollette Park are in two different worlds from each other in terms of the vibes of the neighborhoods and mindsets of those who live around those field houses.  It's also the difference between dealing with kids at LaFollette and being around adults at Loyola.  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fighting At Home


The gym was open the day after Thanksgiving, but it might as well had not been.  Ariel did not show up to the gym the day before the holiday, but her grandmother checked to make sure the gym would be open on Friday.  However, Ariel didn't show up, and neither did the other kids.  Friday was basically a wasted day.  The only thing good about it was the field house closed early.

I did get new fliers for the winter boxing class, and I was impressed.  Instead of printing them on half-sheets, a full 8 1/2 by 11 page was done.  My continued gripe, however, is that the printing department never puts exactly what I want on the fliers.  Some time ago, Mary, the supervisor at Loyola Park, said that it was a good idea to let parents know that the boxing class is not intended to be a self-defense class.  I've grown tired of parents who push their kids into the class with the expectation the lessons will ward off bullies.  I always ask to put a line in that states the class is not a self-defense class, but it never makes it onto the fliers.  There wasn't a lot of room to put that on the half-sheet flier (although it could have been done in a smaller type font), but there is certainly enough room to put that on the full-sheet flier.

Speaking of bullying, whatever happened to parents teaching their kids how to fight at home?  I know of people whose parents told them that if they didn't stand up to the kid or kids who were picking on them, their parents would spank them for displaying cowardice.  Times have changed - and not always for the better.