Saturday, December 20, 2014

Another Week, Another Fight


A couple of the kids spar as two other kids look on.

Had to break up yet another real fight this week.  Princess was at the center of it again.  I couldn't understand it. . . Princess had just sparred with the girl whom she was picking on.  The other girl got the best of the situation because Princess does next to no training when she's in the gym.  The other girl made fun of Princess for not throwing punches back.  Then Princess exacted revenge by insulting the girl.  The other girl, who is taller than Princess and not afraid to throw punches, got one lick in on Princess before I stepped in to stop it.

Princess gets on my nerves -- and those of the other kids -- most of the time.  But when she chooses to act right, she's not a bad kid.  She told me she no longer wanted to spar with the other girl.  Under the circumstances, it would not be a bad idea to keep those two apart for awhile.  But I ran punch mitts drills with Princess and told her she can't freeze up like that in the ring.

A new 14 year old girl came in, and as her mother described her, she is a bit on the shy side.  However, her punches aren't bad at all.  She was the only person in the teen class -- as all the other teens have disappeared for the moment -- so I got a chance to take my time and work with her.  I would have liked to move around more with her, but my left knee has really been painin' me, like my grandmother used to say.  My lower back has been acting up as well.  I've kept my knee taped up, and Mineral Ice slathered on my back, in-between soaking in hot baths.

The gym will be open earlier on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas.  But hardly any kids showed up around Thanksgiving, and I'm expecting the same next week.  If that's the case, I'll have extra time to think and plan what I'm going to do during the winter session that begins in January.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Finally, The Ring Is Surrounded


In this photo, taken by Martine Granby, I'm alone in the gym, folding up a hand wrap.

Only one kid under 12 showed up at the gym yesterday.  During the week, only one teen showed up during the 13 and up class.  They both wanted to spar, but that's impossible to do when no one else comes in.  I don't want to spar each time I'm in the gym anymore, and I worry about hurting a kid if and when I do.  Having a lot of people in a boxing gym helps bring energy to the place.  When there's hardly anyone there, the energy is very low.

Sometime when I was out at an employee training at Garfield Park earlier this week, new ropes were put up around the gym.   Unfortunately, the old canvas hadn't been changed out, but one thing at a time.  When a couple of the kids were sparring on Friday, one attempted to run out of the ring to avoid incoming punches.  "Can't do that anymore," I told the kid.  Now I find myself repeating, "Don't lean on the ropes!"  I don't want to have to arrange for the ropes to be tightened so soon.

Technology is another rival I have for the attention of the youths.  They look at me crazy when I tell them that I primarily use my cell phone for my job at the insurance company and have it turned off at other times.   Most of the kids have cell phones, and they fiddle with them all the time. "I can't live without my phone," one of the teens told me.  Oh, they could if they really tried.  Technology is nice, but I'm glad I didn't grow up with what we have today.  It seems a lot of youths are addicted to it.

A new kid appeared to be very interested in what I own at home.  The kid attempted to beg me out of several items including old video game systems, in-line skates, and an MP3 player I have that doesn't work so well anymore.  I don't know if it's because the kid doesn't have those items at home, or like so many kids think, "If I ask for it, someone should just give it to me because I want it."  I did tell him I could part with old boxing equipment that I no longer use.  I'll bring those items in next week.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Day With George and a Bear


I spent two days of training at Garfield Park.  Every time I go there, I'm reminded of the time Ma took me there to get my immunization shots before I began Kindergarten forty-eight years ago.  The building, with little upgrades here and there, still looks the same.

Training involved knowing how to interact with the patrons, mainly the youths.  Training is what training is.  Some of it can be useful, and some of it is not.  People are up and interested at various times, and counting down the minutes until it's over at other times.

I talked to George, who runs the boxing gym there, when I had breaks from training.  He's been with the Chicago Park District for 42 years.  His actual title is that of a program specialist.  George no longer has kids 12 and under; he starts with ages 13 and up, and most of the boxers he deals with are professionals.  Most of the equipment was brought and installed in the gym out of his pocket and his time.  There's a lot of history in that gym.

It pays to talk to someone who has been on the job for a long time.  George gave me a lot of valuable information to help me on my way.


This is a shot of Garfield Park's lagoon.  Quite a few geese were out there today.


I had noticed the guy standing next to me in this photo the first day of training.  He sure looks familiar, I thought.  Today, I figured out that he was Chris Zorich, who was a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears.  Chris is a nice guy, and he agreed to take this photo.  He's now a supervisor with the Chicago Park District.