Thursday, January 11, 2018

I Don't Know Folks Like That

I had an "I don't know folks like that" moment today.  When I arrived at the field house, there was a woman waiting to see me about registering for the adult boxing class.  Everything was cool until it was revealed that she had no money to pay the fee.  "I was wondering if I could sign up now and pay later," she told me.  "The registration system doesn't allow that.  Everyone has to pay up front and in full," I informed her.  "The guy at the front desk told me that you could take care of me," she said.
The guy in question was the seasonal sports coach.  He did tell her that I could take care of her but only in terms of giving out information about the class.  The man didn't tell her anything along the lines of "Coach Hillari can give you a hookup", but that's what she heard and expected.  She gave me a line about wanting to learn self-defense, but she admitted she saw the writing on the flier that stated boxing is not a self-defense class.  "Fists are not going to stop bullets or a knife and boxing is not designed to fight off multiple attackers," I let her know.  Another twenty minutes went by with her expecting me to make some way for her to take the class without paying for it first.  I was late starting the kids' class because it took too long for her to figure out that the park district doesn't do installment payments.  
I've seen this movie before in other gyms, and it never ends well.  The coach has a heart for someone who can't afford the fee for whatever reason and lets them into the gym.  Several weeks or even the whole session goes by and no payment is made.  Sometimes the supervisor checks the attendance records and puts the person out of the gym.  Most times, the coach has to keep needling the person about payment until they leave or the coach blows up and runs them out of the place.  Now I might give a break like that to someone who had been in the gym previously because I know they'll make good on paying up.  But I'm not about to take a chance on someone who just walked in off of the street.   

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Surprised On The First Day

Jahnaja showed up to class on the first day of the winter session.  "Surprise, surprise, surprise!" as Gomer Pyle used to say.  So she's back in the teen class for the time being.
Another surprise took place when Ceasar and Richard walked in.  They hadn't been in the gym for about three years.  They've become bigger, especially Richard.  He used to be shorter than both Ceasar and I.  Now we both have to look up to him.  Ceasar had been signed up before class began, but Richard wasn't.  When I sent Richard and his dad upstairs to register, someone at the front desk sent them back to me.  "They said you have to come upstairs and do the registration," Richard said.  "And they know I can't come upstairs when I have a class going on," I answered.  I've been there nearly four years and some staff members still don't understand that.  I told Richard's dad that I would take care of the registration later so he wouldn't have to make a second trip up to the field house.

Melissa is a newcomer to the teen class, and she did very well on the footwork exercises.  She, Ceasar, and Jahnaja all can enter the Golden Gloves.  However, I told them it was an option.  They could wait and enter the City-Wide Tournament in April.

James returned to the youth class, as did Iz and his brother Abrahant.  No adults came in, but I expect Sahia and Chay to return later in the week.  It was a pretty chill day, and it looks as if all three classes may shape up well this session.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Already Kicked Out Of Class

Most everything I needed to get done in the boxing gym at LaFollette Park is done.  This week will be quiet until the winter session begins next week. 
I've already written the withdrawal letter to send to Jahnaja's mother.  I spoke to her mother in mid-December.  "She's busy with stuff because she'll be graduating from high school next year," her mother told me.  I was also told that Jahnaja would call me to confirm whether or not she'll be attending the boxing class.  This is the third time she's signed up for it and not completed it.  She didn't even bother to show up at all the last time she registered.  The new attendance policy states that people can't miss two weeks of class without an explanation.  But based on Jahnaja's track record, I don't have the patience to wait and see what she's going to do.  As far as I'm concerned, she's already kicked out of the teen class.  If she doesn't show up the first day, the letter will be dropped in the mail.  I'm done dealing with no-shows to the class.
My patience has also been low with parents and guardians who won't get it in gear to sign their kids up.  I've told Malik a few times that he needs to send his grandfather in to re-register him for the teen class.  I've left voice messages for his grandfather.  Malik's name has not shown up on the attendance roster yet.  Chasing people to re-sign up for the class is something I seldom did in the past.  This is the year that I stop doing that completely.  I'm also done with frustrating myself about other people's lack of motivation and being proactive.  I'm not interested in excuses as to why people don't do what they need to do at this moment.  
When I last checked the class registrations, numbers of the youth and teen classes were low.  No one has signed up for the adult class at all.  So much for a rush of people signing up as part of New Year's resolutions.  
Looks like I can forget about having anyone in the Chicago Golden Gloves this year.  Mikaela and Noel want to get more park district fights.  Other than the City-Wide Tournament which doesn't take place until early spring, there won't be any other park district fights until late June.  I'm not going to encourage any of the new teens who have signed up for the winter class to compete in the Golden Gloves because they won't have enough time to train for it.  Anyone planning to participate in that should have been training at least three months in advance of the registration dates which are in mid-February.  I've heard people grumbling that the park district bouts are little more than glorified sparring sessions.  But that is not the case at the Golden Gloves where people fight as if their lives depended on it.  
I don't know if I mentioned that two staff members are gone.  Both Leonard and Pam were transferred to other field houses late in December.  I miss them.  Their departures did little to cut down on the constant gossip and backbiting, unfortunately, something both Leonard and I were always irritated about.   At least I can hide down in the gym and have some peace from the whispers as most of the staff seldom come downstairs.