Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hard-Headed Kids


It was several days ago when Daniya and I were once again, the only two in the gym.  Terrianna, who is no longer in the class, rolled into the gym.  She attempted to interrupt a conversation between Daniya and I.  When I would not engage her, Terrianna left the gym.

Another time Terrianna came in, no one had shown up for the teen class.  I had to get something out of the storage room.  Terrianna followed me, and I knew she had the idea of going in the storage room.  It's not like she hadn't seen the room or its contents before.  She stood there, waiting for me to invite her in.  But I had no time for her to go inside and starting playing around with the equipment.  I quickly got what I needed, and locked the door before she could get a foot inside.  I went and sat down back in the gym, waiting for whomever might show up.  Terrianna started in with her usual barrage of questions, most of which she has asked before and received the answers.  I showed a major disinterest in having a conversation.  It took a long while for her to get the hint before she finally left.

Later that day, Earl, one of the fitness instructors, asked could he bring his class in to cool down.  Since none of the teens had shown up for boxing, I told him he could.  Terrianna was walking right with Earl's class, and giving me looks as she circled the gym.  Let me explain that Earl's fitness class is for adults only.  Terrianna probably figured walking in with them would give her a legitimate reason to be in the gym.

My late parents would refer to Terrianna as being a hard-headed child.  She knows she's not supposed to be in the gym because she no longer has her mother's permission to be in the program.  Her brother Terrance and her sister Te'Ria are in the same position, and they keep showing up, too.  But there's a big defiance behind Terrianna's behavior that irritates me the most.  When she's in the gym, she's always looking for attention.  The more focused I am on working with the kids who are actually signed up for the program, the more it seems she doubles her efforts to distract me.

"Wow, Hillari, why the attitude?  The kid's not really doing anything that bad," some of you might be saying.  Terrianna spent a couple of sessions in the program and she basically did nothing.  I quickly grew tired of getting her to focus on training.  I spent too much time snapping at her to stop acting up.  Terrianna has an annoying habit of touching things that don't belong to her, like my lunch, and the attendance book, for example.  No matter how many times I point out how rude it is to put her hands on something that she was NOT given permission to touch, she does it anyway.  She clearly has no interest in boxing, yet she wants to keep playing in the gym.  It's not a playground. There is one in the back of the field house, and she needs to go there when she wants to play.  Or better yet, she needs to find another activity to get involved in; the field house has plenty.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Limping Around The Gym


My left knee hurt so bad yesterday that I took off work.  Ever so often, my arthritis flares up.  My knee was swollen and extremely tender.  It wasn't any better today, but I limped into the gym.

Two new kids signed up for the teen class.  One kid's mom explained, "My son is more of a homebody.  My son is not a street kid."  Her son has been experiencing some bullying, and he'll be going to high school in the fall.  She wants her son to be able to stand up to anyone who approaches him in the wrong way.

I was waiting on the second kid, Jeremiah, to tell me he was 17 years old.  "I'm twelve," Jeremiah said.  The kid is over six feet tall.  I asked him his age a couple of times because I couldn't believe it.  What are people feeding these kids today?

I was in the middle of closing up when Coach James told me that two guys in his baseball program -- a couple of cousins -- wanted to spar with each other.  One cousin had been bragging about being able to knock the other one out.  One of the cousins was Anthony, who is signed up for boxing, but, you guessed it, too busy playing ball to train in the gym.  Anthony was dead tired after only one two-minute round.  Neither boy was throwing decent punches, and a few times, both fell out of the ring and out of their shoes.  Lucky for them, the ring is on the floor and not up off of the ground.

Daniya was the only person who showed up to the 8-to-12 year olds' class.  Her sister had gymnastics class to attend.  "I saw Angelique upstairs," Daniya told me.  Angelique had promised to return to the gym on a regular basis, but she hasn't done so yet.  She didn't come in today.  Daniya needs someone to work with, especially where sparring is concerned.  I'm worried about her not being able to get enough sparring time, and also if I'll be able to find someone for her to fight with at our boxing show in July.

I limped home after work.  A guy saw me struggling to get up the street.  "Are you okay?" he asked.  "I'll be fine.  I have arthritis in my knees," I answered.  A couple of night ago, a young man helped me get down the 'L platform by offering his arm to me.   I appreciated the help, but it just further pointed out that I seem to have turned into a little old lady.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First Names Only


Once again, just like when I first writing this blog over a decade ago, I find myself running out of nicknames to describe the people in and out of the gym.  So from here on in, I'm using first names.  But I won't be posting very many pictures of the youths.  Now I'm a coach, I don't really have time to snap photos like I used to do.  There's a lot going on in the gym on most days.

Shaniya and Danyai sparred, but Shaniya was not into it at all.  She let her older sister get in a lot of hits.  She seldom threw back any punches at all, despite of me encouraging her to do so.  After a couple of rounds, I pulled Shaniya out and put Star in.  Star took a hit to her nose and started crying.  "I'm alright," she sniffed in the corner before going off to the washroom.  Later, she told me her nose was bleeding.  "Why didn't you tell me?  I've got a little first aid kit in the storage room!" I said.

Late in the class, Kody, Kyle, DeShaun, Keywon, and Jacquez showed up.  Of those five boys, Kody is the most serious about the sport.  Unfortunately, Kody only displays that seriousness when the other boys don't show up.  It wasn't long before gloves and hand wraps were being thrown around, the ropes around the ring were being leaned on, and the boys were wrestling instead of boxing.  "Why don't you all watch some boxing matches instead of watching WWE and UFC?  None of the moves in professional wrestling nor mixed martial arts can be done in boxing," I pointed out.  Kyle said, "I watched a boxing match, but I got bored."

Bored?  Really?  I began to wonder why Kyle, and some of the other kids had signed up for a sport that they don't seem to have much interest in.  Now I understand why some coaches grumble about wasting their time training some people.  "We've got a boxing show here in July.  The way people train is going to show up during a real fight.  The kids at the other boxing gyms don't play while training, but I keep seeing that going on in here," I warned for the umpteenth time.  The boys continued to goof off.  Fortunately, they left early.

Arthur and Tyren came in for the teen class and went through the workout.  I wish I had more like them in the kids' class.  They come in, do their workout, and work well together when they spar.  I never have to raise my voice when they are there.  There are seven kids in the teen class; Kyle and DeShaun are supposed to be in that class, but they show up during the last half-hour or so of the kids' class. But then, I can't see Kyle or DeShaun being well-matched up with Arthur and Tyren, especially when it comes to sparring.  Anthony would be a better fit, but he came in too early, then didn't stick around for the teen class to start.

When the summer session starts in June, I won't keep making accommodations for kids who are involved in other sports and activities.  Boxing is an all in sport, and those who sign up for it are going to have to deal with that.  The time changes of the youth classes, due to the adult class starting, will hopefully force youths to be on time, be prepared, or be left out.