Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fall's People

Some of the new people did not show up to class on the first day of the fall session.  No surprise there.  Some of the ones who were in the class in prior sessions and had re-registered didn't come in, either.  That made me wonder why they re-registered.  Iz and Abraham came in so late that they only had 15 minutes left to do anything.  But there was still a nice crowd in the gym.

Summer, Lauren's cousin, decided that she wanted back into boxing today.  But when her aunt went upstairs to register her, she was sent back to tell me that I had to come upstairs to do the job.  "There were two girls at the front desk but no one else was there," Summer's aunt told me.  Staff should know by now that I will NOT leave class to come upstairs to do anything.  I've stated that enough times.  It had to have been a couple of kids who had NO business being behind the front desk counter, acting as if they work for the park district.  Why non-staff are constantly allowed to stand behind the counter and play on the business phone is a mystery.  After the last class was over, I registered Summer.

With the addition of Summer, the 12 years and under class is now full.  If one more person signs up for the teen class, that will be full, too.  Only Sahia and her daughter Richey are in the adult class, but I'm hoping for more adults to sign up.  I was on my feet the entire time, but I like being busy as opposed to sitting in an empty gym.  It was enjoyable showing all the new people the techniques.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Welcome Faces

Today was the first day of the fall session down at Loyola Park.  As usual, it was packed.  I counted 13 new people in addition to those who re-registered again.  Alan told me he has over 30 people in total.

I was extremely happy to see two faces I hadn't seen in a long time:  John G., who has been teaching in South Korea, and Sebastian, Gabe's younger brother.  John and his wife have an adorable baby girl named Lucy.  John had pictures of her on his cell phone.  He told me he doesn't get a chance to work out much overseas as he did before the baby came along.  Sebastian is still going to school with a while to go.  He was also sporting a head of hair (usually Sebastian kept his head shaved) and a full beard.  He told me that Gabe would be back at the gym soon.

John G. and I were doing a lot of talking, and we were helping the new people out.  Most of the women seemed to enjoy the class.  I was holding the pads for Cris; she wanted to make sure she was keeping her hands up while throwing punches.  John held the heavy bags for several of the other women.

I probably did about 20 minutes of a workout because I was stiff.  It had been a few weeks since I had been to Loyola Park.  Quickly, I figured out how rusty I was.  There was a need for me to get back up to speed since I'm welcoming a lot of new faces down at LaFollette tomorrow.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Different Approaches To Ages

Yesterday, I completed one of the last administrative tasks I had to do before the fall session begins this week.  I put the new class rosters and attendance sheets in the program binder.  I printed extra rosters to turn in at the next boxing show I attend.  All the boxing coaches are required to provide verification to the head of the boxing program that fighters they bring to the shows are actually registered for the program.

After wavering back and forth, I decided not to attend the show that's coming up at Davis Square this week.  I wanted to go because I haven't been there since I had one of my fighters participate in a sparring session there.  But I have a big number of new people starting the class this week in addition to people like Janaja and Lauren who haven't been in the gym for awhile.  I don't want to start the session by shutting down the gym, even though it would only be for one day.  I'm not going to Bessemer Park either, which is the following week, for the same reason.

You see, I have a lesson plan that I follow loosely from the second week on.  A lot of what goes in the gym depends on the participants, what they need to work on, their skill levels, etc.  However, the first week is basically set in stone: new people and those who are picking up the sport again after a period of time are taught the punches and basic head movement and footwork the first week.  Any disruption to that first week throws people off.  But having explained that, those who start skipping days from the beginning -- and unfortunately, a lot of people do -- I have to treat like teachers used to do when I was in grade and high school.  None of my teachers were going to hold up the entire class because of one or two students who missed classes for whatever reason.  People had to play catch up and learn those lessons when there was a little time in the class to do that.

I believe I've become better at working with the kids mainly because that is the age group I've had to deal with the most.  Several people came in to sign up for the boxing class this past Friday (the last-minute rush I predicted) and the teen class currently has nine people, the most that have been there for some time.  To an extent, I have to re-learn how to deal with a large group of teens; for the longest time, Ariel was the only teenager coming to the gym.  Mikala and Noel are good youths I know, but Janaja and Lauren who were there before? Ariel, Janaja was only there once in a blue moon, and Lauren never gave me the impression that she was overly interested in the sport.  The thing with teens is they have more independence than those twelve years and under.  They also don't have that, "I better listen to Mama, Daddy, Grandma, etc., or else I'm going to be in big trouble," either.  They speak up (or talk back as mine and other old school parents would put it) when they don't want to do something.  They're not grown, but one has to acknowledge they're not far from adulthood and be more of a mentor.

The nice thing about working with adults in the gym is that they don't need their hands held as much as the kids and some of the teens do.  Show them what to do and they are cool.  I've never had to raise my voice because an adult was acting out in the gym; those type of situations, unlike with the younger kids, never come up.  Also, they don't need me to stand over them constantly.  They ask a lot of questions and really listen and incorporate what they learn.

I'm going to observe closely how Saturdays are working this fall session because frankly, they haven't been for the past two and a half years.  People traditionally do not show up to the gym on that day, and most are surprised to find the gym is not open on Monday.  It would be better to have the gym open Monday thru Friday not only because Saturday doesn't appear to be a good fit on any one's schedule, but I would also be out of Coach James' way.  His football and baseball games take place on the weekends and his sports equipment is stored in rooms off of the boxing gym (which is closer access to the football and baseball fields). His teams could come through the gym without disturbing my class nor hear me snap on them for messing with the heavy and speed bags. If Saturdays continue to be quiet like they have been, I'm going to push again to have the gym closed on that day and open on Monday instead.  Steve, my supervisor, wants the gym open on Saturday, but I have the evidence -- attendance records -- to hopefully change his mind before the winter session arrives.