Sunday, August 04, 2019

Summer Continues To Stumble Along


As summer stumbles along, situations in LaFollette Park's boxing gym remain the same.  Jaylen and Damaris appear, for all intents and purposes, to have dropped out of the class.  Damaris' attendance has been spotty since the season began.  Jaylen's attitude wasn't right the last time I saw him, and I had a feeling I wouldn't see him anymore.  Their parents have not contacted me to explain the absences.  The youth class has been empty.

As for the teens - Darnell straight up told me he does not want to compete.  Darnell's parents are more interested in their son getting in shape.  I have been having Darnell do combinations on the punch mitts.  I plan to do that with the participants from here on in because I hadn't been teaching combinations as much as I should have.  Juan wants to fight and he splits his time between LaFollette and a private gym.  Juan is advanced in terms of his skills, so I don't have to constantly watch him.  Sahia gives Juan a lot of drills outside of the ones I have posted on the bulletin board. 

I'm not much in the mood to attend boxing shows this year, but I will have to make some effort for Juan as well as for some of those who sign up for the fall session who may want to compete.  I skipped Seward Park's show.  Jaylen was supposed to attend that but didn't show up regularly to train for it.  Sahia has suggested that Juan should attend as many of the boxing shows as possible.  However, I'm probably going to skip Sheridan Park's show, too.  Sahia has generously offered to go to some of the boxing shows in my place with the youths who want to attend.  I plan to take her up on that. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Difference Between Night and Day In The Gym


Juan and Darnell, two teens in the boxing class, are different as day and night.  Darnell doesn't have an interest in competing.  His relatives are more interested in Darnell becoming fit and knowing how to defend himself.  So far, I'm constantly pointing out that Darnell needs to pay attention in class.  Also, Darnell can't do simple exercises properly, which is mainly the fault of the school system which does not provide good physical education classes these days.

Juan has had four fights, and he splits his training time between a private gym and the Chicago Park District.  His parents are very supportive of their son being in the sport, more than most of the parents that come through LaFollette Park.  From what I've seen of him so far, Juan is a decent fighter and he believes in working hard.  Juan also acts respectively towards adults.

Respect is something that has been lacking where Damaris and Jaylen are concerned.  Neither one of them has been in the gym this week.  Damaris is averaging once a week as far as her attendance is concerned.  She is still showing her disinterest in the sport and lack of motivation.  It was brought to my attention that she cursed at her mother recently.  I have witnessed Damaris smarting off to her mother in the past.  However, I never realized she was going that far with her disrespect.

I never get a notification when Jaylen isn't there at all nor acceptable excuses upon his return. Jaylen continually shows up late, often as much as twenty minutes some days.    Then several more minutes are wasted waiting on Jaylen to put on hand wraps and change his clothes and shoes.  Jaylen moves like molasses and gets an attitude when I expect quickness.  I've grown tired of the "I forgot" excuses used about things Jaylen has done numerous times before.  If I and Sahia don't stand over Jaylen, not much gets done.

I want to take Juan to the boxing shows that are scheduled in August.  Damaris' poor attitude disqualified her from participating in the shows some time ago.  I was going to take Jaylen to Seward Park next week, but that's now a no-go. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Cancel Summer


A couple of days ago, Sahia forced Jaylen to give me a statement about planning to do better in the gym.  I wasn't impressed as Jaylen's words were insincere and the boy's attitude was extremely funky.  "Uncoachable kids turn into adults who don't want to listen when someone is trying to tell them something to help them out.  People don't want to be around others who act like that," I replied.  I made it clear that we were not going to Garfield Park's boxing show, which took place yesterday, because of Jaylen's laziness and attitude problems.  Jaylen didn't come to the gym yesterday, and I suspect because of being ticked that he couldn't go to that show.  That was another signal to me that Jaylen fails to recognize who really is in control at LaFollette.

I'm seriously considering skipping the rest of the boxing shows that will take place this summer.  Jaylen lack of motivation, as well as Damaris' continued disinterest, irritates me constantly.  They are the only two who come to the youth class, and it's not worth me closing down the gym in light of their attitudes and spotty attendance.  I don't mind judging fights, but I'd rather not do that at every boxing show because I don't have people who want to compete.  I'd rather be working the corners.  Plus, public transportation to get anywhere was difficult when I was able-bodied.  Riding the trains and buses is even more of an issue now that I'm hobbling around with a cane.

There is no doubt there will be criticism from my supervisor and the boxing program coordinator if I decide to cancel participation in the summer shows.  The boxing program has been operating poorly for the past few years largely due to the lack of support from the area where the field house sits.  Each session, I'm confronted with more people who sign up for the program but would rather be elsewhere -- that's if they sign up at all or bother to show up once they've signed up.  I'll deal with the heat. 

A guy signed up his son for the teen class yesterday.  However, his younger son was with him, not the older son.  I'm always concerned when people don't have their kids front and center during the registration process.  I want to talk to the kids as well as the parents and guardians so everyone is on the same page regarding the program.  "Your son will be the only one in the class.  The other teen dropped out, and the rest of the teens in this area aren't interested in this sport," I told the dad which is the honest truth.  The dad was interested in his son learning self-defense since he'll be starting high school.  Once again, I wearily had to point out that boxing is not a self-defense class.

Then the dad assumed his younger son was automatically signed up for boxing because his son is currently in summer camp.  "First of all, the class for that age group is full.  Also, each program here has to be signed up for separately," I informed the parent.  I'm always boggled by what people think they should be entitled to instead of recognizing that rules probably prohibit what they want to happen. 

I'm not expecting that guy's son to last long in the class.  What usually happens with the teens is when they notice there aren't others in the gym to interact with they get bored and drop out.  That on top of most of the teens in general not wanting to put the effort into doing the workout also ends their time quickly in the gym.