Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Clearing Out The Gym


One of the teens who hangs around the field house was geared up to join the boxing class.  But disappointment settled in when he learned the time the class meets. Some of the youths can't make it to the classes because it conflicts with something else they're doing, or else, their parents/guardians don't want them away from the house after a certain time.  It happens too often.  The times of the classes will change, but not until summer when an adult boxing class will be added.

I took a suggestion I got from this past weekend's coaches' clinic about asking the kids what they want to get out of boxing.  Marine told me he wants to exercise and perhaps win some fights.  However, when I mentioned the upcoming City Wide Boxing Tournament to Talky, she mentioned again that she doesn't want to fight.  "Then why are you in the class, Talky?" I asked her.  "I don't know," she answered.  See, that's what I don't want to hear.  Against my better judgement, I gave her a registration form for her, her brother T1, and her sister Tough to sign up for the Spring class.  But T1 has long abandoned the class, preferring to play basketball instead.  Tough doesn't spend much time in the class, either.  She's usually too busy running around the field house.  Talky's got a bad habit of bringing other kids into the class and telling them they can put on the gloves and jump around in the ring.

When Talky's friend realized she wasn't going to get to do much unless she signed up, she left.  "Can I call my mama and stay in here if she says so?" Talky's friend asked.  "I need a signed registration form," I replied.  I have to keep repeating that parental permission is needed.  I fail to understand why most of the kids don't get that.

One kid had the nerve to tell me, "I can fill out the form myself."  Then the kid turned around and said they really didn't want to be in boxing.  "Why ask me for a form to sign up for something you don't want to do?" I asked.  Another kid thought because they were signed up for Fall, they were good for the entire year. Those kids got a surprise after they, along with several of their buddies, thought they were going to just going to hang around and play around.  I put everybody out of the gym.

That left me with Marine, and we had a good workout session using the punch mitts.  Marine seems to be my best fighter at the moment.  I just hope Marine gets a fight at the tournament.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday's Test


I was going to go to church when I remembered I needed to attend a boxing coaches' clinic at Oakley Boxing Gym (formerly known as JABB Gym). Traveling via three buses, I arrived just in time for the clinic to start.  Joe and Bob were running the clinic.

There seems to have been a lot of rule changes over the past few years.  USA Boxing and AIBA appear to have tightened up on a lot of things. It's a lot of information to keep up with.  For example, boxers 40 years of age and over are considered to be in the Masters' Division, although those 35 to 39 years of age can still declare themselves to be Masters' boxers.  But if they elect to be in the Elite Division, they can't go back and forth between the two divisions.  The Elite boxers don't use headgear.

I only saw three other women on the premises.  However, only one of them I knew was actually a coach, and that was Jessica.  She works at a private boxing gym.

Barry was there, and he gave me a ride to a train station afterwards, which was very nice of him.  We got a chance to chat.  Percy, who usually runs the glove table at the Golden Gloves was there.  Percy recently had an operation, but he looked fine.  I also noticed Pat sitting in the back of the room.  I figured maybe some other coaches should have been there, but maybe their certification wasn't due yet.  Buying a license is one thing; anyone can do that on line.  But certification is something else altogether.  It has to be done every two years. Without it, coaches won't be able to work their fighters' corners.

Everyone in attendance was given the Level 1 boxing test.  I missed a few questions, but otherwise, I passed it.  A lot of the questions are just common sense, but there are a few tricky questions thrown in.  An updated copy of the rules may be found online.  I'll re-read my old copy from a couple of years ago, then eventually download the new set so I can compare the changes.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Let There Be Music In The Gym


This is what the gym looks like now that the walls and posts have been painted and the floor has been waxed.  The place looks brighter.

But alas, the same old challenges remain.  Only Marine and Angel showed up yesterday (Talky and Tough opted to rehearse for the Black History Month assembly that took place later that day).  Marine and Angel know they should be coming to the teen class, not the kids' class; they said it themselves.  The only way I can think of to convince them to show up later is to point out that they won't get any sparring practice if they remain in the kids' class.

I've talked to all of the kids about the upcoming Chicago City-Wide Boxing tournament.  They have yet to give me an answer about what day they want to go weigh in.  Time is short.  A bus has to be arranged to take us over to Curie High School for the weigh-ins, and I can't afford to deal with the usual hemming and hawing out of most of the kids.


I found it odd that Tough, who's so quick to defend herself verbally, couldn't speak in front of the audience at the Black History Month assembly.  She tried twice -- she was supposed to talk about Muhammad Ali -- and ended up crying during the second attempt.  Talky didn't get through her speech about Laila Ali because she kept stumbling over the words.  I was the only one who completed my short speech about Ernie Terrell, and I winged it based on what I remembered reading about him.  I also got a chance to talk to the few parents who showed up about the boxing program.

While pricing speakers yesterday, I noticed there are a lot of wireless ones.  It seems hard to find the regular stereo speakers that are hooked up by wires.  I threw the old speakers out, and also a radio I found which did not work.  There needs to be music in the gym.  I'm considering buying an inexpensive radio.  If it gets stolen, I'll be ticked, but not as much if the radio is not a name brand with advanced features on it.  I'd rather have the speakers, however, because there is a stereo component already set up in the gym that works.  A trip to some pawn and thrift shops may be in order to find the type of speakers I want.

I also need a cornerman's jacket.  I have a lovely one that Amy brought me while I was still at Loyola Park.  But it has the name of that gym on the back of it.  I could do like some coaches and put tape over the name, but that wouldn't look right.  It might be better to have a jacket with "Coach Hillari" on the back of it, or just "Boxing" on the back of it, so I can wear it to more places.  I'm anticipating helping out in the corners of the boxers from other clubs or who are not affiliated with a club (especially at the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament).