Thursday, June 30, 2016

An Evening At The Boxing Show

Thomas and several of the coaches decide on who gets what match in the equipment room at LaFollette Park in the photo above.

I had four guys ready and able to fight at my show today:  Xavier, Jakie, Terrence, and Tayjon.  Many kids showed up with the other coaches, so I just knew all of my guys would get fights.  But after everything was figured out, only Jakie was able to get a match.  The rest will have to wait until next week when we go to Garfield Park.

The coach from Carver Park arrived with several of his fighters. Until today, I don't think I had ever seen anyone fighting at any of the shows I've been to who have come from that park.  The fighters from Carver Park were hungry and ready.  They came all the way from 132nd Street to take care of business.  They won most of the matches -- and there were eight matches -- that they were in.

I was a judge for a couple of the matches; an extra person was needed to do that job, so I gladly filled in.  Now I can add another skill to my boxing resume.

Alan came to the fights, but none of the fighters from Loyola Park attended.  I had agreed to let an exhibition match between John and Rojan take place, but neither of them were able to go.  Alan did help me in the corner during Jakie's fight.

Unfortunately, Jakie's time in the ring ended quickly.  The other guy was taller, leaner, and had a longer reach.  Jakie took too many hits to the head, as the other guy kept breaking through his guard to land them.  Also, Jakie was unbalanced on his feet.  Several times, punches caused Jakie to slip and fall into the ropes.  Pete, the referee, stopped the fight on Jakie.  Jakie was irritated at having to take a runner up trophy.  "I don't accept second place," he grumbled.  I quickly let him know that I wasn't mad because he lost.  "We'll work on what needs to be worked on when you next come into the gym," I said.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Forcing The Workout

Alan told me, "You need to go to the doctor about your shoulder."  I need to talk to a doctor about my wobbly knees, too.  I'll try to schedule an appointment for next month.  I've become irritated because I can't spar as much as I want.  I had to beg off sparring again down at Loyola Park.

Yet I forced myself to work a little harder during my workout.  I threw hooks and uppercuts harder to the heavy bags, I pushed myself to do footwork and head movement, and I really concentrated on the speed bag.

Kathy sparred with Alan.  As he was suiting up I joked, "You never spar with me anymore."  "I made a promise to your nieces that I wouldn't.  That was about, what. . .two years ago?" Alan said.  Kathy had an inquisitive look on her face, so I had to explain how Jalissa and Erica admonished Alan for bloodying up my nose with an uppercut.

While they sparred, I gave Kathy pointers.  She got Alan a few times -- he had his hands down, and she popped him with her right.  I told her to go for the body just as much as she was going for the head.

Alan also did the in-fighting drill with Ro again.  Sat and Deborah watched from ringside.  "Wow!" the both of them said when that sparring session was over.  "You could do this!" Alan told Deborah, who is close to my age.  "I don't think so," she answered.  "Never say never," Alan grinned.

Some of the Loyola folks may come to my boxing show later this week.  Unfortunately, I have no adults to participate in the show.  Maria, Danny, and Chevon, the only three who have been coming to class, have all missed days of training last week.  Alan would like to have John and Ro do an boxing exhibition match.  We'd just have to let Tommy, the head of the city's boxing program, know.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Donovan Saves The Day

James kept pushing one of the heavy bags yesterday while working out on it.  "Hit the bag, James," I kept telling him.  It kept swinging wildly.  "James, don't you know the difference between pushing something and hitting it?" I said as I marched across the gym towards him.  I was about to lose my patience. Fortunately, Donovan got next to him before I did, and proceeded to explain it to him.

Donovan spent several minutes with James, trying to help him stand correctly and to throw his punches properly.  He did a very good job.  I suspect that maybe Donovan is an only child because how articulate he is and how mature he is for his age.  He even lightly admonished Tayjon for standing around instead of training.

I'm still dealing with parents who apparently are just now realizing it's summer, and want their kids to be in an activity.  The time to sign kids up is not two to three days after an activity, especially a free one, has already begun.  I don't understand that -- the information about classes and activities is online, and can also easily be obtained by visiting or calling the field house well in advance of start dates.  My late mother was a very difficult person to be around, but I have to give her credit for always being on top of dates and schedules where her kids were concerned.  I'm not seeing that same kind of proactive behavior in most of the parents I encounter.

Ariel and another new teen, Jaylen, were in the gym yesterday for the teen class.  Jaylen wears braces.  I was so glad that I had a few mouthpieces on hand that are made specifically to fit over braces.  No sign of the other mouthpieces that I ordered going on three months ago.  I don't think I'm going to order those anymore.  It takes too long to get them, for one thing.  I suspect that's not the fault of the company that supplies them, but rather the administrative/bureaucratic functions of the park district.  Most of the kids keep losing them, and I'm going to start forcing them to buy their own.  They may not lose, misplace, or "forget" their mouthpieces as often if they are not getting the free ones anymore.

Xavier, Terence, and Ben were no-shows again.  I'm beginning to suspect that Xavier might not believe he needs a lot of training time.  I also suspect, based on his request awhile ago to have a buddy of his help train him, that Xavier thinks I'm not completely qualified to do the job.  I'm still wondering why Xavier didn't figure out that may have been rude to suggest something like that to me.  Whenever he comes in, I'm going to point out that Xavier need not have a "this is light work" attitude when it comes to opponents, especially when Xavier has no idea whom he might face during a fight.  Terence was involved in other activities during the spring, which was why he was only in the gym once or twice a week.  But school is out for the summer, so I don't know why Terence hasn't increased his time in the gym.  Ben was slacking off a lot during the winter and spring sessions.  I don't expect him to want to take a fight.  Ben has to realize there will never be perfect conditions in place in order for him to participate in a match.

I was going to lock up the gym early when none of the adults were there at the beginning of their class.  A half-hour into it, Maria showed up.  She told me that she had missed the first day of class due to her job.  Her job might have been the reason she showed up late, but she was able to get an hour of working out in.  I have told all of the adults that they are free to craft their own workout.  But in the interest of not having lulls during the workout, I do guide them to what they should be doing next.

Only five more days until the boxing show.  I have to return a phone call to Rodney, who is the coach at Trumbull Park.  He probably wants to know what fighters I have.  I don't think any of the kids will be ready or will want to at least try to take a match.  Xavier, Terence, and Ben are irritating me right now with their disappearances.  None of the adults want to compete.  I want the boxing show to be a good one, but I'm looking at a hard way to go between now and next Thursday to make it so.