Thursday, January 07, 2010

Reading The Riot Act

Alan called me around quarter to six to say that he was going to be running late.  When I got to the gym, several people I hadn't seen before were waiting outside of the door.  A few of them knew JJ and Rick, who had also come in, so I wasn't too concerned.  They were there to work out as well as to give pointers to JJ.  The others were people who were first-timers to the gym.  Jayna and Rosie, the two women who showed up, basically wanted to observe and ask Alan questions before they committed to signing up.  Of everyone present, only two people, Anthony and Edgar, were signed up on the roster list.

Mary, the field house supervisor, wasn't having it.  "Who are all of these people?" she asked.  She got everyone's attention and made an announcement.  "If you're not signed up, you can't be in here.  If somebody gets hurt, I lose my job, and that is not happening.  You must come to the front desk and pay the fee!"  Rick went and got registration forms for everybody in an attempt to smooth the situation.  I didn't notice anyone going back down to the front with a form, however.  I wasn't working out much, because I was keeping an eye on the situation.

Ralphie knocked on the window, and I let him in the back door.  Mary had left the gym by that time, but when she heard the door slam (it makes a loud noise that can be heard down the hallway), she came back to the gym.  "Who came in?  Was it Alan?" she asked me.  "No, it wasn't Alan," I answered, but I didn't point out Ralphie.  Ralphie was standing nearby, looking like he was hoping that Mary wouldn't admonish him.  "People should not come through that door.  They need to come around to the front entrance," Mary said.  She was on her way back down the hallway, when another knock came at the window.  "Mary, that is probably Alan," I said, as I went to open the door.  Sure enough, it was, and Mary walked back to catch him. I got out of their way and went back inside the gym.

Alan came in the room minutes later, looking irritated.  Rick said, "I didn't want it to look like that someone was coming in taking over the gym.  But I understand Mary's point."  "I got read the riot act," Alan said.  "Again?" I said, remembering the drama that took place when Leon broke Deo's eye socket a few months ago.  Alan laughed, "Yeah, again."  Apparently, he and Mary had a difference of opinion.

Park district gyms are particularly vulnerable to people just walking in and expecting to get a workout.  But in the case of boxers and coaches who come from other park district gyms as well as the private gyms, perhaps there should be some kind of reciprocal agreement.  The problems in the gym don't usually come from the people who drop in who know what they are doing in the ring.  Instead, the problems come from the adults who think they know it all because they've watched a few fights on HBO and ESPN. They also come from the teens who just want to jump around in the ring and not take instruction. The kids who want to use the gym as another playground create problems, too.

"This is not a drop-in gym," Mary told everyone.  But maybe the answer is to have a drop-in fee.  I know the gym is not set up for that, but it would probably help to keep a lot of conflicts down.  Those who are serious about training won't necessarily balk about paying a fee to work out for one evening.  Those who are not aren't serious will be deterred from just showing up if they have to come out of their pockets to be there.  Plus, it'll be easier to show persons the door if they don't have a receipt nor a copy of the waiver they've signed.

1 comment:

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

What fun to come across your blog. I'm 44 and just discovered boxing 2 yrs ago. Love being in the ring!

I post on boxing at my blog (, too -- there aren't many of us middle-aged women who love this crazy sport, are there?

Keep on having fun.