Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Boxing For A Job

I had to hustle up to Garfield Park for an interview that was scheduled for today.  Luckily, I didn't have anything else planned, so I took a ride out to the wild, wild, west side of Chicago.  Once again, the weather was bone cold, and public transportation wasn't moving as fast as it should.  But amazingly, I made it on time.

As I walked up to the Garfield Park field house, I flash backed to one of my earliest memories of being in that building.  I was going to be in Kindergarten that particular year, and all kids have to have immunizations.  Immunizations were being offered for grade school kids at that field house, so my mother took me up there. We lived in the area back then. I don't know if she had to pay for them, and I don't know if I had a fit when I received the shots, but I do remember walking through the building.  When I got there today, a few workmen were standing in the lobby discussing some construction that had to be done on the inside.  I looked around and thought the building hasn't changed very much over the years.

Waiting for a few minutes to be seen gave me a chance to warm my hands up.  I seldom wear gloves, no matter how cold it gets.  But I didn't want to offer the interviews a frozen hand if we had to exchange handshakes.

Tommy, the current head of the park district's boxing program, was one of the interviewers.  I didn't want to give the impression that I expected any special consideration because he knows who I am.  Two women, Ms. Garcia and Ms. Walton, were also in the room.  The interview for the boxing coach position open at Seward Park was very brief.  They had a specific set of questions that they needed to ask.

For a minute, I thought the interview was going to end quickly.  You see, I have more than the educational requirements needed.  The minimum is an AA degree; I have a bachelor's degree.  But I don't have any significant coursework in physical education or similar fields such as health.  The one swimming class I took when I was a college freshman wasn't going to count.  Fortunately, Ms. Walton said, "Let's see what other experience she has."  So I talked -- a think a little too long -- about having taken boxing classes for the past thirteen years, twelve of those within the Chicago Park District, my becoming a volunteer assistant coach at Loyola Park, and having had six fights.  I also mentioned that I had worked the corners as a second at numerous fights.

I cringed a little inside when I was asked if I had ever organized a boxing tournament. That's something I would like to do at some point.   Unfortunately, I've been on the periphery, but never one of the people who were on the inside.  Near the end of the interview, I put heavy emphasis on my passion for the sport, and  encouraging people, especially youths and women, who want to put on the gloves.  "I would emphasize that boxing is fun, and also point out the health benefits", I told the interviewing panel.

I'm not sure how I did.  There was an interview ahead of me and one behind me, and I'm assuming we were the only three who had been called in.  As I walked back to the Conservatory 'L station, I kicked myself for not mentioning that I do have an amateur coach's license.  It was on the resume, but I still should have said something.  I'd like to get that job, but with the economy and competition for jobs being the way they are, I have to be cautious about getting my hopes up too high.

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