Saturday, January 11, 2014

Coaching While Female

The guy in the picture above is comedian and actor Alan King, who passed away ten years ago.  While reading about his background on Wikipedia, I learned that King once was a professional boxer.  Twenty straight fights were won by King.  Then there was a loss, and King had to nurse a broken nose.  After that, King decided to focus more on his comedy career, which he was doing at the same time.

I might have mentioned that I attended my high school's annual holiday reunion party last month (that's me on the right standing with a couple of former classmates, Verlaine and Mario).  I showed up on a cane, due to my left leg bothering me, and everybody wondered what was going on.  I jokingly told my friend Clintonia (whom I also attended Kindergarten, first and second grade with), "I'm gonna get enough of boxing."  She still ticked at Alan for the uppercut he gave me back last summer that left me bloody.  "I'd never let Alan get away with that!" she said.  I keep telling her and everybody else that such things happen in boxing, but not everybody is convinced.

I've also been telling people that I'm transitioning more and more to coaching.  But like being female and trying to find fights either as an amateur boxer or a professional boxer, it's not easy to find a lot of opportunities as a female boxing coach, either.  I'm lucky in that I do get to coach a little down at the gym as a volunteer.  But women overall being taken seriously at coaching, let alone getting paid for it, is another thing.  Part of my current job search involved applying -- once again -- for a boxing coach position with the Chicago Park District.  Haven't heard anything about it yet.

Not long ago, Alan gave me a newspaper article about a woman who is an assistant boxing coach at an all-male Catholic high school on the south side of Chicago.  The head coach, a man, wondered how long she would she would last.  The woman is a short, petite, blond in a school that is predominately African-American.  On a video I saw, the head coach joked, "I wondered why her parents didn't have her in therapy."  But she has gained the respect of the students in the school's gym, as well as in the classroom -- she teaches algebra.

Respect -- it is something female fighters still search for in the sport, and now the few female coaches at both the amateur and professional levels are looking for it as well.  But in order to gain the respect, we first have to be given the chance to show what we know and what we can do.  That is easier said than done.

No comments: