This is a photo of George Manierre elementatry school, which is near where Cabrini-Green used to stand. I attended pre-school there.
There was a kid in the boxing class yesterday to whom I gave a permission slip so he could get it signed by his parent. His brother, an adorable four year old, stayed in the class too, so his older brother could keep an eye on him. Two older girls related to the boys came in the class about an hour later. One of them told me that the older boy can join the class but only after school grades come out next week. The boy's grades have been down, and his mother does not want him participating in any after-school activities until the grades become better.
I was anticipating this scenario happening. I'm in complete agreement with any parents and guardians who do that. Boxing gyms will always be open, but education comes first. The world doesn't need any more athletes who retire from their sports careers -- either by their own choice or because they have to due to illness or injury -- with nothing to fall back on. If even youths do not choose sports as a career, education will serve them far longer than throwing a ball, running yards, throwing punches, etc.
Then I received news that another kid got into trouble at school. His older brother didn't stay in the gym long because he had to go see about him. I don't know the details, but I do know that the mom of the kid who's in trouble told her son he can't go anywhere for awhile. Oh, well. . . .kids have to learn there are consequences for their actions. I'm in agreement with that, too.
This is Oscar DePriest School, where I attended from 4th grade thru 6th grade. It did not look like this when I was going there; the school has been remodeled. I'm still debating whether I should pass out flyers for the boxing program there. It's close to LaFollette Park, but not that close. Actually, it is directly across the street from Columbus Park.
I have another kid in the gym, a girl who doesn't want to be in the class because a) her parents forced her into it, and b) she wants to do whatever she wants to do all the time. "Only child syndrome", is how her mother describes her behavior. Oh, she's in the field house when boxing is going on, but half the time, she's not in my class. I don't know what she tells her mother about her whereabouts. Her mother is always surprised to hear from me that the girl is seldom in the gym on a regular basis. However, the girl's behavior hasn't changed. The girl has started sparring; I'm trying to get her to understand why she needs to be in the gym more often and actually train when she's there, instead of playing around.
I perfectly understand kids not being able to be in the gym because of school and discipline problems. But I'm not always cool with the idea of kids having other activities that directly cut into gym time. Too many of the kids have signed up for multiple activities that all happen at the same time. Early on, I did not make demands that the kids be in the gym every day. But now I see that's going to be an issue when the Golden Gloves Tournament and the Chicago Park District boxing shows come around again next year. It's going to come down to the kids having to choose which activity they prefer more. I will not get a fight for a kid who is not at least showing up to the gym a couple of times a week. Nor will I get a fight for a kid who's hardly training when they are there. Unfortunately, I have a few kids who are doing that. I keep telling them they don't want to be in an actual match only to learn what the consequences of not training properly are.