Saturday, November 01, 2014
I stepped outside to see what was happening on the football field. I'm not a football fan, but no one had shown up for boxing, and I was a little bored. Plus, the gym was stuffy, even with the fans on. I wanted to get some fresh air.
I learned that the field house's resident Junior Bear football team was not playing; some other Park District football teams were tackling each other. After a few minutes, I returned inside via the field house's back door. Two boys were sitting on the steps that lead downstairs to the gym. "Are you the boxing coach?" one of them asked. When I answered in the affirmative, they said they wanted to go inside the gym to box. I had already put all of the equipment away, as in another 15 minutes or so, the class would have been over anyway. But I changed my mind. "Come on in, so you can see what it looks like," I told them.
I pulled out a couple pairs of bag gloves for them to use, and they took turns on the Cobra bag. They asked a lot of questions about which punches were legal and which were not. So many kids these days are used to watching hours of professional wrestling as well as MMA matches. I'm constantly explaining what is allowed in those sports is not allowed in boxing. Even after the explanations, some kids still want to do the illegal moves. The other day, one of the kids who was sparring, lifted his knee up to get another kid off of him. "The referee will give out a penalty for that!" I told the kid. Other kids are always wanting to hit someone after they are already on the canvas.
The two boys told me, "boxing is fun", and they punched until they got tired, which wasn't very long. Like I tell all of the kids, they'll get used to keeping their hands up if they keep training. I told the boys to return on Wednesday if they want to sign up for the gym. Tuesday is Election Day, and the gym is being used as a polling place.
I hung around the front desk after the boys left. About ten minutes before it was time for me to leave, several girls who have been attending the gym on and off passed by the desk. "Is it time to play boxing?" they asked. Instead of repeating for the umpteenth time that people do not play boxing, I looked at my watch and said, "It's too late. I told y'all the time when the class starts on Saturdays, remember?" "Oh," was all they said, and then they ran off to do whatever. So far, Saturday is the hardest day to get kids to come to the gym. It seems to be easier to get them there during the week after the school day ends.
I forgot to mention that the radio in the gym started working again. Then today, it stopped again. I don't know if it's the speakers or the radio itself. Maybe it will work again next week. But then, maybe I don't need one in the gym. No one seems to notice when it's on except for me.