Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Train Up Or Step Out
In a photo from 2011, Alan watches some sparring action at Loyola Park.
When I saw Princess not long after I got to LaFollette Park, I automatically knew it would not be an easy day. She didn't come in until about a half-hour or so after the gym opened (and she wasn't the only one who strolled in late). Princess absolutely did NO training. Her presence influenced several others -- mostly the girls -- to slack off as well.
I have a new policy. Either people train or they get out of the gym for the day. Real simple. I'm tired of the class dissolving into chaos because of a few who really don't want to be in the gym, as well as those who don't get that the boxing gym is not the after-school program, or cheer leading practice, or open b-ball gym, or any of the other activities most of the kids are involved in. A few know recognize the "I'm not joking" tone in my voice, and they leave immediately. The rest I have to keep raising my voice and being sarcastic/surly until they walk out.
"Don't train then turn around next year and ask me to get fights in the park district tournaments", I warned the kids for the umpteenth time. One girl, who still can't manage to wrap her hands correctly, said, "Does that mean me, too?" "Everybody," I told her. I've seen kids in several of the Chicago Park District boxing gyms. They don't play in their respective gyms. They train. I'm not about to put the LaFollette kids up against kids from Garfield, Simons, Loyola, Portage Park, etc., if I know the LaFollette kids haven't been doing the work to win matches.
How many times did I have to tell a couple of the kids, "Stop bouncing basketballs in here! This is NOT the basketball gym!" Too many times.
During the last twenty minutes or so of the 12 and under class, a few of the boys pulled out their homework and started doing it. I thought this was unusual, but at the same time, I was impressed. I let them do their work. It kept them focused and quiet unlike some of the others who regularly attempt to make a playground out of the gym.
Teens keep showing up in the 12 and under class. When I tell them they have to come back later when its time for the class for 13 to 17 year olds, they give me blank looks. Then none of them return for the class. I don't know what the deal is with that.
One of the boys who is in the 12 and under class showed up right as that class ended. I pointed out the kid's tardiness. "I know," was the reply. If he knows, then why can't the kid show up on time? The kid started playing around with the gloves, and throwing the hand wraps around. I ordered the kid to put them down. "The class is over for today," I announced. "Can't I just punch for a little while," the kid said, putting the punch mitts on. "No, and put those down. The class starts and ends at a certain time," I said, trying to keep my voice even. The kid mumbled some excuse about not being able to get there on time. "I can't help you with that. You have to figure out what you need to do," I answered, ending the conversation.