Saturday, January 03, 2015

Girl Talk

Not many kids show up on Saturday, but this time, a few did.  It was mostly the girls.  One of the girls, whom I'll call Tough, came in with her older brother and younger sister.  All of the kids kept running back and forth between a basketball game going on elsewhere in the field house and the boxing gym.  Tough's brother, T1, wanted to get in some sparring, so he sparred with Tough.

T1 hit his sister too hard and knocked her to the canvas.  I kept telling TI that a sparring match is only practice.  "No trophies will be given out for sparring," I said, but T1 kept throwing wild punches.  Tough had enough, and she got out of the ring after having a cry on the canvas.  T1 apologized to her, but she wasn't having it.  Soon, T1 went back to watch the basketball game.

Tough, her sister TR, and a friend, Jay-Jay, remained in the gym with me for a long time.  They wanted to have what they called "girl talk" rather than practice.  Tough and TR told me that their mother had instructed them to hit back whenever someone hit them first.  "Boys play too much, boys are stupid, boys smell!  That's why when I get grown, I ain't gonna have no boyfriend!" Tough said.  I smiled to myself, knowing that her attitude will change in about three to four years.

TR echoed what her older sister said about hitting back.  That's when I told them how my late mother had told me and my younger siblings the same thing when we were kids.  "My mother was the first person to teach me how to throw a punch," I told the girls.  "That's why you became a boxing coach!" Tough smiled.  I never thought about it like that.  Honestly, when I was a kid, I didn't like to fight, period.  Unfortunately, I constantly had to defend myself daily from my classmates and their assorted siblings and cousins.  I developed a love of fighting when I took up boxing.

T1 had said a few weeks ago that their mother told them if one of the kids gets into a fight, then all of them will fight.  Having also grown up on the west side, I see that rule hasn't changed.  I have memories of entire families rushing down the streets to defend one of theirs who was in trouble.  I don't want any of the youths to think learning how to box is a license to be a bully.  But I also want them to know there is no honor in being a doormat.   Sometimes, one had to stand up for themselves and send a message to others that no nonsense will be tolerated -- period.

No comments: