Sunday, February 01, 2015

Fighting For Support

The basketballs went "swoosh" into the hoops as the boys first ran drills, then played a few games.  Nay-Nay was my only boxing student that day, and she had finished her lessons.  In order to kill some time before my shift ended, I had gone up to one of the two basketball gyms inside LaFollette Park field house.  As I watched the boys who were playing as well as the ones who were waiting their turn on the court, I wondered why few of the kids in my class had the same enthusiasm.

There were a few parents watching basketball from the bleachers.  The football and basketball teams have a lot of parental support.  My program currently does not.  From what I've heard from other boxing coaches, the main problem they have with parents is the difficulty in getting them on board to back up their kids' participation in the sport.  Sooner or later, I will have to plan a fundraiser to cover something the Chicago Park District may not be able to cover, such as piece of boxing equipment or a road trip to a competition.  I appreciate the few parents who do come around to the gym and show interest in their kids' training.  However, I'm going to need more than two or three parents who are willing to help out the boxing program.

I often feel like sarcastically telling some of the kids who grumble about being bored in my class, "Oh, I'm so sorry there's no ball to throw, hit, or kick."  Boxing takes a different focus.  There is no team, really, so there's no passing off a ball to someone else in the hopes of getting points.  Repeatedly, I tell the kids that once they step into the ring, they are on their own.  They have to do a lot of preparation before a fight.  But I don't think that message is being heard.

That is why I appreciate a kid like Nay-Nay.  She comes in, suits up, and does what is needed to do to get good in boxing.  We talked about competitions, and she is game for them.  Also, her mom really likes that her daughter is involved in boxing.  If only I had a gym full of kids like that.  My life would be a lot easier and the program would be a dream to run.  I want the boxing program to be successful. But often, I feel like I'm beating my head against a brick.

Several kids and staff members have asked me where Princess has been.  Her mom told me a few weeks ago they were going to move out of the area, and perhaps they have already gone.  Princess will probably end up participating in activities at another field house somewhere.  God help the staff members there who will have to deal with her.

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