Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Parents Need To Know Their Place
I walked into the gym, thankful that I did not have to deal with the summer camp kids today. But they had been there earlier in the day. A large poster I had up on the bulletin board had been ripped down. Someone had laid it to the side, but no note had been left explaining how it got there. Nor did any of the staff say anything. After re-stapling it up, I reported the incident to Steve, the supervisor. He promised to talk to the camp counselors about seeing to it that the kids touch nothing while they are in the gym.
To avoid a repeat of having to deal with most of the kids' destructive ways, I sat in a chair right in front of the bulletin board when they came down to get their afternoon snack. I had to put up with a lot of offhand remarks about my hair (I went to the barber shop yesterday), but my presence kept the kids from leaning on and touching that board. I wish I had thought to do that the first time I noticed the kids were vandalizing that board. Unfortunately, I can't protect the board earlier in the day when I'm not there. But I'm damn sure not going to allow the kids to tear it up when I'm actually in the room.
Shanita and Julius came in again. Why? I have no idea. I officially withdrew them from the class today. Shanita's insistence that she has still "got it" indicates she has no understanding about how quickly skills not being used can diminish. Julius said nothing, and I didn't say a word to him. Maybe he picked up on the fact that I'm still a bit ticked about Julius backing out of a fight a few weeks ago with no notice.
Later, there was a sparring match between two of the boys. One boy is usually very good on his feet, but for some reason, he stopped defending against the other boy's punches. When I saw the headgear was askew, and tears running down the boy's face, I called him to come out of the ring. However, the parent of the boy who was "winning" wanted the other boy to keep fighting. "He's good," the parent kept insisting.
But the other parent pulled their kid out after admonishing their kid for being a "sitting target". Despite of this, the parent of the "winner" kept pushing for the sparring to continue. The other parent snapped, "I got this!" and a small argument began. I stayed quiet, waiting to see how it was going to play out. The other parent apologized to me and took their son home. "We'll try again tomorrow," they told me.
However, the parent of the "winner" still didn't get that the sparring was over. They didn't even notice the other parent and their kid had left. I noticed they thought it was amusing that a minor argument had taken place. But it wasn't funny to the other parent, and it wasn't funny to me.
Parents need to know their place in the gym, and to be honest, I need to be more direct with some of them about who really is in charge. I was not cool with the idea that the parent of the "winner" was willing to ignore the fact that the other boy was hurt just so their kid could get some sparring work in. That's not what amateur boxing is about. Yes, kids are going to get hurt from time to time. But amateur boxing is about safety, not letting sparring or actual fights go on until one or both fighters need serious medical attention. Trust me, that incident will not happen again. The door to the gym opens as well as closes.