Thursday, August 06, 2015
Biting My Tongue To An Extent
The above photo is of one of two bulletin boards up in La Follette Park's boxing gym. This particular board hadn't been up for too long when I took the picture. These days, the board looks like it has been through a war. Today I walked in to find another of the postings on this board torn down and on the floor.
So I take my concern to the appropriate parties, namely the camp director, and a few of the summer camp counselors who happened to be standing nearby. Let's just say the answer I received as to why the kids can't be told to stop putting their hands on the bulletin board was not satisfactory. One of the counselors had the nerve to say, "I feel you, but tomorrow is the last day of the regular camp, and we'll get a break." "I needed a break all summer long, because this keeps happening," I said, my temper rising in my chest. I abruptly walked away before I really said something that would upset everyone.
If the posting had been completely destroyed, I could have easily replaced it. What really pissed me off about the incident was the lack of respect shown towards my work space. Later, when the summer camp kids came down for their afternoon snack, I parked myself in a chair in front of the board in order to keep them off of it. When I saw kids with food sitting on the apron of the gym, I barked at them to get up. Another kid put her finger on my thigh as she passed by in the food line, and let it linger there for too long. She grinned at me. "Why are you touching me?" I snapped. She moved away.
There was a boxing show at Seward. I closed up the gym and came upstairs to the front desk about 45 minutes before leaving La Follette to go there. "Why are you looking so mean?" another staff member asked me. "I'm not in the mood to deal with these kids today," I said. "Well, that's your job, boo," they answered. "I'm glad I don't have to deal with kids at home," I retorted. I was in a foul mood, and efforts to keep biting my tongue were threatening to fail, big time.
Andre and Kishaun made it to Seward. Surprisingly, not enough parks showed up with their fighters. That was too bad for Kishaun, who didn't get a fight. Andre got a fight with a kid whom I was told didn't have much experience. However, the kid was a little bigger than Andre in terms of strength. The kid looked like they lifted weights. "Uh, oh," I thought when I saw him.
Alan, who was there with four guys from the adult boxing program at Loyola, helped me in the corner with Andre. Andre has strong punches, but he didn't use them. I kept telling Andre not to allow the other kid to back him into the ropes and corners, but to no avail. Andre kept bending over and covering up, as well as not keeping his eyes on the other guy. Rocky was giving him advice, too, but Andre wasn't listening. Andre received three eight counts. Of course, Andre did not win the fight.
Then I helped Ralph, one of the fighters from Loyola Park, in his corner. He had an exhibition match against John (who is a teacher, by the way, just like the other John at Loyola). John caught Ralph in the nose. I was wiping blood off of Ralph in between the second and third round. They both did well, however.
During that fight, Nassir, who had tagged along with Andre, was standing ringside, calling out instructions as if he was the coach. One more thing to piss me off today, I thought. Then Nassir was peppering me with questions about upcoming boxing shows while the match was going on. I tried to keep my focus on Ralph and John.
After taking the headgear off of Andre after his fight, I told him, "We're going to have to work on technique again in the gym." Back to the drawing board -- again.