Thursday, February 25, 2016

Between Loyola and LaFollette

Alan watches as Rojan and David spar.

I didn't spar the last time I was at Loyola Park.  Both my knees and my right shoulder said, "Hillari, please don't."  I told Alan that my right shoulder had been hurting from holding the punch mitts for some of the stronger participants in the boxing class at LaFollette Park.  "Use the punch shield instead.  I can't hold mitts for people because of my wrists," he suggested.

David also sparred with Kathy.  I had my back to the ring, shadow boxing, so I didn't see an apparently good punch she gave out.  I heard Alan exclaiming that was the best punch he had ever seen her throw.  Later, when she was on the heavy bag, Alan told someone else, "Kathy's a beast!"  She smiled.  Both Kathy and Connor have signed up to compete in the Chicago Golden Gloves.

Back at LaFollette Park, I took Alan's suggestion and used the punch shield instead of using the punch mitts.  It helped ease some of the pressure on my right shoulder.  Only TJ showed up one day, and he looked a little down because neither his cousin Earl nor any of the other kids showed up to the gym.  But I worked with him a lot using the punch shield, and he brightened up.

Xavier has been showing up regularly to the teen class every day, and he's been very consistent in training.  Xavier can fight either orthodox or southpaw.  Other fighters are going to have a hard time trying to figure out his style.  His friends Tyler and Terance haven't been as steady with their attendance.  I hope that changes soon.

Bennie has disappeared from the adult class.  He told me he was moving back into the area (currently, he lives on the south side) so maybe that's what is going on.  I'm concerned because of all the adults in the boxing gym, Bennie is the most consistent in coming to class.  Yami and Jesse returned after a brief absence.  Yami got another job which cuts down her participation in the gym to once a week.  But I understand.  She's going to school and working, and both of those things are more important than hanging out in the gym all the time.

Kids who aren't in the class have been showing up to the gym a lot lately.  I caught two kids before they started playing around with the equipment, and told them they need to sign up for the spring session.  The same two kids came back minutes later, looking for paper registration forms, which the park district doesn't use anymore.  The third time, they returned with a few more kids and had the nerve to ask me if they could go in the ring.  Do kids comprehend the word "no" anymore?  Is it not taught in schools?  Are parents giving in to every whim their kids have?  Somebody tell me something. . . . .

As for the the other kids, like nine year old Elizabeth and pre-teen Desire, for example, they're welcomed.  They usually come in to say hi and hang out for a minute before going home for the day.

Eric and Aaron may return to the kids' class for spring.  Their dad is interested in re-starting them in the sport again.  Football took them away for most of the previous session.  If they're not playing basketball this season, they may be in boxing class more often.  Justin, whose son Jaylin is already in the boxing class, told me he has an eight year old nephew he wants to sign up.  The spring session could possibly be filled up again this time.

As usual, I tripped out the kids with some information that only an old woman (me) can give.  David was talking about who might win the next presidential election, and Jaylin chimed in with his opinions.  Somehow, the subject turned to presidents being hurt while in office.  I told them about John F. Kennedy.  Both boys looked very surprised to hear about what happened to him.  They hadn't learned about the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life either.  I wondered why they hadn't covered that in their American history classes yet (David is in 5th grade; Jaylin is in 6th grade).  Jaylin shook his head at the news, and David said, "Wow, that's messed up!"

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