Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Excuses For Everything

You may be wondering why a photo of the ultimate late night talk show king, Johnny Carson, is featured here.  I've been watching reruns of his show on Antenna TV lately.  I looked him up online because I could not remember what year he passed on (2005).  I learned that Carson had boxed while he was in the Navy during WWII; he had a 10-0 amateur record.

Here lately, Earl has been offering one excuse after another as to why he can't do what he's supposed to do in the gym.  I hear a boatload of excuses especially on sparring days.  Earl's favorite one is, "I don't have my mouthpiece."  Both Earl and his cousin TJ were on time to the gym because Earl's dad had dropped them off.  When the boys come on their own, they don't show up until thirty to forty minutes of class time have passed.  Earl's dad admonished his son for not keeping up with his mouthpiece, then gave me a dollar to give him another one.  "This is the last time I'm paying for a mouthpiece," he warned Earl.

Suddenly, Earl finds his mouthpiece in his coat.  Surprise, surprise.  That always happens when Earl is criticized for supposedly not having it with him.  The excuses didn't stop there.  During the warm up and shadow boxing rounds, Earl kept whining about being supposedly hurt.  I kept ignoring him, but Earl doesn't take hints well.  Finally I said something to Earl about warming up more.  Seeing that I wasn't in the mood to play sympathizer, Earl stopped talking about his "hurt".

Another annoying thing that Earl does is always insisting he only wants to do two rounds of sparring.  Then he keeps repeating it as if I hadn't gotten the message the first few times.  He is most evenly matched with his cousin TJ, so that's usually with whom I pair him. Plus, the other kids in the class do not show up on a regular basis, or else, I would match Earl with some of them.  But I know that Earl doesn't want to spar with his cousin because TJ is faster and more   aggressive.  "Earl, the park district boxing matches are three rounds.  You will not be able to tell the referee that you only want to do two rounds," I informed him.

The sparring session went well for TJ, but not so much for Earl, who kept dropping his hands.  After two rounds, TJ elected not to continue because Earl was sniffling and crying.  I opted not to show much sympathy because all of the fighters need to learn how to take hits as well as give them.  I also was still a bit irritated by Earl's earlier antics.  If only most of the kids would get it in their heads that they would do better if they took their training more seriously!  I'm not saying there never should be time for fun, games and laughs in the gym.  But there needs to be a realization that once the bell rings to start a round, time for goofing around is off, whether it's a sparring session or a real match.

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