Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Brief Talk

Earl claimed that he wasn't feeling well (again), and his cousin TJ backed him up.  "There's something wrong with Earl's heart," he said.  That was the first time I heard that one.  "Sounds like another excuse to me," I grumbled for all in the gym to hear.  Not long afterward, Earl's goofing around told a different story of a boy who was perfectly fine.

But Earl's tired antics couldn't put on damper on what turned out to be a good kids' class.  I was able to work with most of the kids on the punch mitts, and go around and give pointers to those who worked out on the equipment.  It was just a good vibe in the room.

Maybe it had something to do with the brief talk I gave in the middle of the class. All the time I was working with some on the punch mitts, I noticed Earl, Justen, TJ, and Jermaine goofing off.  I gathered everyone around the main equipment table.  "I can show you boxing techniques, but everybody has to be self-motivated.  Y'all gotta want to do this sport.  If people don't, there's not a whole lot I can do.  The kids at the other 20 boxing gyms in the park district are training every day.  It's not that we can't have fun and laugh in here, but people have to be focused.  Trust me, the others that you'll have fights with at the boxing shows are going to figure out quickly if y'all haven't trained hard enough.  I don't get mad at people because they lost a match if they gave it their all.  I get annoyed when people lose a match and complain to me about the loss, when I know people didn't do enough in here to make a good showing," I told the kids.

I talked to Suave about the boxing shows.  He told me, "My dad and I spar at home."  That's a good sign.  I've mentioned the shows to the other kids, but I still don't know how they really feel about competing.  I'll be getting around to questioning the others soon.

Cordell was the only one who showed up for the teen class.  Cordell is very quiet.  Cordell is also awkward with his movements.  I told him that he needed to move around during shadowboxing, but the footwork wasn't working.  As I worked with him on the punch mitts, I moved around so he'd have to follow me and stay on his toes.  The results produced were much better.

Bennie returned to the adult class.  "My right uppercut feels fine, but the left uppercut feels funny to me," he told me.  I suggested that Bennie use his right uppercut to go for the head, and the left uppercut for the body.  That worked better for him.

Bennie has a friend who is interested in taking the class.  "Please tell him to come in.  There's plenty of room," I said eagerly.  The other two participants in the adult class still haven't shown up yet.  It would be nice to have at least two adults in the gym to train.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New Session, Same Issues

I was told that I should not tell kids the boxing class is full.  Instead, I should put them on the waiting list, especially if the kids regularly participate in other classes and activities at the field house.  If some kids already in the class stop showing up, then I can let the kids on the waiting list in.  Sounds like a solution on the surface.  But none officially withdraw out of the class once they are in.  Most opt to just show up sporadically, which to me, is a disruption of the class.

It was the first day of the spring session for me yesterday.  The kids' class is full, but only half of those who signed up came in.  Deja and her brother Terry returned.  The attendance list I had didn't show their names, so I told them they weren't signed up.  A check on the computer later showed me that they were.  I wondered why those two didn't speak up to tell me they were registered.  I'll have to rectify that situation later.

Michael showed up, but he is not signed up for spring.  I told his mother I have to put him on the waiting list.  She promised that Michael was going to act better, but I'm not putting any bets on that.  After all, it was about twenty minutes into the class when he walked in, and Michael's attitude clearly did not say he was ready to work out.

The dad of Shynla, a new girl in the class, explained she was over 15 minutes late because she gets out of school the same time the boxing class begins.  It's not worth me getting annoyed about that situation anymore.  The parents know what time the class begins when they sign their kids up.  Their kids will just cheat themselves out of training time, that's all.  I can't wait to see what happens when the kids' and teens' class times are cut down from 75 minutes to 60 minutes when the summer session begins in June.

Earl started his usual habit of talking too much, but I dismissed both him and his cousin TJ.  "The both of you have been in here before, so start your workout.  I have to work with the new kids," I told hem.  TJ had the nerve to ask me, "What do I do next?" while standing in front of the workout list.  "Read the board," I said dryly for the umpteenth time.

Elizabeth and her brother Jamil roamed in and out of the gym a few times until I asked them to recognize that class was taking place.  Apparently, Elizabeth never asked her mother to sign her for boxing.  Oh, well. . . . .

I've taken an instant liking to Suave, who's real name is Joseph.  His mother told me he's wanted to be a boxer since he was five years old.  She had taken boxing at the YMCA, but her dad took her out of it.  "My parents didn't like the fact that I boxed either," I told her.  Suave seems to be a little scrapper to me.  I have to help him channel that energy into boxing technique.

There are currently eight people signed up for the teen class, but only Xavier, and a newcomer, Cordell, came in.  Terence signed up again, but he can only come in on the weekends.

Three are on the books for the adult class, but none of them came in.  That class keeps teetering on the brink of being cut completely, in my opinion.  It's the only one of the classes I coach that never really took off.  There's only a couple of times I can think of where I paid for a class of any type and didn't finish it.  The cost for the adult class is low, but that's still money wasted when people don't continue through or don't show up at all.  That class is already slated to continue during summer, but if it keeps going like it has, I may strongly suggest that it be dropped from the fall schedule.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Contrast Between Two Adult Classes

There had to be at least 30 people in the boxing gym at Loyola Park.  This was the first day of the spring session there.  Alan thought that while the boxing program at Loyola doesn't seem to be advertised heavily, he still gets a full crowd each session.  I think that's because the program is fed into from the student population at nearby Loyola University.  It also attracts the yuppies and other upper middle class types in the neighborhood who are looking for a different way to exercise.  Of course, the numbers will thin out as people drop out for various reasons.  But Alan always begins the sessions with a lot of people.

That is in sharp contrast to the adult boxing class at LaFollette Park. I only have three people signed up.  It's difficult to get adults interested in the class, and when they do sign up, they don't stay long.  There is no major college nearby to pull participants from.  The neighborhood is largely made up of the poor, low-income, and working class.  The culture of the area places high emphasis on football and basketball, but boxing comes in dead last, if at all.

Today's sparring participants were David, Kathy, Professor, Ben, myself, the other Ben (who wears a beard), Rojan, and Andres, who returned to the gym.  Sparring was the heaviest exercise I did, because there were too many people in the gym to get in any time on the equipment.

Very few of the adults in the boxing class at LaFollette have sparred.  I remember Ben Sr. (yes, another guy named Ben) sparring with his sister, but that was about it.  I'm curious to see what types of adults I will have in the class this session.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mr. Wizard Couldn't Save The Day

Jesus, who hadn't been in the gym for awhile, works one of the heavy bags in the photo above.

I begged off sparring at Loyola Park, thinking I would put my energy into the general workout.  My body had other plans.  I was dragging like Tooter Turtle trying to get out of a predicament back in time.  Mr. Wizard could have said "Drizzle, Drazzle, Druzzle, Drome; Time for this one to come home", all day long, and it still wouldn't have helped me.  By the time my body decided to perk up, it was time for the gym to close.

Arvin sparred with David. . . . .

Kathy sparred with David. . . . .

Ro and Alan mixed it up.  

Meanwhile, at my own gym, I noticed the seasonal sports coach putting together a flyer for a track meet.  "Oh, he runs that sport too,"  I thought to myself.  "I can recruit the kids who show up for this for football," he explained to the staff.  I've been looking at the low numbers I have so far for the spring boxing session, and I'm currently at a loss as to how to get more people in.  But boxing continues to be a hard sell, especially among the adults.

The problem with getting the kids interested is mostly on them:  a lack of self-motivation.  I teach the techniques, I suggest exercises and give advice on what to eat.  But if a kid doesn't want to push themselves to take advantage of what the program offers, there's not much else I can do.  I'm up against a generation who believes professional wrestling is real, and who prefers the free-for-all that is mixed martial arts.  

Some of the kids seem not to be able to comprehend a sport where there is no ball to kick, hit, or throw, nor teammates.  No matter how many times I point it out, some kids don't get there is a big difference between a street fight and a boxing match.  

As for the adults,  some sign up without figuring in their other time commitments, mainly work, school, and their kids.  When they disappear after a few classes, I think, "Wow, that's some money thrown down the drain."  Others underestimate how tough the workout is, claiming, "Yeah, I need this," but giving up after a few tries.  Even though I make it clear that the adults do not have to spar nor compete, the thought of it scares some away.  

It's an ongoing battle, and Mr. Wizard can't easily fix that, either.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

From The South Side To The Stadium

It was a long day.  It began with my stepmother's funeral, which was held at the same funeral home on the south side where my dad's wake took place twelve years earlier.  The situation felt very unreal to me -- a busy, lively woman laying in a coffin, looking as if she was only sleeping.  After the service, I went straight home.  I took the day off from the gym.

Later, I went up to Cicero Stadium.  It was Kathy's turn to step into the ring.  Kathy beat everyone to the gym.  She had been there two hours when I arrived.  Alan showed up a little while afterward.  Kathy's bout was the ninth of the night.  Alan told her to get ready, because the prior fights may end early.  The first two fights of the night did.  Another fight ended due to a disqualification.

When I first got to the stadium, I went to the washroom.  There was a woman, dressed to box, sitting out in the hallway.  Later I found out that she was Kathy's opponent.  During the boxing match, Alan kept yelling for Kathy to "punch!", but the other woman threw non-stop punches.  It was hard for Kathy to return any punches back.  Joe, the referee, gave Kathy an eight-count twice.  The third time Joe not only stopped the action, but he stopped the fight.

Kathy was not upset at the outcome.  She was relieved that all the tension that had built up to that point was finally over.  I told her she would probably sleep good that night.  "I bet I will!" she smiled.

I saw two people whom I hadn't seen in awhile.  I ran into Emmanuel downtown as I was changing trains to get to the stadium.  JJ was at the fights; he was telling Alan about an injury to his hand.  Other familiar faces were on-hand, too, including Rita, Tina, Sam, Percy, Shifty, heavyweight boxer Fres Oquendo, and ex-boxer David Diaz.

Kathy said she didn't know if she would fight again.  I hope she takes another chance, perhaps at one of the upcoming park district boxing shows.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Here and Absent

The photo above explains why the gym wasn't open yesterday.  It was Election Day, and despite promises to the contrary, my space was used once again for voting purposes.  Yet, I didn't have too many problems in the gym.  That is, if you don't count one of the election judges playing around on one of the speed bags, or a toddler I caught rolling around in the ring, or the fact that the boxing equipment room door was left open by one of the attendants -- again.

I had time to complete the attendance records for the winter session that recently ended.  I was marking "absent" more times than I was marking "attended" for most of the participants.  There were several days in a row when no one showed up to the gym.  I also noticed that Janae and Tyler never signed up for the class.
Janae's dad told me he registered his daughter again, so I was confused as to why her name didn't appear on the computer system.

As for Tyler, I remember reminding him several times to have his parents/guardians sign him up.  I don't get why the youths who beg to be in the gym simply can't open their mouths and ask whomever is responsible for raising them to sign them up.  Honestly, I'm tired of constantly explaining to most that the park district can't allow liability and legal issues to arise because people were not officially signed up to participate in the boxing program.  Tyler has been showing because his buddies Xavier and Terence are there, but I'll let him know since his buddies are signed up, Tyler has to follow suit.

A grandmother came in to speak to me about putting one of her grandchildren in the program.  Turns out her grandchild was too young to be in the program.  "Are there any other activities here they can sign up for?" she asked.  We were in the computer room that is tucked back behind the front counter.  That means she passed through the front area where there is a table and a huge bulletin board loaded with information about what classes and activities are at that park.  It was impossible not to notice the table and the bulletin board.  I directed her back out front to get that information so I could get back to putting in my attendance numbers.  That's another problem -- people not noticing things and not reading the literature.

Another person came in to sign up her kid, but the current numbers for the spring session still aren't satisfactory to me.  I would prefer to have most signed up before the session starts.  It throws me off when people sign up in the middle of a session.  It's irritating too, because most of the time, they knew the session had already started.  There's too much of this waiting around to register and then assuming there will be room.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sparring and Another Funeral

Like my late mother and father, my stepmother didn't like the fact I boxed, either. She did attend one of my fights, however, and she filmed some footage of Alan giving me a pep talk beforehand.  My stepmother passed away late last week, nearly a year after she had an accident in her home.  I'll be attending her funeral later this week. I wasn't in the mood to spar at Loyola Park, partially because my stepmother was on my mind, and partially because I wasn't sure my knees were going to stand up to it.

The sparring sessions began with Professor and Ro, who really seemed to work well together.  Alan said that he would like to see Ro compete in a boxing show down the line.

Professor also sparred with David.

Kathy also sparred with David.

Then Alan put his gear on and told her, "You've brought the old man out of retirement."  Kathy caught Alan with a few jabs and straight rights.  She got in as much sparring as she could because she'll be fighting in the Chicago Golden Gloves later this week.

Alan then sparred with Arvin.  Arvin has good punches, but he often hesitates to throw them all the way out.  I was standing on the apron, giving Arvin advice as the two men sparred.

I wondered where everyone else was, then I remembered that the winter session ended last week.  Alan asked me when the spring session begins, and I had to remember that his boxing class begins a day before mine resumes at LaFollette.  Alan had word that his class was filling up fast.  If any of the classes I have fill up, it'll be a long time coming.  People waiting until the middle of the session to sign up -- then disappearing quickly -- seems to be the norm.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Losing The Potentials

Here is one view of the boxing equipment room at LaFollette Park.  I put most of the stuff back in their places.

Here is a second view.  No, the kiln hasn't been moved yet, but someone is supposed to come and get it and take it to another field house.  Mitch, one of the swimming instructors, helped me set the little table back up and put the small refrigerator on top of it.  The extra heavy bags still need to be put back in the room.

I made the announcement that this is the last week of the winter session, and it's time to sign up for the spring session.  Earl and TJ waffled on whether or not they would return.  David said he's on a swim team, so he probably won't sign up again.  Michael just said straight out he didn't want to take the class again.

Xavier, Tyler, Terrance, and Ben didn't show up for the teen class.  I signed up a new guy, Jesus, for the spring teen boxing class, but I'm wondering if any of the guys who are currently in that class will come back next session.

It's so frustrating to have people in the gym, especially if they are showing mad potential, decide to walk away from the sport.  Nearly two years have gone by, and I still don't have a core group of fighters that will stick around.  I know the football/basketball/baseball coach deals with the same issue.  But then those programs have great methods of recruiting players and getting the support of parent/guardians.  Even though Coach James loses a lot of the kids before the season ends, he still has enough of a crowd to populate the games.  And a lot of those kids keep returning year after year.

The gymnastics instructor was shaking her head that only four of her girls are ready for an upcoming competition.  However, she has many kids in that class, and that class continues to grow.  Some of the girls who used to be in boxing ran off to be in that class.

I feel as if some people sign up for boxing intending only to kick the tires and window shop.  They determine what the "trial run" will be, which is usually very short.  When that time is up, people are gone, and I'm sitting around in an empty gym, twiddling my thumbs.  I would like to bring my fighters to competitions, but that's hard to do when they're not there to begin with.  Depending on how soon the competitions are coming up, there's not always time to get people ready for fights.  Then I'm back to square one.  Again.

Earl and TJ's Modus Operandi

One of the attendants at LaFollette Park shook his head when he saw the boxing equipment room (in the above photo).  It has now been painted white, but it was apparent to him that the paint job should have never taken this long to get done. I agreed.  There wasn't that much to paint. I was wishing they had asked my opinion regarding what color the room should have been painted.  Judging by the constant dust and debris there, I certainly would not have chose white as the color.  The painters dragged the job out unnecessarily, and now it appears they will take their time removing the paint and other equipment out of that room, too.

Just as sure as Roger Bolander, Virginia Johnson Bolander, Terry Murphy, and Ken Doering are abject failures as human beings (see previous posts), Earl came in with yet another excuse as to why he couldn't spar.  "Uh-huh", I said, opting not to comment any further.  TJ also had one.  "I ate too much junk food and forgot I had to go to boxing today," he said.  Jaylin won't spar with the smaller boys because of fear of hurting them.  I had sparred at Loyola Park the night before, so I didn't want to spar with Jaylin, so no sparring took place.

I replaced the air pump that had been stolen.  I now keep it locked up with the sparring gloves.  After putting air into the speed bags, I noticed that the one my friend Donna gave me has to be replaced.  It keeps leaking out air.  Looks like that's something else I will have to pay for out of my pocket.  The equipment budget for the gym is already too small to get everything for which I asked.

Marty at Simons Park returned my call on the field house phone, but I didn't get the message until after I closed the gym.  Marty must have been already gone, because when I called back, the answering machine at his field house picked up.  I'm really interested in having Marty bring his fighters over to LaFollette for the open sparring session I've planned for next month.  Simons Park is very close to LaFollette, and Marty has always been supportive of me from the get-go.

My right wrist was bothering me.  I had sprained it several years ago due to not using a properly padded set of bag gloves.  The first thing I thought was, "I hope this doesn't mean arthritis."  My late mother had a little bit of arthritis in her hands, and my oldest aunt -- who is now 90 years old -- really has a tough time with it in various joints.  Being an aging coach/fighter is a trip, but I just have to keep it moving.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Catching A Nose Ring

I felt someone tap me on the shoulder while I stood in front of my locker at Loyola Park.  I turned around to see Kenny, and I gave him a big hug.  In the photo above, Kenny gives David some pointers in-between sparring sessions.

I sparred four rounds -- three with Kathy, and two with Carrie Anne.  My knees refused, absolutely refused, to cooperate during the first two rounds I was in the ring with Kathy.  It was as if I was slogging through thick Jello.  When my arthritic knees don't want to work, my feet follow suit.  I tried to get up on the balls of my feet, but I remained flat footed the entire time.  Meanwhile, Kathy was popping me in my head and my stomach.

I sparred with Carrie Anne before doing a last round with Kathy.  I found a second wind from somewhere.  I kept thinking to myself, "Let's go, Action Jackson!"  Action Jackson (1988) was a movie starring Carl Weathers.  I've never seen the movie, but I remember my younger sister telling me about it.  For some reason, the title popped into my mind.  Carrie was throwing some good jabs, but I kept tapping them down and going for her mid-section. I got in a left hook to her head, which amazed me, because I seldom manage to get left hooks in on anybody.

Later, Carrie Anne told me that she had a bit of a nosebleed.  I was shocked.  "Are you okay?" I asked.  "Yeah, it's okay.  One of your punches got my nose ring," she said.

I learned that Connor lost his preliminary match at the Chicago Golden Gloves.  It sounded like the same situation that happened with Ben's fight at the Gloves. Alan said that Connor stuck to his game plan and was winning the rounds.  But the judges apparently saw something else and gave the win to the other guy.  Alan and Connor told me that even the coach of the other guy was shocked that Connor didn't win.  Now there's just Kathy left to compete, and I hope she will steamroll over her opponent.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Training, Tournaments and Painting

Rojan watches a sparring match at Loyola Park in the photo above.

No kids or adults showed up to LaFollette gym, as I have come to expect on the weekend.  But Janae and Terrance were there for the teens' class.  I didn't suggest that any sparring take place because Janae has almost zero experience with that, and I didn't want to take a chance with putting her in with Terrance.  However, I was pleased to know that Janae does shadow box on her own when she's not able to come to the gym.

I've made some more phone calls to coaches to set up the sparring session next month.  It's hard to catch people because they are usually working the same time that I am.  But I want to make it work because most of the youths in my gym really need the sparring practice.  It won't be long before the park district boxing shows begin, and I'd like to see everyone who is willing get a chance to participate.

I made it to the Chicago Golden Gloves last night only to miss Ben's (not the one in my teen class, but the one who trains at Loyola Park) fight.  Alan told me that Ben did a great job, but the judges gave the win to the other guy.  I made a point of telling the teens at my gym that they have to do the best they can not to leave the outcome of a fight in the judges' hands.  In other words, they have to work hard to make sure the judges have no choice but to hand them the win.

I've been hearing that the people who now own the Chicago version of the tournament are happy with it being out at Cicero Stadium.  But judging by the low turnout, the audiences still aren't down with the idea.  Even when the tournament moved away from St. Andrews, where it had been for decades, to Gordon Tech high school, the crowds were huge and the vibe was high.  That hasn't been the case since the Golden Gloves have been held out in the suburbs.

A check of the attendance sheets for the LaFollette spring boxing session showed that Elizabeth hasn't been signed up like she told me.  People may think I'm being mean, but I kind of hope that she doesn't.  After all, it seems odd to me that a girl who has been telling me for over a year that she doesn't want to box now all of a sudden is interested in the sport.  She's already told me she doesn't want to spar, which is problematic in a program that is set up for youths to compete.  I like Elizabeth, but I'd rather not have yet another kid just holding a place in class when another kid who wants to learn the sport and would actually do the work could have that spot.

Several boys kept coming into the gym being disruptive.  I kept putting them out (I have no problem or reservations with doing that).  Later, the same group of urchins came in with a woman who was related to a couple of them.  It appears that everyone still hasn't received the message that the Chicago Park District has gone paperless in terms of registrations.  While I was explaining online registration to the adult, the boys kept messing with the equipment.  I had to get loud with them a couple of times.  I apologized to the adult for my outburst towards the kids, but I have to also start letting the adults know that I'm not going to tolerate discipline problems out of their kids.  If their kids don't follow the rules and regulations, they're gone.  It's just that simple.

I've been toying with the idea of not allowing the youths to spar if they show up late on the days when sparring takes place.  There are still problems with youths taking too long to wrap their hands (because of goofing around), then not starting their workout right away.  No matter how many times I point out that showing up late cuts down on what they'll be able to do that day in terms of training, tardiness keeps happening.  The next step beyond that is just not allowing them to participate in tournaments due to lack of not being on time, and not training well on top of that, regardless if it was a sparring day or not.

Finally learned what happened to Deja -- she's in the gymnastics class.  Deja was one of the kids who had good potential (and her brother Terry had started to come along as well).  But it seems that gymnastics is a better fit for her.

Maybe when I come in next week, the painters will finally have finished painting the supply room.  Trust me, it's not a big job.  The painters seem to have a habit of stretching out jobs for some reason.  I could have gotten it done in a day or two.  Having painted my mother's house inside and out a few times when I was younger, I do know something about how to paint.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

A Clean Room Reveals Another Theft

The photo above is of the boxing equipment room/my office at LaFollette Park.  That is the cleanest I have ever seen that room since I've been working there.  Some of the staff members helped me move practically everything out of there so the room can be spray painted (allegedly) tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I discovered that an air pump that I brought for the gym is gone.  Xavier noticed one of the speed bags was low on air, so I went to get the pump to fill it up.  I've found the equipment room open on most days when I've arrived at work when it was supposed to be locked after the painters did what little work they had been doing over the past few weeks.  With that much easy access going on, it's anyone guess who might have taken it.  A work order is going to be put in to place a lock on the cabinet from where the pump was stolen.

Another view of the equipment room, facing the back of the space.  The cabinet where the pump used to be is on the right.

Elizabeth, a pleasant, but chatty little girl, informed me that her mother signed her up for the spring session of boxing.  For a year now, she's been telling me that she didn't want to take the class, mainly because she didn't want to get hit.  I'm trying to figure out how that is going to play out.  The kids and teens' boxing classes are designed to give them an opportunity to compete.  I'm concerned that Elizabeth is going to get bored with the workout routine and the discipline that goes along with it.  Also, the youths in the gym who do want to spar and compete can be relentless about picking at the youths who don't.

I went to the Chicago Golden Gloves only to meet Kathy and Alan coming out of Cicero Stadium.  Ben's fight was rescheduled to later this week.  Kathy's fight is two weeks away.  She's nervous, but looking forward to it.  I gave her some tips about blocking out the crowd noise and listening for the coach's voice.  I hope to help Alan in the corner with both Ben and Kathy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Pretty Girl and Maintenance Issues

Professor and Martin watch the sparring at Loyola Park gym.  Martin hasn't been in the gym in awhile, but he's planning to sign up again.  He told me about Grauben, whom I also haven't seen in awhile.  Grauben would like to return as well, but he lives way out on the south side these days.

I sparred with Kathy.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get in close enough to throw any hooks to the body.  "Catch her in corner," Alan said, and I only managed to do that once.  My head was easy pickings for Kathy.  I fared a little better with Melissa, but only because she is still new to the boxing game.  I was able to get a lot of body shots in, and a few good ones to Melissa's head.

Ben and Connor's first fights at the Chicago Golden Gloves take place this week. I'm planning to see Ben's fight, but because my niece and her husband are coming to town later, I may not get to see Connor's fight.  Kathy's fight is still not on the schedule according to what I saw on the Golden Gloves web site.

Meanwhile at LaFollette, most of the boxing equipment is still in plastic bags.  The painters responsible for fixing up the supply room have barely done anything.  I do know that at least one of them sat at my desk in the supply and leisurely worked on a puzzle in the newspaper.  Yesterday, I loaded up the top of the desk with bags of equipment so that whoever that person was will have to find another spot to sit and read the newspaper and eat,  and whatever else they've been doing at my desk.

Now the painters are claiming that more things have to be moved around and perhaps out of the supply room so they can do their jobs.  Well maybe that would have been a good thing for them to communicate up front so the painting job would have been done by now.  I'm not going to have my program and its participants disrupted and inconvenienced; the painters will have to work around us, not the other way around.  I'm still salty about the two months it took them to finish painting the gym last year.  It took me awhile to build back up the boxing program, which had been shut down all that time, because of that.  And trust me, it should NOT have taken two months to paint that gym.

Ben sparred with Xavier.  "It's going to be my funeral", he told me beforehand.  Xavier is bigger than Ben and older by three years.  But Xavier was giving pointers to Ben while they were in the ring, which I appreciated.  Ben's father was helpful as well in encouraging his son.  But Ben wasn't answering many of Xavier's punches, and he could not figure out the older boy's moves.  Ben received some good head shots and body shots.  "He'll be alright.  Ben is just mad," Ben's father said afterwards.

One of the teen girls whom I believe is a part of the gymnastics program told me she's like to sign up for boxing.  Yeah, right.  It's become easier for me to recognize the kids and teens who are all talk and have no strong interest in the sport.  Ever since I was a little kid, I've recognized the girly girl issues some females, no matter how old they are, have.  I don't have time for pretty girl issues in my gym.  You know the type. . . ."I can't have my hair and nails messed up!", "I don't like to sweat!" and other types of nonsense.  Those types of girls need to find something else to do other than come to my gym.