Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Not Now, Please

Lately, I have been expecting sparring days at LaFollette Park to be off, and they usually are.  Right in the middle of everything that was going on, a guy named Jeffrey comes in and wants to have a conversation.  He told me he had been a coach, and had boxed in the military.

Fine.  Great.  But I was in the middle of trying to corral the kids -- TJ, Earl, Justen, Suave, and Jermaine -- into sparring.  Most were running their mouths, mainly about subjects that had nothing to do with boxing.  A couple of them kept interrupting while I was talking to Jeffrey.  "Don't you see that I'm talking to an adult?" I snapped at Jermaine, channeling my mother.  Another time I told TJ, "Don't get involved in grown folks' business!"

I don't mind talking to people who drop by the gym.  But bad timing is bad timing.  Jeffrey took awhile to get the hint that I was too busy to talk.

Justen told me he had to leave early.  It had something to do with him going out of town on a vacation soon.  I wanted to know why Justen only shows up to the gym on the days when sparring is going on.  "I wasn't in last week because I had to pack," came the answer.  "I'm not talking about last week.  This is a habit," I answered.  Justen once again tried to use the excuse about preparing to go out of town.  I dismissed the excuses.  "Justen, you're not going to learn how to box just by sparring only.  You need to show up here more often.  I've providing the opportunity, but you have to take advantage of it and want to do it," I sternly told him.

TJ and Suave sparred first.  Justen started yelling instructions, instead of doing a workout.  Justen was the only one who didn't have a mouthpiece.  I shut that down with, "I'm the only coach in here."  The session was going okay until TJ caught Suave with a right hook to the body.  Suave fell to the canvas.  After a few moments, Suave became scrappy again and finished the round.

Earl and Jermaine sparred next.  Both had their chins way up in the air, and head movement was not happening.  Body shots were not on display, either.  Jermaine was throwing wild punches as usual.  Because of that, Jermaine took a hit to the mouth that left the kid with blood in his mouth.  Some of it was spit out, along with water he had taken, onto the canvas near where I was standing on the apron.  His mother asked why would he do that at my feet.  "Yeah, I have to get the mop to clean that up," I said.  Jermaine's mother made him clean it up.

Justen had the nerve to go sit down on the exercise mat and read a book.  Apparently, a decision had been made not to do anything that looked like a workout.  "Uh, excuse me, but this is not school.  Want to read a book?  Leave the gym to do it," I warned Justen.  It got him up and about, but still, a poor workout was done.  I gave Justen a hint not to ask me about putting him into any boxing shows until see some self-motivation and focus.

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