Saturday, September 24, 2016

Crying and Meltdown Disasters

Ben spars with Jesus at Loyola Park in this photo that was taken earlier this week.

Today was truly all-sparring day at LaFollette Park gym.  There was some confusion, but a vibe of excitement going on.  I thought everything was going well.  Then the first of two disasters took place.

Kewan sparred with KeVonte.  Of the two, KeVonte was more aggressive, and he had good form.  Kewan started off with good intentions, but KeVonte got the better of him.  Kewan was backed into a corner, then he turned around, leaned on the ropes and cried.  Thank God for Donovan, who was acting as the referee, while I stood on the ring apron, barking out instructions.  Donovan signaled to me that Kewan had enough pounding on for today.  Kewan took his helmet off, ran to his grandmother who had walked in at the end of the round, and left the gym.

Against my better judgement, I allowed Jaymerson to pester me into letting him spar.  KeVonte had the upper hand again, but then Jaymerson, who is a special needs child, had no focus.  No matter how many times Dwayne and I told Jaymerson to keep his hands up, move, punch back, etc., the boy did not.  KeVonte popped Jaymerson many times in the face during the first round.  Jaymerson was crying, and I asked did he want to do another around.  First he didn't, then he said he did.  The second round was worst than the first.

Jaymerson threw a total fit.  He kept saying afterwards that he wanted to punch KeVonte.  "You can't get back into the ring, it's over with for today," Dwayne told him.  Jaymerson continued to cry, scream and yell.  "My nose is bleeding," he insisted, but it wasn't.  Jaymerson threw punches at Dwayne, and then blamed him for the punches he took from KeVonte.  The boy didn't want to hear anything that anyone had to say, including anything his sister Morgan was trying to tell him.  This went on and on, while the other boys in the gym continued to spar.  Finally, Jaymerson ran up and hugged me, saying, "I love you."

"I love you, too, but all this crying and carrying on has to stop.  This is boxing, and people get hit.  That what happens," I told him.  I got down on my knees, took his hands and looked up into his face.  "If you don't want to be in the class anymore, I understand.  I won't be mad," I continued.  Jaymerson still wanted to come to the gym but continued to be angry about the sparring session.  I reverted back to all the times I had to soothe my late youngest brother -- who was also a special needs child -- as I kept talking quietly and calmly to Jaymerson.

Donte and his twin brother sparred with each other, and one of the twins sparred with Donovan (which was a good match up).  All the boys had a chance to spar.  The only boy who didn't show up to class was Tayjon.

Later, Jaymerson's mom came in, and Dwayne and I explained what happened.  We both agreed that her son should not spar with anyone from here on in.  It's going to be a struggle to enforce that rule with Jaymerson, because he's going to want to join in when the other boys spar.  Even before Jaymerson stepped in the ring, I figured things wouldn't go well.  Now I have proof.  I can't allow the boy to get hurt like that when he can't pick up on the boxing basics well enough to defend himself.

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