Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas and Hanukkah Boxing

Yesterday, I pointed out to Alan that it has been a year since Colonel (Ken), who stands to the left in the photo above had passed away.  I still miss him.  Alan wondered how Kenny, Colonel's son, was holding up.  We haven't seen him since he came to the gym months ago.

I almost didn't go to Loyola Park because the temperatures have been so frigid.  But I just bundled up, toughened it out, and took the walk.  A recent trip to the doctor revealed that I have some muscle weakness in my left leg.  However, I didn't have as many problems with that leg as I walked to the gym.

I was wearing a hoodie that a Facebook friend, Scott, had sent me for my birthday.  The hoodie reads, "Don't let your president get your ass whooped," which is a statement directed at the racists and misogynists who voted for Donald Trump.  Those set of his supporters lately have been thinking that they can step to people of color and women any kind of way because their "hero" is now the president-elect.  I showed Alan the shirt, and he smiled.

Timothy, who usually spends a lot of the gym time taking pointers from his friend Lamar, sparred with Ro.  Lamar kept telling him to "trust your defense".

Lauren, the quiet law student, sparred with Kathy.  I kept thinking, "Lauren is a solid-built woman.  If she really put some power behind those punches, she'd give Kathy something to think about."  She did surprise Kathy with a straight punch in one of the later rounds.

Paul and his wife made some wonderful Christmas cookies which they brought in to share with everyone.  The mint chocolate cookies were especially good, and I ate more that I probably should have.

Barry has closed up the youth boxing program for the rest of the year.  I know he usually takes vacation around this time.  Paul, who is a volunteer, offered to keep the gym open for the kids, but Mary said no.  Alan's adult program has been open throughout the break period.  Christmas and New Year's Day are on Sundays this time around, so the park district will not be open on the Mondays following those holidays.  I won't be back down at Loyola until the new year.

Meanwhile, I have got done much of the stuff I wanted to catch up on down at LaFollette boxing gym.  I'm basically coasting until the winter session begins in January.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Coach Mama

Today was the last day of the fall session, and no one came to the gym.  Ariel usually doesn't come in on Saturdays, so I wasn't surprised.  Donovan and Maz have missed a lot of days, and I have no idea what's up with that.  The kids who barely attended like Summer, Jaymerson, Lauren, Morgan, etc. . . .oh, well.

James told me yesterday, "Miss Hillari, I have a rough cough, and I feel feverish."  He asked me to feel the side of his neck.  I also felt his forehead, and it did appear that the boy was running a little bit of a fever.  At that moment, I felt like I was James' mom, or a nurse in a school clinic.  That led to a conversation about tonsils.  James still has his, and I told him about mine being taken out decades ago.  I'm assuming that James wasn't feeling any better today, which would explain his absence.

Mrs. Gage came in this morning to register for a senior class.  Coach James told her that no registrations would be taken for anything at the field house until Monday.  That led to a debate between Coach James and Mrs. Gage about what the park district should and should not be doing.  You see, Mrs. Gage is one of those citizens who regularly voices their opinion when they believe things are out of line.  She lives across the street from the field house, and she is always watching.  She is also the mom of a fellow alumnus of the high school from where I graduated.  Coach James thought that Mrs. Gage was being unfair in her assessment of the park district.  However, everything she said wasn't wrong.  There's always room for improvement.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Death In The Family

I had to go to Garfield Park today to attend an instructor's training.  I was a little pissed because I wasn't told about it until yesterday.  The day was planning to be a long, slow one.  The training wasn't as bad and unproductive like the others I had attended recently.  During a brief break, I decided to go up to Garfield's boxing gym to say hello to George.

George was busy watching two of his fighters sparring, so I waved to him across the ring.  "I just stopped in to say hi," I told George.  I looked up at the ceiling there was a robe hanging from it that had belonged to Ed Brown, a young man who had trained at Garfield.  Everyone didn't know Ed personally, but most knew about him.  He was on his way up, an undefeated contender who was scheduled to have a fight on the Showtime network in a few weeks.  Unfortunately, we'll never know what heights the young man could have reached in his boxing career. Someone rolled up next to the car that Ed and his sister were sitting in and opened fire.  His sister survived.  Her brother didn't.

A co-worker at LaFollette made a comment last night:  "Well, the guy was gang-banging."  We don't know that for sure.  Yes, it's common knowledge that Ed Brown had been shot before, and survived those attempts on his life.  His mom died in a tragic incident in a downtown nightclub over ten years ago.  His dad has a jail record.  Ed Brown had his own ups and downs.  But the fact that he had dedicated himself to a sport and was coming up, told me that he was trying to change his circumstances.

I can't shake the feeling that the young man's murder may have been motivated by jealousy.  I grew up in the same area he did, and I've seen people take beat downs from others who were angry that someone appeared to have a little more extra than they.  Many of the fights I was in while in grade school were instigated by kids who wanted to bring down the girl who had a higher reading score than most of the other students.  I'm too familiar with that attitude.  I was just thinking the other day that most people miss out on blessings because they are too busy complaining about the blessings that others have received.  However, most limit their "playa hating" to snide remarks and pulling mean pranks.  Then you have those who believe that others whom they believe won a golden ticket to something better should never be able to cash it in for the prize.

I just shake my head at it all.