Saturday, February 04, 2017
Out Of The Running
Next week will be the fourth week in the session. Today, two youths joined the class. Actually, only one wants to stick with the program. Let me explain.
Jada is nine-years-old, and she's in everything. Her mother showed me a video of when her daughter appeared on Steve Harvey's talk show. Jada acts, dances, and models. She is now eager to box. Excellent! But here's the issue: her mom thought the boxing class only meets once a week. Her mom used to box back in the day, so I'm a bit confused why she thought practice for a sport would only be done one day out of the week. I know that on all the printed schedules and flyers that boxing is stated as being five days a week. The online listings show the program at LaFollette as being five days a week. Where are parents reading "once a week"? I don't get it. I gave Jada a mouthpiece and forgot that she won't be able to spar if she's not able to come in on any other day but Saturday.
Her older sister, Kyla, had been signed up for the class, too. "She has to do something to protect herself," her mother said. I let the statement about the class not being for self-defense die on my lips. That was written on the flyers, and signs to that effect are posted around the gym including on the front entrance to the gym. "But I'm interested in dance," Kyla whined. She told her mother that no, she was not going to participate in the teen boxing class. I recognized the girl's "pretty girl" issues right away. It appears that her mother is not going to force her to continue in the class, so that is one less person I have to worry about.
James and Tyler thought they would take advantage of the fact that I was spending time working with Jada and goof off. But I was on them every time I noticed them slacking off. It has been explained to those two that they can't keep half-assing around on their training. But it's like talking to a brick wall. I'm dialed down on talking up the City-Wide Tournament to them. I'll be going there in April to help out, but I seriously doubt I'm going to allow either James nor Tyler to enter the tournament if they don't step it up.
Donovan may be out of the running, too. He has a heavy study load in school this year. Donovan is also trying to gain entrance into an educational program that will give him an edge in both high school and college. Donovan's a smart kid; I don't doubt that he can go far in life. "Your education is more important than coming here," I told him. "If you have to take off from this class for a while, that's fine. You can always sign up again for the next session." His mother will get in touch with me concerning her son's schedule for the next several weeks.
I heard a rumor that some patron, someone who doesn't have a kid in my class, has a problem with the way I run the program. They think I'm not coaching it correctly because I'm not turning out "killers". Obviously, the person who made the comment doesn't know much about the sport. There have been professional boxers who have come out of the Chicago Park District. However, there haven't been that many. Very few of the youths who attend any of the 21 boxing gyms in the park district system are going to display the skills of a Fres Oquendo, David Diaz, JJ Wright, or Ed Brown. A coach is blessed if they have a natural champ on their hands. But most youths just need to know the basics. Most may have a few fights (if any), and that's it. Every kid who walks into a boxing gym is not going to have the skills -- let alone the interest -- to make a career out of it.