Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Dead Transfer and Hordes Of Teenagers

It appears that a coach was hired to run the boxing gym at Eckhart Park, so my attempt to be transferred there is now dead in the water.  For the time being, I'm stuck with a long commute to LaFollette Park, mostly indifferent kids, and parents who don't appear to support the program.  I remember hearing that the community really wanted a boxing program re-opened there before I was hired.  But, honestly?  The community's alleged enthusiasm for a boxing program has never appeared to be very high.  Not by a long shot.  I've been there nearly three years, and my efforts to generate more interest in the boxing program has been difficult to achieve.  That really bothers me because I know how boxing can benefit youths in so many ways in and outside of the ring.

Today is the first day of the summer session for my program.  Alan's class at Loyola Park ended on June 7th, and I believe it doesn't begin again until June 19th.  He's going to have a lot of returning people for his summer session, however.  Several of the guys -- Roman, John, Michael, Ben, Reif, Matt -- expressed interest in fighting at LaFollette's boxing show later this month.  I have to get out the word to the other park district coaches that there are some light heavyweight and heavyweight fighters who are looking to have matches at my show.

William, who looks like a college student, but who is actually 14 years old was in Loyola's gym last night.  I'm assuming that Barry has been giving him permission to come to the adult class for extra training in light of the fact that the boxing shows will soon commence.

Frenchessa was the only other woman who was in the gym last night.  She kept going on the speed bag even though the bell was red.  "I think I'm a good height to box.  It appears there are a lot of tall women in this sport," she said.  A little more height might have helped me while I was competing.  But like an aunt of mine who is 4 foot 10 always says, "Dynamite comes in small packages."  Frenchessa is in her early 20s, and she wants to train for a couple of years before competing.

I saw that another kid signed up for the 12 and under boxing class at LaFollette.  I have not met either of the two new kids who will be joining the class, nor have I talked to their parents.  That bothers me, especially when now the phrase, "please talk to the instructor before registering" is on the paper class schedule and online.  Either parents aren't noticing that request or they are ignoring it.  If it's the latter, that has the possibility of causing negative issues as the class goes on, and I'm never in the mood for that.

Something else I have to watch out for -- hordes of roaming teenagers hanging about in the gym.  Over the last couple of weeks, I've had teens strolling in asking about the class.  Most do not appear to be serious about it, and frankly, I have zero toleration for that.  A few of them were led by Desire, a kid I met when I first started working at LaFollette.  Her younger sister was in the class back then, but Desire was not.  Desire has been talking about signing up recently, but I haven't forgotten her saying "I don't want to box because I don't want people thinking I'm a man!" three years ago.  I suspect her real motivation (like too many of the teen girls at LaFollette) is to position herself in spots where she thinks most of the boys will be.  I like Desire, but I'm not running "The Dating Game" nor "Love Connection" out of the gym.

I'm not running a free babysitting service for parents who want to dump their little darlings off on me because they want them out of the house as much as possible, either.  Neither the youth nor the teen class is filled up completely at the moment.  But give it time.  Several parents, having forgotten once again that summer happens every year, will show up four to five weeks into the session to beg me to take their kids in the class.  The window was missed for putting their little wonders into summer camp, so they have to scramble to find another activity.  Unfortunately, out of that group, I end up with kids who don't want to be in boxing and they scrap the class after a few times.  It happens too often.

Before I forget, I saw the movie Wonder Woman over the past weekend.  It was way better than the other superhero movies of late.  Former boxer Ann Wolfe -- who is now a trainer -- was in the movie.  Her part was small, but I hope if there is a sequel, her character will have a bigger role.  In one scene, it looked like she gave a devastating body shot to a male soldier (the film is set during WWI) who along with other soldiers, had invaded Paradise Island.  She was handling her business for real.

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