Thursday, June 15, 2017

Musical Chairs In The Gym

Jamire, one of the new kids in the boxing program, showed up yesterday with his grandmother.  Jamire appears to be a nice kid, but his grandmother was accurate in her assessment of her grandson being lazy.  She told me of her concern about her grandson always sitting and playing video games and generally not being active.

It wasn't long before Jamire was complaining about being tired and the workout being hard.  After just about every round the boy was sitting down, then taking too long to get up when the bell timer went off again.  His grandmother noticed it first, and she got on him about it.  It was as if Jamire was playing musical chairs. I gave him, as well as Abraham and Iz who came in later, a bit of a pass because it was hot in the gym.  The built in the fans in the gym were only pushing air around; that's all the fans ever do.  But I told Jamire that I don't allow people to sit for long periods of time.  "If you want to win fights, you'll do the workout," I said.  Before I went home yesterday, I left a chair out for his grandmother to sit in, but I put the other chair, which I normally use, away.  I can stand up, and Abraham, Iz and David seldom sit down when they are there.  Jamire is not going to keep sitting down when he's there.

Abraham and Iz sparred, and Jamire wanted to get in on it.  But he has to learn the punches first.  I no longer teach all of the punches in one class because that was not an effective way to do that.  I was doing that in the past because most kids who signed up before class began were not showing up until a week or two later.  I wanted to get them up to speed quickly.  Others were not signing up until after the class had been going on for three weeks or more.  But I'm not making that my problem anymore.  Regardless of when anyone signs up, that first week is reserved for teaching the punches and going over basic footwork.  No one new will be allowed to spar until the second week they are in class.

Of the four new kids whom I called the other day to remind them that class had begun for the summer, Jamire was the only one who came in.  I'm not making any more phone calls.  If the others don't show up after a few days, I'll have to assume there's no interest in the class on their part and just keep it moving.

I'm not one for roaming around the LaFollette Park field house.  I'm supposed to be in the gym the majority of the time I'm at work so that's where I stay.  I didn't see Tina, whom I had a run-in with the other day.  Her car was in the parking lot, so I knew she was there. I'm still deciding how to respond to her.  I pride myself for having not escalated the situation.  I have a volcanic temper, so trust me when I say that was a credit to me when I decided not to blow up on her.  Perhaps I am becoming a little mellow in my old age.  I'm thinking I should go with the "kill them with kindness" route and at least acknowledge that she exists when I see her.

But I'm also leaning heavily towards giving her a piece of professional advice -- that is if she wants to listen.  I was a few years younger than her  (Tina is in her late 20s) when I got caught up in the gossip culture at the place where I was working.  I foolishly repeated something that someone else had said about a co-worker, just like Tina did to me.  I caught hell for it from the target of the gossip and rightfully so.  I learned a lesson the hard way that day.  Tina needs to learn that before she repeats and/or acts on some wayward information again.  The next time she does that, no matter whether it's at the Chicago Park District or at another job down the line, it may cost her something in terms of her job or career.  She can't afford that, and to be honest, neither can anyone else in any workplace.

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