Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Little Attention Would Be Nice

I understand that registration numbers are low for the Chicago City-Wide Boxing Tournament which is scheduled for next week.  That's too bad, but there are several reasons why that has happened.  I entered all of my attendance numbers for the winter boxing session and the results were worse than I initially thought.  That session probably had the lowest attendance numbers of any of the sessions since I've been at LaFollette.
During a conversation with another park district coach, there were echoes of problems that I also experience at my gym.  "The parents just don't care, and neither do most of the kids," the coach said.  Most of the coaches have the same complaint.  Boxing is one of the best sports in the world, but it ranks at the top as being the most thankless sport in terms of participation and support. Some parents and guardians are cool with the coaches until we tell them they can't have or do something in the gym.  Very few parents and guardians are willing to volunteer in the gym, help get youths to shows and tournaments, donate or help buy equipment, etc., but yet their hands are always out expecting something from the coaches.  Some only view the program as a free babysitting service.
One or two youths may appear in the gym during each session who show a healthy interest in the sport and are willing to put the work in.  I love when that happens.  Unfortunately, it doesn't happen enough.  Too often, I'm stuck with kids displaying behavioral and discipline problems, along with the ones who have no interest in being in the gym.  I have to accept everyone because it's a public-run gym.  Luckily, I do have the option of kicking the more difficult cases out of my gym.  Usually, they do me a favor and drop out on their own.  But then that often leaves me with no one to train nor to place in the competitions.  
The most popular sports in the park district -- football, basketball, baseball, and swimming -- have built-in marketing strategies that eclipse boxing at each and every turn.  They most certainly get more press in the advertisements, flyers, signs, and in the park district's newsletter.  When I have to attend physical instructors' training like I did yesterday, information about track and field, soccer, and field hockey is always being given out. Nothing is mentioned about boxing unless I and/or another boxing coach who happens to be at the meeting speak up. 
It appears that boxing doesn't get much attention.  It should be no surprise, then, about the difficulties in recruiting participants to register for a tournament, let alone sign up for boxing classes.

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