Thursday, June 28, 2018

Is She The Same Girl?

Damaris has been surprising both Sahia and myself.  Damaris is itching to be in a boxing show, and she wants to be worked harder in the gym.  For a long period of time, Damaris gave the impression that training was the very last thing on her mind.  But her focus has improved and her skills have become a bit better.  

But unfortunately, she doesn't have adequate sparring partners in the gym.  She's not really a good match with Anayah, Kayla, Lael, nor Aarav.  Elijah is taller and bigger than all of the other kids, so she can't spar with him, either.  Garfield Park's boxing show is coming up soon, and Damaris is going to need to spar.  I'm going to have to allow her to do very light sparring with Anayah or Kayla.  I won't feel comfortable allowing her to participate at Garfield Park unless she does.

I'm also hoping that Garfield Park's show doesn't get canceled.  There were a lot of hard feelings about the Humboldt Park show being shut down at the last minute.  My show was rained out.  I'm assuming that Taylor Park's show went on as planned today.

Sahia wisely pointed out to Damaris not to base what the Garfield Park show will be like based on  the Fosco Park show that took place back in May.  Due to low turnout, every fight at Fosco was turned into sparring sessions.  There were no knockouts nor big injuries.  That probably will not be
the case at Garfield.

Two new kids, Henry and David, signed up for the youth class today.  For the past three weeks there has been a pattern of kids dropping out or being withdrawn from class by me only to be quickly replaced by others.  Henry and David's father was so glad he was able to get them into class.  The boys appear to be ready and willing to work.  That's all I ask.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Seven Down

So far, so good . . . no major problems in the gym since summer camp began this week.  I haven't noticed any vandalizing of the bulletin boards or equipment.  However, it's early in the season.

Seven kids are now gone from the youth class.  This is only the third week of the session.  Yesterday, a set of twins admitted to their guardian that they were not interested in continuing to take boxing.  They left in the middle of the class.  One of them double backed to me to explain their twin didn't like jumping rope because they couldn't get the hang of it.  "What the . . .?" I thought to myself.  Neither of the twins showed much enthusiasm for anything in class from day one.  The sport is just not a good fit for everyone, no matter how much a parent or guardian may think it is for their kids.

Elijah finally showed up to class yesterday (he signed up weeks ago), but again, there was the issue of not being able to show up every day.  "I'm not sure if I can get him here every day," his mother told me.  He wasn't there today.  One reason I know for the absences is that Elijah attends summer camp, but not at LaFollette.  It takes a while to get over to boxing from that other camp which is a good distance away.   I learned from Elijah that there's no coach at Seward Park now; Elijah had previously trained over there.  Allegedly, Mike resigned right before the summer session began.

Aarav was missing, too.  He can only come to the gym two days out of the week and today was supposed to be one of the days.  Like Elijah, Aarav was training at a different gym, too; he was at Sheridan Park.  I'm beginning to wonder how often Aarav was showing up there.

For all intents and purposes, I have no teen or adult class in operation.  I dropped Kierra after her parents never responded to voice mails I left about her non-attendance.  Savannah has yet to show up to the gym.  The two adults bowed out early.  One of them was Yamira's dad; her mother told me they signed up their daughter for something else, which is why she never showed up for the summer session.  The other guy told me the gym was a bit out of his way; maybe that should have occurred to the guy before paying his money.

None of the kids have been showing up for the past few Saturdays.  That's an issue because sparring is set for that day, and we're in the midst of the weekly boxing shows.  I don't know how the ones who keep telling me they want fights -- namely Damaris, Kayla, and Anayah -- think that's going to work out for them if they don't spar. Elijah and Aarav are already ready out of the running because they can't show up regularly to class.  It looks like Lael will never get a fight, either, for lack of regular attendance, too.

On the upside . . . well, there isn't one right now.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Second Year Cancellation

As soon as I drove up to the field house, Steve was outside telling me my boxing show scheduled for today was canceled.  I knew that already, considering it had rained all day long. This is the second year in a row that LaFollette Park's boxing show has been canceled due to the weather.

 The youths were told yesterday to show up to the gym even if the boxing show was canceled because we would just have regular training as usual.  No one bothered to show up.  I woke up this morning with a headache and the fact that I had to sit in an empty gym for several hours did not make it better. Neither did finding a sign torn down from my office/equipment room door.  The sign was another reminder to both outside maintenance crews and on-site attendants to lock the door afterward if they have to be in there for any reason.  I found that door open again sometime last week.  My sign was crumpled up and laid in a spot where I wouldn't miss seeing it.  I put up another sign.  If that one goes missing, I'm going to use Super Glue to post the next sign up.

Lee, who I hadn't seen in a couple of years, came by the gym.  I used to let him and Mike -- the late Johnny Heard's son -- use the gym to get work in.  Lee told me he now has a professional boxer's license.  He's planning on getting a fight in August.  I would love to have more professional boxers visit the gym.  Perhaps it would motivate some of the youths to straighten up and take the sport seriously.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Not A Good Beginning

Yesterday was the first day of the summer session.  Despite my reminder phone calls made to parents last week, only Damaris, Kayla, and Anayah  showed up for the kids' class.  I asked if they were still planning to participate in the boxing show later this week at Humboldt Park.  Anayah's mom said she and her daughter were going to be at the weigh-in.  But Damaris and Kayla have changed their minds.  Not a good start to the regular boxing show season.

Mikaela and Noel came in, and I asked why they weren't at Simons Park, where they now train.  Coach Marty asked them to come in later so he can work with them more.  They wanted to work out while waiting for their mother who volunteered in the kids' class, but they're no longer signed up at my gym.  Sorry, but rules are rules.

No one showed up for the teen class.  Only Mark, an 18-year-old, showed up for the adult class.  Mark told me he might not be able to come to the gym regularly.   It looks like a repeat of the spring session where those classes are concerned.

I got evidence there was an attempt to turn away a guardian from registering their child in the boxing class.  Fortunately, the guardian talked to me, and I rectified the situation.  But I'm confused at what smells like a case of program sabotage -- and it's not the first time there has been signs of it.  All I do is go to work, mind my business, and do my job.  I fail to see how I -- or the boxing program -- is a threat to anyone.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Summer Ain't Shaping Up Too Well

For the first time in a while, the gym was completely empty this past Saturday.  I wasn't happy.  A few days before, I made courtesy calls to remind people that the summer session this week.  The majority of those registered for summer were in the spring session.  However, a lot of them did not complete the spring session.  Of those I called, I only got a hold of a couple of the parents.  At this point, I'm doubting that most will show up for the first day of class.  I do know I'm not going to keep making courtesy calls.

Humboldt Park's boxing show is coming up this week.  Kayla and Anayah are ready for it.  Sahia thinks Damaris has shown improvement.  But Damaris' continual lack of focus and motivation as well as the girl's disrespectful attitude irritates me.  Unfortunately, youths who operate on that level often learn the hard way -- during a match -- that more work should have done in the gym.  Damaris may learn that lesson if she gets a fight at Humboldt Park.

It is still officially late spring, but the weather has been fickle.  Humboldt Park has the option of presenting their boxing show on the inside.  LaFollette does not, and my show was rained out last year.  If that happens again this year, it'll be another setback for a boxing program that already contends with low support and visibility.