Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Difference Between Night and Day In The Gym

Juan and Darnell, two teens in the boxing class, are different as day and night.  Darnell doesn't have an interest in competing.  His relatives are more interested in Darnell becoming fit and knowing how to defend himself.  So far, I'm constantly pointing out that Darnell needs to pay attention in class.  Also, Darnell can't do simple exercises properly, which is mainly the fault of the school system which does not provide good physical education classes these days.

Juan has had four fights, and he splits his training time between a private gym and the Chicago Park District.  His parents are very supportive of their son being in the sport, more than most of the parents that come through LaFollette Park.  From what I've seen of him so far, Juan is a decent fighter and he believes in working hard.  Juan also acts respectively towards adults.

Respect is something that has been lacking where Damaris and Jaylen are concerned.  Neither one of them has been in the gym this week.  Damaris is averaging once a week as far as her attendance is concerned.  She is still showing her disinterest in the sport and lack of motivation.  It was brought to my attention that she cursed at her mother recently.  I have witnessed Damaris smarting off to her mother in the past.  However, I never realized she was going that far with her disrespect.

I never get a notification when Jaylen isn't there at all nor acceptable excuses upon his return. Jaylen continually shows up late, often as much as twenty minutes some days.    Then several more minutes are wasted waiting on Jaylen to put on hand wraps and change his clothes and shoes.  Jaylen moves like molasses and gets an attitude when I expect quickness.  I've grown tired of the "I forgot" excuses used about things Jaylen has done numerous times before.  If I and Sahia don't stand over Jaylen, not much gets done.

I want to take Juan to the boxing shows that are scheduled in August.  Damaris' poor attitude disqualified her from participating in the shows some time ago.  I was going to take Jaylen to Seward Park next week, but that's now a no-go. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Cancel Summer

A couple of days ago, Sahia forced Jaylen to give me a statement about planning to do better in the gym.  I wasn't impressed as Jaylen's words were insincere and the boy's attitude was extremely funky.  "Uncoachable kids turn into adults who don't want to listen when someone is trying to tell them something to help them out.  People don't want to be around others who act like that," I replied.  I made it clear that we were not going to Garfield Park's boxing show, which took place yesterday, because of Jaylen's laziness and attitude problems.  Jaylen didn't come to the gym yesterday, and I suspect because of being ticked that he couldn't go to that show.  That was another signal to me that Jaylen fails to recognize who really is in control at LaFollette.

I'm seriously considering skipping the rest of the boxing shows that will take place this summer.  Jaylen lack of motivation, as well as Damaris' continued disinterest, irritates me constantly.  They are the only two who come to the youth class, and it's not worth me closing down the gym in light of their attitudes and spotty attendance.  I don't mind judging fights, but I'd rather not do that at every boxing show because I don't have people who want to compete.  I'd rather be working the corners.  Plus, public transportation to get anywhere was difficult when I was able-bodied.  Riding the trains and buses is even more of an issue now that I'm hobbling around with a cane.

There is no doubt there will be criticism from my supervisor and the boxing program coordinator if I decide to cancel participation in the summer shows.  The boxing program has been operating poorly for the past few years largely due to the lack of support from the area where the field house sits.  Each session, I'm confronted with more people who sign up for the program but would rather be elsewhere -- that's if they sign up at all or bother to show up once they've signed up.  I'll deal with the heat. 

A guy signed up his son for the teen class yesterday.  However, his younger son was with him, not the older son.  I'm always concerned when people don't have their kids front and center during the registration process.  I want to talk to the kids as well as the parents and guardians so everyone is on the same page regarding the program.  "Your son will be the only one in the class.  The other teen dropped out, and the rest of the teens in this area aren't interested in this sport," I told the dad which is the honest truth.  The dad was interested in his son learning self-defense since he'll be starting high school.  Once again, I wearily had to point out that boxing is not a self-defense class.

Then the dad assumed his younger son was automatically signed up for boxing because his son is currently in summer camp.  "First of all, the class for that age group is full.  Also, each program here has to be signed up for separately," I informed the parent.  I'm always boggled by what people think they should be entitled to instead of recognizing that rules probably prohibit what they want to happen. 

I'm not expecting that guy's son to last long in the class.  What usually happens with the teens is when they notice there aren't others in the gym to interact with they get bored and drop out.  That on top of most of the teens in general not wanting to put the effort into doing the workout also ends their time quickly in the gym. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

A Sport That Needs To Have Clean Hands

Boxing has a reputation for being a dirty sport.  I believe that is one of the main reasons why the sport is no longer mentioned in the same breath as football, basketball, and baseball.  Many Hollywood movies have shown the underside of boxing - Requiem For A Heavyweight, The Set-Up, the Rocky series, etc.  They are not far off the mark when it comes to professional boxing.  But amateur boxing doesn't have clean hands, either. 

A few years ago, there was a scandal involving how the Chicago Golden Gloves was being run. Apparently, issues had been going on for a long time.  Situations have since been corrected but for a time, it appeared that the franchise was in danger of permanently being put on ice.  That would have delivered a hard blow to many amateur fighters, especially those who had their eyes on moving on to the Olympics and/or a professional boxing career. 

Often, I hear stories about sketchy moves that take place in amateur gyms here and elsewhere around the USA.  Someone told me that they took offense that several individuals claiming to be boxing coaches were allegedly hanging around in an amateur gym trying to recruit people to fight in what appeared to be an unsanctioned, underground show.  Underground shows, or smokers as they are sometimes referred to, are illegal.  Fighters who participate in such shows run the risk of being seriously hurt.  Several years ago, a female amateur boxer was paired with a professional female boxer during such a show.  I believe it took place in New York City.  The amateur boxing took a beating that left them with permanent brain damage. 

Sooner or later, coaches, fighters, officials, parents, and guardians, as well as others dealing cards from under the deck where boxing is concerned will get caught.  However, people tend to get away with stuff for long periods of time.  When the actions are finally exposed, major damage has already been done. It just gives more ammunition to those who constantly push for boxing to be banned altogether.  The sport also further gets pushed into the status of a niche sport, supported by a few devotees, but not receiving the resources, attention, endorsements, etc., of other sports that are seen as more "acceptable". 

I don't put up with much so I run a clean gym.  It's better, in the long run, to do that for the fighters as well as for my conscious.