Monday, September 16, 2019

A Boxing Program That Lacks Much

My supervisor recently told me that he won't buy extra equipment for the boxing gym.  Low attendance numbers are the reason.  There are many reasons for that.

1) The neighborhood.  I grew up in Austin.  Haven't lived over there since 1977, but trust me, not much has changed.  Not many want to hang around LaFollette Park after certain times of the day.  Please, most of the staff members don't want to be up there after dark.

2) Lack of awareness of the program.  The Chicago Park District heavily promotes the football, basketball, baseball and swimming programs.  Boxing doesn't get mentioned much.  Even floor hockey gets more press.  There are many people who are not aware that there is a boxing program within the park district.  There's only so much promotion I can do based on the limited resources and time I have.

3)  Lack of interest in the program.  The team sports provide a social aspect, particularly where the youths are concerned, that boxing as an individual sport does not.  Boxing has fallen out of favor over the years in general.  Most under 40 years of age find the sport too slow.  They prefer to watch MMA.  There are plenty of professional wrestling fans under the age of twenty, and boxing doesn't often enough flash for them.

4)  Equipment issues.  Juan's father, Pedro, was constantly grumbling about the lack of equipment at LaFollette Park's boxing gym.  Some of the people who have come through the gym were splitting their time between a private gym and LaFollette.  Private gyms are charging money to everybody and charging more frequently than the park district.  They can afford to upgrade when necessary.  Pedro voiced his opinion, but I'm sure others have thought the same way and changed their minds about registering for the program when they saw what wasn't available.

5)  Time issues.  The park district gyms are only open on average three to four hours a day.  Most of the gyms are open five days a week, but some are only open for two or three days.  People complain, and mostly the grumbling is coming from those who have trained in private gyms where the hours are longer.  People who are looking to be professional boxers complain about the time schedules, too.  But the boxing program is mainly an after-school program and that's it.

6)  Lack of support for the program within and without.  Other boxing coaches have complained about supervisors not caring about their programs.  It is known that some supervisors like some programs in their field house better than others.  I know from dealing with some of the youths' parents there is often little to zero interest in helping me make the program successful for the youths involved. 

Some parts of these issues can be fixed, but a lot of it can't and won't.  Until everything can be solved in a satisfactory manner, the attendance numbers are going to continue to sink. 

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