Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My Thinning Patience

It would be nice if there was communication about when the fiscal year begins and ends at the Chicago Park District.  One of the speed bag platforms is broken.  Luckily, Sahia and I removed it before it would have fallen on someone.  I told Steve, the supervisor, that I need it replaced.  "I can't do anything because the budget is over," I was told.  I have to go to Thomas, the boxing program coordinator, to see if he has another heavy bag/speed bag stand like the one in the photo above stored away someone.  I still need mouthpieces, as well, because the program is supposed to provide them to youths for free.  Haven't seen any of those in a couple of years. 

This latest incident comes right behind Pedro pulling his son Juan out of the teen boxing class.  Pedro had been complaining throughout the summer session about the lack of and quality of the boxing equipment.  Juan had been splitting his time between a private boxing gym and LaFollette Park's boxing gym.  In Pedro's opinion, bringing his son to LaFollette was a let-down.  Sahia and I explained that a public gym doesn't have the money of a private gym.  Pedro acted like he understood, but now we know that wasn't the case.  Juan is now at a private gym. 

A few participants in the past were training at both LaFollette and private gyms.  Now I'm wondering if others are no longer there because they too were not satisfied with the boxing equipment.  The gym and the washrooms downstairs are seldom cleaned on a regular basis, so I have to factor that participants probably notice that, too.  Steve is always bringing up that attendance numbers are down in the program.  I tried to point out that the look of the gym is one of the reasons why.  I guess I have to at least give Pedro credit for voicing his opinion. 

In addition to Juan leaving the class before the fall session began, another teen, Bryant, has chosen to do the same.  During a courtesy call, I made when Bryant didn't show up the first day of class, his mom revealed that her son wanted to "take a break".  A break from a class that was never attended?  How does that work?  The real reason is that Bryant is also signed up in basketball, and like most youths at the field house, the team sports are favored over individual sports like boxing.  I told his mom that Bryant was being withdrawn from the class and could sign up for the winter session.  Yet I know that registration will never happen. 

My patience with people is becoming shorter by the day.  David and his parents have a habit of waiting until the class begins to register.  I no longer will leave in the middle of a class to take 20 minutes to sign people up.  It doesn't matter that I have a volunteer who can watch the room while I'm upstairs.  People need to pay attention to start dates.  David has been in the boxing program on-and-off for three years, and his parents should know the drill by this time.  I told them to show up a half-hour early before the class, but instead, David shows up with two of his cousins and a couple of his aunts five minutes before the first class was to start.  The aunts complained to Steve that I was being rude because I did not want to delay the start of that class to accommodate them.

Of course, Steve backed them up using the tired, "The customer is always right", routine.  I had to sign them up, but I let the aunts know that they were lucky that no one did show up for the first class of the day.  David still would have had to wait to register.  On top of that, David's dad still does not want his son to fight.  David is also still in swimming, this time for five days of the week.  Only a half-hour of the class is boxing done before David runs off in the middle of it to go down to the pool.  There was also no awareness that the class is now Monday thru Friday instead of Tuesday thru Saturday.  I had explained that to David's mom several times.  "I'm sick of this place today," I thought to myself.

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