Friday, October 25, 2019

Humbuggin' At Hamlin

Caiden, Keon, and Keith, along with their dad and Keon and Keith's little brother came up to Hamlin Park for the boxing show there.  Keith decided he didn't want to fight.  "I'd rather practice some more," he said.  Caiden suited up before the matches were made.  He didn't get one.  "I'll keep my stuff on just in case someone shows up later," Caiden said.  "There is no later.  The matches have all been made," I informed him.

Three of the fights were stopped due to injuries.  At the end of another fight, a boxer's shirt was covered with blood.  I was surprised because the fighters who lost those matches were Hamlin fighters.  "That usually doesn't happen," I told Keon and Keith's dad, explaining that Hamlin boxers are usually the victors. 

Keon was matched up, and his fight was the 12th and last one of the evening.  The other fighter was from Ogden Park where Kenny is the coach.  Keon threw some sloppy punches, that is, when Keon was not turning his head and back away from the other guy.  "Stop turning her head.  STOP IT!" I yelled from the corner.  In between rounds, his father, who helped in the corner, kept telling Keon to keep his hands up.  Keon's unwillingness to answer punches led to Shifty the referee having to give him an eight-count twice. 

Before the last round began, I told Keon, "Keep on not looking at the other guy and the referee will stop this match."  Shifty let the round come to a conclusion, but Keon never changed his routine.  No, Keon didn't win.  "We need to work on a lot," I told Keon afterward.

There were celebrities on-hand to give out trophies after a few of the fights.  One of them was Jon Seda who appears on the TV series "Chicago P.D.".  Seda was a runner up in the New Jersey Golden Gloves years ago. 

After the show, I saw Rick Wilson, who I hadn't seen in a long time.  It was so good to see him.  I also met Victor Matteo, a friend of his who boxed a lot back in the day. 

Hamlin Park's show was the last one I'm going to this year.  Earlier, I told Kenny and Alan that I hadn't been to a south side boxing show in four years.  "The west siders don't want to go out south," I explained.  "I go to all the shows," Kenny said.  But Kenny always has youths who want to fight.  I'm lucky to have anyone who wants to come to class, let alone step into the ring. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

No Strike, But Plenty of Misses

The Chicago Park District just barely avoided dealing with a strike.  Unfortunately, the Chicago Public Schools did not; their strike has been going on since last week.  Usually, the park district gets an overflow of youths needing activities to occupy their time while school is not in session.  However, the field house has been quiet and attendance in my boxing program has not gone up.

There was another sign-up yesterday, but I'm not sure what to make of that.  Amy is a 16-year-old who signed up for exercise purposes.  She's in a program at her school where she'll receive a good grade if she can show that she completed 50 hours of a fitness program.  This is the seventh week of the fall session.  Amy doesn't realize that she is not going to get all of her hours done before the session ends at the end of November.  I'm not keeping the gym open during the long break before the winter session begins in January.

Caiden still can't shut up when needed, and Keon and Keith keep allowing themselves to be distracted by their cousin.  I'm also tired of Caiden pestering Ivan to spar with him, something Ivan is not interested in doing.  Hamlin Park's boxing show is this week.  "Those kids at Hamlin will be ready for you all.  Y'all have to be ready for them," I told the boys.  Keon made a statement that hinted that doing a boxing match may not be something he can do.  Keith hasn't really shown much enthusiasm about the boxing show.  Caiden keeps thinking that street fighting skills are going to transfer into the ring.  I have a feeling that Caiden is going to lose another match.

I've given up on Ivan.  Now he's telling me that his swimming class only meets once a week.  Ivan has to leave in the middle of the boxing class to go to the pool.  But that does not explain Ivan's other absences from class.  Two of the staff members gave me funny looks when I got on Ivan about his attendance, but please - I'm not studying that, as my paternal grandmother used to say.  For any of the park district programs to work, people need to attend them on a regular basis.  Besides, Ivan doesn't have much interest in the sport. 

David and Vanessa keep strolling into class late.  It doesn't matter so much with Vanessa, as she has said she doesn't want to fight.  She also misses one day out of each week due to a swimming class, and she's absent often due to school activities.  It still ticks me off that her people pushed for her to be registered in the class knowing that she couldn't fully participate.  David, on the other hand, never does a full class because of leaving early every day to do competitive swimming.  Here lately, David keeps asking about sparring and appearing in boxing shows. I remember that David's dad doesn't want his son to fight.  David keeps forgetting that.  I informed David that fighting is something he'll never get to do as long as he's doing twenty minutes of my program and running off to the pool.  If his dad changes his mind, he'll have to personally let me know. 

The teen class is now full - at least on paper - with the addition of Amy.  The younger kids' class has seven kids, but only four of them show up.  Five people are signed up for the adult class, and Alex was the only one showing up.  But Alex has not been there for over a week.  I don't believe that Alex will be there anymore.

Sahia has been MIA, as well.  I don't have a cell phone plan with unlimited minutes, so I make very few calls.  An email was sent to her some time ago, but I've heard no news. I can only hope that all is well.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Silence Is Golden But Not Always Present

Caiden's twin cousins, Keon and Keith, are now part of the class.  The twins appear to be even-tempered and thoughtful, but Caiden's constant talking grates on my nerves.  Verbal retorts have been given to most everything I've been saying lately.  I understand that most kids these days are not been raised as strictly as many of mine and previous generations were.  Unfortunately, these days, behaviors that are allowed at home are being done in public and most times, not checked.  However, I continue to operate on the old-school ways regarding respect kids are supposed to have towards adults, and I'm not backing down from that.

I had to tell Caiden in several ways yesterday to shut up.  Keon and Keith have to be shown what to do, and their cousin kept interrupting and interfering.  I was reminded of an incident where I was defending my late younger sister against the wrath of our late father.  Dad got in my face and told me to never get in his way when he was dealing with another kid. 

Ivan was a no-show again, as well as Kayla and a few other kids registered for the youth boxing class.  Damion, a kid whom I signed up yesterday, didn't appear.  "Where are all the other kids?" a question Caiden keeps asking me.  "I didn't carry any of them for nine months, so how should I know?" I shot back when he asked me yesterday. 

Caiden kept bouncing off of the ropes while shadowboxing in the ring.  "Stop doing that.  This is not professional wrestling, which is fake, by the way," I ordered.  Caiden has a bad habit of challenging everything people tell him.  His teacher at school must have a hard time dealing with him every day.  After telling me he thought that was okay to do, Caiden insisted that the WWE was real.  I cut off the debate before it went too far.  "There are books and documentaries that tell the truth about professional wrestling.  Look it up on the Internet if you don't believe me," I said.  I have to keep reminding myself that grown folks don't argue with kids. 

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Pizza and Punches At Loyola Park

Caiden, his little brother, his mom, and his aunt beat me down to Loyola Park's boxing show today.  There was a good turnout, especially among the fighters.  I arrived just as pizza from JB Alberto's was delivered for the coaches and officials.

Mary, who is now retired from her position as supervisor of that park, came out to see the show.  It was very good to see both her and Carolyn, an attendant at the park.  "I miss seeing you," Carolyn told me.  I realized that I miss going there on a regular basis.  I also saw Manny, who tried to get a fight but couldn't find a matchup.  Sebastian, Kevin, and Shelia were in attendance, too. 

Ten fights were presented.  Caiden's fight was the sixth of the evening.  The boy he fought was from Humboldt Park.  They were close in weight and it was the first fight for both.  Caiden was doing okay.  I kept yelling for Caiden to keep his eyes on the other person, to stop pawing, and to throw straight punches and strong hooks.  Caiden fell once, but Shifty the referee pronounced the fall to be a slip.  The other boy won because Caiden was gassed out.  We'll have to work on that back at LaFollette Park.

I'm waiting for Ivan, who backed out of going to Loyola Park, to say anything out-of-turn the next time I see him.  At least Caiden made the effort.