I love boxing. Every virtue I seek in myself  and my leaders is present in the sport. Courage, discipline, strategy, endurance, faith, trust, empathy…and the list goes on, can all be measured in boxing.  It is often said that the ring is the greatest lie detector ever made – I believe that is true.  I have gained more insight into human character from working with fighters than in any single endeavor in my life.

My own boxing career is an unconventional one. I was first exposed to the sport at the Boys’ Club where I grew up but my parents directed us towards the more traditional sports like football, baseball, wrestling and basketball. I played baseball in college (starting catcher) but came back to boxing much later in life at the tail end of my days as a competitive athlete. Since I was old by boxing standards, no trainers were interested in me so I learned the hard way…in the “school of hard knocks” as they say.  I became good and trained in some of the best gyms in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago. After a time I developed a nice reputation for myself as a decent sparring partner and trainers soon began asking me to come to their camps and help prepare their fighters for upcoming bouts. This really satisfied my own competitive needs and I really enjoyed that time in my life. Soon I became a regular at gyms around town and my reputation grew along with my knowledge. After a time, fighters began coming to me asking that I train them and I eventually evolved into a coach/trainer. I still go into the ring from time-to-time but my skills have faded somewhat and I just don’t enjoy the pain like I used to. I still love the feeling but I guess age catches up with us all. As I said before I wish I had returned to boxing earlier. I missed my chance to compete in any significant way…but found my calling as a coach!

In the corner seconds before out last fight together.

In the corner seconds before out last fight together.

I believe in the hero’s journey. I believe in redemption and comebacks. I believe in greatness and the sacrifice that always precedes it.  When I was younger I wanted to be “the star” but later discovered that my calling in life is not to shine for myself but to shine through others.  My self worth derives from helping others discover their own paths to greatness.  It is what I was born to do and how I can contribute.  It is no coincidence I was in the search business or why  I am a boxing trainer.  Can there be a higher calling?  I thank God for making this my path.

One of my warriors!

As a coach I get my greatest pleasure and satisfaction from helping my athletes find, in themselves, the virtues they admire most in others.  I have infinite patience with anyone who tries and some of my best coaching experiences have been with the lesser talented athletes.

It is fair to say that I invest my whole heart and soul into my competitive fighters and sometimes the bond I share with them is as strong as any I have known in my entire life.  For me to be effective they must put their full faith in me and believe that I will teach and prepare them properly. The responsibility of sending a kid into the ring or preparing a fighter for a career changing fight can be overwhelming. When our time together is done and they must move on to the next stage in their lives it always hurts my heart.

The truth is that I wasn’t fortunate enough to have children of my own and many times I feel the type of love for my fighters that I suspect parents may have for their own children.  I worry about them long after they are gone from the gym and I have hopes and dreams for them after they leave my mentorship. I hope that I have done my part in preparing them for their future and I hope they remember me.  I love these kids…what can I say.Little Champions

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