Back to the Grind
I know it’s been a while since my last post, but a lot has been going on lately. The recent death of my brother took a huge toll on me, resulting in an interruption of production, lack of training, and 18 lbs gained. I went through a lot of grieving but through self motivation and discipline I got back in the gym and started training again. Even though I have been working extremely hard to lose these extra pounds and get back on my feet, I couldn’t understand why my performance was weak. Why my stamina was burning out so fast and fatigue became an everyday feeling. What were these new obstacles I faced?
Most people don’t understand that boxing is 85 percent a mental game. And if not trained properly, a boxer won’t be able to strive physically if they lack confidence. Kids especially, need positive reinforcement in order to boost one’s self-esteem. Yes, constructive criticism is productive however there is a limit to it. Let’s not confuse constructive criticism with ignorant name calling and constant poking fun. Growing up I learned to be passive and obedient towards my elders, and never had the confidence to stand up for myself in and outside of the ring. But now I have reached a point where I’m tired, I’m tired of the drama, the negativity, and being a pushover. I’ve learned to stand up for what I believe in and have cut the damaging and harmful relationships out of my life.
Boxing is an individual sport, however like any other sport your coaches, fellow athletes and trainers become an alternative family, community and support system. There is an unspoken bond created through the dedication to the sport, we sweat and train in the same facility while striving for the same goals. I have made many friends through boxing and specifically have developed relationships with younger kids that look up to me. It is an honor to be a role-model, and at my age I have gained enough wisdom to help these kids with any problems that arise. Whether in the gym, or on the streets I am here for them as a safe outlet. The coaches and kids may not realize the mental damage that is happening, but I personally know the long term effects.I believe, 100 percent that words can hurt more than anything physically, and without the support or positive reinforcement there is nothing beneficial from these detrimental training sessions.
I have spent the last few days at a new facility, and immediately my team and I can see a complete 180 in my performance. By getting out of an unhealthy training environment I have been able to progress physically and mentally, pushing past my mental blocks that I have been dealing with for the last month. There’s a million reasons why a trainer doesn’t fit but I think I have finally found my kin where I can reach my full potential.
This journey is not only about returning to the ring but figuring out what it takes to get there. In retrospect it wasn’t the training that lead me to lose the Golden Gloves fight 22 years ago it was the lack of support from my family that shot down my confidence. Realizing this now I understand how big of an impact the actions of a role model can have on an adolescent. Even without the support of role models as a child I know I was lucky to have had the opportunity and experience to train later down the line with Eddie who became my best friend, and brother. He was what every coach or trainer should be, my sole support system. He was there for me every step of the way through my career and we had a great relationship. I truly hope these kids can find a healthy support system to help them succeed in their boxing careers and ultimately the rest of their lives.
To those kids out there, I just want to let you know I’m still here for you and don’t be afraid to reach out to me.