Chuck Horton taught me that If something comes easy, you will never appreciate it. Nothing worth anything will come without fighting for it.
Let me tell you a story. My boxing story.
When I started boxing I wasn’t blessed with athleticism. I didn’t have the natural gifts of physical strength. I didn’t have all the right gear, or the cool equipment set up. Nope. I was a skinny little punk kid with a lot of issues and didn’t look like I would amount to much. I could go on talking about the things I didn’t have, but I won’t and that’s not why I am telling you my story. I’m going to tell you about what I did have, though. I had DRIVE. I had the WILL to want something more than the other guy across the ring. I wanted my dream to happen more than the others in my way. I had the drive to keep going when it seemed like the dream I wanted was not really the dream I was destined to have. I kept going after I got beat up. Nose Broke…got it fixed. Busted lip…swoosh salt water till it healed. Black eye…sucked it up and wear that souvenir. But never quit. I kept fighting to make my dream a reality. I kept on believing that boxing was my “Something Special” even when I got busted up. I kept on believing if I worked harder than the others in the ring my dream of being a champion would come true.
And you know what…. It did.
After years of hard work I made it happen! I headlined massive shows and won title belts that still hang on my wall today. I reached goals I felt far out of reach when I started. First up, I captured the Upper Mid-West Golden Gloves Championship when that seemed far out of reach. Then I turned pro. I worked even harder. It was my fresh start. I sacrificed many experiences for the experience I wanted more, VICTORY in the ring. Then it got hard. I took some tough losses. That didn’t stop me. I kept going. I kept pushing. I won the MN State Championship in a fight I was out gunned. I went on to face a former world champion and win the WBC-ABU Championship. And then I won the NABA-US Championship. I became the champion I had dreamed of being and it was not because I had the right stuff, or because I was born as a gifted athlete. NO. My dream became reality because I worked harder than many others that tried to do what I was doing. Chuck Horton my trainer and Duluth Boxing Promoter would pack Crowds of people in to watch me fight at home and I knew only a fraction of them. I still run into people I never met during my career that recall with me fights I had. It’s a blessing. The dream is still being lived today as I coach boxers and put together boxing shows. New dreams that came out of the first dream.
I tell you this story not to say “Ha, Look at me.” No. I tell you this story because I hope it will push you to keep going. YOU!!… [The Reader]. I am writing this for you. If you have kept reading till now I think you can relate a bit and I’ve got your attention. I bet you have a dream. And guess what. If you want to make that dream happen you can!
You don’t need to have the right stuff, or look a certain way to make it happen. What you need you can’t measure. You can’t hold it. You can’t see it. It’s something you have inside. It’s something that starts with believing in your dream and not quitting. It’s something that pushes you to go past your limits when you know you’ve reached them. You gotta dig deep and LEARN TO LIKE THE PAIN of hard work. When the round bell seems an eternity away you keep fighting. You keep attacking. When you’re feeling the pain of the fight bleed into your lungs so much you can taste your blood in your breath you keep going because you know your opponent is hurting too (even if he’s not showing it). You know that if you push just a little harder he will be the one to break. NOT YOU! That’s what will make you a champion. The little extra you give that the others don’t.
It’s like that in life too. Not just boxing. In any dream quest there will be trials of pressure where you ask yourself, “Is this really my dream?” When that question comes up the answer doesn’t rest in something you say. It’s in what you do. If that question makes you work even harder than your hardest then you are on the right track and you need to keep pushing. You beat that question to death BY WHAT YOU DO. Beat it dead so the answer is “Yes, this IS my Dream and I will MAKE it so!” That’s what you need. Not that other stuff.
Becoming a champion doesn’t happen because you were born to be one. It happens because you out work and out fight everyone in your way. Not just one day or in one fight, but in every day. Being a champion is a mind set. If you want to be the best then start by doing your best today! Go ahead and surprise yourself. Don’t fear reaching your limits. Find them and beat them down! When you go to bed know you put your ALL into what you did today and know that tomorrow you can, and will, do it again.
That’s what it took for me to reach my dreams in boxing.
That’s what I learned and I want to pass on to you.