I hate boxing.  Why would anyone want to watch two grown men beating each other up?  Well, that’s what I used to think.  And then I met Chuck Horton.

A few years back we had the pleasure of working with the Horton family on some various projects. But the one that taught me the most was boxing.  Our son was finding himself wandering down a less than desirable path.  Chuck told us to send him to the gym.  We delivered him and gave our blessing to do whatever needed to be done to “set him straight.” We had no idea the life lessons they would teach our whole family.

Gary Eyer is a man that teaches lessons both inside and outside of the gym.

Gary Eyer is a man that teaches lessons both inside and outside of the gym.

One of the younger boxers, Gary Eyer, would pick our son up and drive him to the gym.  Probably not a big deal normally, but there were lessons that started in the truck and carried on into the gym.  The boxers took him under their collective wing, shared their hard-luck stories, and told him how they scrapped and fought to beat their personal demons.  It was kind of like a long-term scared straight program; we loved it.

We got to know The Boys, as my husband and I referred to them.  We ate together, talked, and did some local projects with them.  They even helped us rescue a very heavy antique piano.  They were all such nice boys.  I couldn’t imagine any of them fighting.  And then Chuck gave us tickets to an event.  What an eye opener.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what we saw was magnificent.  

I became hooked.  I loved the matches and found myself completely enthralled as I watched—sometimes through a mask of my own hands covering my eyes.  We cheered with them, felt bad for their losses, and even shed a few tears as we watched a career end.  Gary (a quiet, bespectacled kid with a slight build) once punched a guy so hard in the stomach that the guy dropped to his knees and threw up.  We definitely have some great memories.

Al Sands and Zach Walters are two of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet.  Watching their careers rise, seeing them mature, and attending their matches are things I’ll never forget.  I saw how hard they trained.  I know what they’ve gone through.  I have so much respect for them and the rest of The Boys.  And although Zach is now coaching instead of boxing, it just seems right, a circle-of-life kind of thing.  So when someone asks me how I can stand to watch two grown men beating each other up, I proudly stand tall and reply, “Because boxing is hard work and dedication in motion.  And boxing is art.”   

Roxanne Wilmes is a thirty year survivor of the restaurant and hospitality industry.  Writer, baker, story maker…right brain in the left lane.  She blogs at www.freshairlodging.wordpress.com