As a youth, I used to weigh 205lbs. I had trouble losing the weight. I also had trouble in school, and my teachers labeled me as a problem child. I felt like instead of trying to help me, my teachers took me out of the regular population. I got kicked out of the FDA academy because I would get into fights.
Fortunately, I was sent to an alternative school where I did really well. One of the people I met at my new school was a celebrity hairstylist who became my mentor. He helped me prepare for an audition on American Idol. He supported my aspirations to become a singer and he encouraged me to lose the weight by joining an afterschool boxing program. The motto of the program is “no hooks before books.” Everyone had to complete their schoolwork before they would be allowed into the boxing ring. I not only lost the weight through boxing, I also learned that I had the talent to become a competitive boxer.
Boxing helped me in a lot of ways. First, boxing helped to deter my anger. It taught me discipline. People say that boxing is a brutal sport where two people just go at each other and try to knock each other’s heads off. But it’s not really like that. Boxing taught me to think before I act. It’s like a chess game. You need to control the game and make your opponent do what you want them to do. And you have to be ready to counteract their moves.
Boxing provided me with important life lessons. For example, each sparring match teaches me that they are repercussion for mistakes. Also, you can’t succeed at boxing if you react emotionally. You have to fight using skill and focus. You have to focus your energy on what needs to be done.
I gained a lot of skills from boxing. It helped me to control my anger, and it taught me the discipline needed to stay in my weight class. It also taught me to ignore negative influences.
The afterschool program’s gym became my extended family. My coaches helped me to grow into a mature young lady. They were protective of me and supported my mom, who was raising me as a single parent. I also became good friends with the kids in my program. Everyone in the program was striving to be a champion.
Boxing has taken me all around the world. I’ve been to Russia, Ecuador and Argentina. In November, I will be heading to China. If I wasn’t involved in my afterschool program, I’d probably be stuck somewhere hanging out in the streets wasting my talents. I learned from the gym that you get back what you put into it. If you slack off, you don’t win. Boxing helped me mature.
After I graduated from the afterschool boxing program I still trained in the gym to compete for major tournaments. I also train in the recording studio to pursue my singing career. And, I do motivational speaking to adults and students to spread positive messages and to share my life experiences. I’ve always been ambitious but my afterschool program helped show me that my possibilities are endless.