On Easter Sunday, the city of Newburgh, recreation department, along with Leonard Lee and his team “Newburgh Hook Elite”. With the participation of gyms, from far away as Pennsylvania took on visiting Irish fighters, out of the “Ernie Boxing Gym”. It was an event, to help raise awareness for an ongoing “Gloves up Guns Down” campaign and its efforts towards ending senseless street violence among our youth.
The event itself, consisted of eleven bouts and while the city recreation center, might not have been filled to capacity, it didn’t deter the fighters from performing at their best. Each fighter who stepped into the ring, gave a championship effort. Those who won, accepted their belts with pride and those who didn’t accepted the judges decisions with dignity. While the overall goal, to have a successful event was accomplished, the time Newburgh Hook Elite and Ernie Boxing Gym, spent together prior, is where the real success happened.
The teams would workout together, go to restaurants and even fishing. That time, allowed the fighters to forge respect for one another, as was evident during the event. When the fighters were introduced and winner announced, regardless of who or what gym they fought out of. The kids applauded with equal enthusiasm, something many adult’s in the crowd failed to do.
The event provided these kids with an education, not the kind read in books, but life experience. With the increased negativity, spread across the news, especially social media, the education helped some of these kids understand, no matter where you come from, we are all not that much different. A lesson learned like that, can carry over into adulthood. On the way there, help these kids make informed decisions, when it comes to how they conduct themselves and attitude towards others.
In an era where our youth, are lacking an abundance of adult role models, we see an increased lack of self respect and ability to respect others. If the adults of our society, continue to fail our youth, events like these are becoming pivotal for our communities. We tend to sell our youth short, by providing them an outlet to succeed, more often than not, they will rise to the occasion, not only for themselves but others.
A history of champions and legends, have been created on such opportunities. In creating these opportunities, we lay a foundation for success. We provide continuous goals, once set, they will take it upon themselves, to strive towards succeeding. The efforts of Leonard Lee, Hook Elite boxing, Ernie boxing and other gyms that participated Sunday, helped lay at least some of that foundation. Hopefully more people in our communities, take notice and follow suit in one form or another.
It’s too soon for us to know, exactly how long the young men and ladies from Sunday, will carry their new found lessons with them. At minimum, they walked away feeling a little bit better about themselves, even if for a short time.The memory of stepping up, performing like a champion and what it felt like will last forever.