I’m blessed to be a part of a small, family-owned boxing gym where the owners are the trainers and they treat their members like family. And because it’s relatively small, many of the members have come to know each other fairly well. We know each others’ jobs, family life, vacations, medical conditions, etc. In some instances, we likely know more about each other than some of you know about your co-workers. And yet, oddly, not too many of us know each others’ last names. Go figure.
I love this gym, the owners, and the members. I’ve stayed for over an hour after workouts to chat about anything and everything with the owners. I’ve dined with my fellow kickboxers after workouts at the killer Thai resturant across the street. On weekends, we go get fresh squeezed juice after our workout, the hipsters that we are. We all listen to daily work week drama as we warm up before class each night, and laugh or console; we all roll our eyes and laugh at the fact that I currently cannot seem to get a job that high schoolers are doing, despite the fact that I have a Master’s degree in the field. I follow some of these people on Facebook as they train to fight, and I LOVE the see them win. I see their kids on FB, and they see mine. They regularly ask about how my children are doing, and I so the same. Some of the older members share pictures of their grandchildren, and we regularly ask to see more. We laugh, and show concern for daily life trails and tribulations. We share our weekend plans and vacation plans. We talk about our medical issues – like if I ever drop to my knees because of whatever weird issue is happening with my heart, I know between the ER nurse and the 2 paramedics in class, I’ll be taken care of and they’ll know what to report. They understand when I simply stop, close my eyes, and breathe deeply.
We’re a motley crew of everything from 16-64 year olds. The sports the high schoolers play? Of course we know. Would you question the pregnant mom testing for a new belt 3 weeks before giving birth? We didn’t. She’s so damned strong and fierce. Besides, we got to see the beautiful new boy 2 weeks after birth. We cheer when one of fighters win 1st place as Wonder Woman at a Cosplay Challenge. We laugh. We challenge each other, tease each other, and have inside jokes. Simply put, we make each other better people.
We are more than just teachers, chemists, nurses, high school students, Law students, engineers who are Deep Space Communication PhD. candidates, store managers, police officers, moms, dads, granddads, husbands, wives, etc. We are united in a spirit of betterment, of fighting, of discipline, of strength, of self-protection. We have become a family of friends who attempt to beat the shit out of each other each night.
And we wouldn’t trade any of it.