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Boxing is everything. I grew up in a household that admired the greats like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and don’t even get me started on how many George Foreman grills we owned! My dad purchased every film from the Rocky franchise. He even played Rocky theme music, specifically Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, on the way to our bowling outings as a family. Experiences such as those stuck out as core memories for me and I wanted to be able to provide the kids attending my local boxing gym, Dyme Boxing & Fitness, with a similar experience that they would remember for years to come.
If you think about it, you can develop family like relationships from all over the place as you go about your days. Whether it’s your college family, work family, or gym family, you have the ability to choose. My boxing gym, owned by James Pressley, has a youth program called Dyme Jr., and sometimes when I arrive for my personal training sessions, I see those kids working out during their classes and they mean business. On several occasions, I mentioned to Coach James that some of those girls could knock me out . . . with a quickness. TKO. Seriously. They absolutely shadowbox better than me!
Those kids train so hard with their passion for boxing shining through in each class and it just felt right to offer to give them an opportunity to see the film Creed III, during opening weekend, for FREE. After one of my training sessions at the beginning of February, I mentioned to Coach James that I would be willing to rent out a movie theater for the Dyme Jr. kids to see the film at no cost. He appreciated the offer and said that he would work to get out permission slips to the Dyme Jr. families. I knew of a local independent theater, Ayrsley Grand Cinema, that could accommodate the request and began communicating with its general manager, Josh, to find the best date and time.
We settled on March 4th at 9a! Although the theater’s first showtime that day began at 12p, Josh was kind enough to arrive at 8a and open the theater up to our group, so that we could have the theater to ourselves. Each patron, kids and adults, was able to get a snack pack that included popcorn, candy, and a drink. FREE of charge. Well, to them. Haha!
It was truly a great time. Some kids got dropped off, others arrived with their parents/guardians, and both coaches and gym members served as chaperones. Before the movie started, kids picked their seats and were smiling, joking, laughing, and even burping. Ew! I don’t know who had more fun, the coaches or the kids! This seems to be the first time this gym had a field trip to the movies to see a boxing film, but I think it was well received and allowed them to build camaraderie.
What I didn’t realize, and was informed by the coaches after the movie, is that this was a unique opportunity for the kids to be able to bond. They shared that during their training sessions, the kids are there to focus and work on getting better at boxing, so it was great to see them mingling and making friends.
I love it when a plan comes together! For a month, when I had so much going on in my personal life, I was still able to plan and make this happen for the kids in my hometown of Charlotte, NC. I didn’t count attendance on the day of the movie, but know that we planned for about 75 people. To see this diverse group of kids, made up of different races and genders, come together in this way is actually incredible.
A coach let me know following the movie, “I appreciate you for putting all that together. I’m sure [the kids] had a good time [because] I had a ball. Haha. Thank you again.” Another gym member shared with me that the kids loved it and are going to talk about it for weeks!
I received these messages on Instagram from parents whose children attend Dyme Jr. and they warmed my heart!
I probably don’t realize the magnitude of what I did, but I just know that it felt like the kind thing to do for kids in my city. I didn’t really grab video content, because I wanted to be present and stay in the moment as much as I could. Plus, I was busy coordinating with the movie theater’s general manager to make sure things were good. I’m just grateful that I was able to fund this experience for them.
I did tell my boxing coach that the next boxing movie is on him! Haha. Everybody gets one!
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