This is probably one of the most exciting things I have had the honor of doing recently. A few weeks ago a young girl came to the gym and told Bonnie that she wanted to compete. She is nine years old. Her father brought her every time the boxing team met and she worked her heart out. And on our regular sparring night she had her new gloves (purchased specially in a small size to fit her hands) and was ready to get in the ring.
She listened intently to our coach calling her punches and she threw each one with ferocity and determination. Her eyes never left me. Jab, right, step to the right. Jab, jab. I kept my hands still and let her see what it felt like to punch. I crouched down so she could aim for my face.
It was an incredible experience, watching her throw those jabs. I had to bite my mouthguard to keep from grinning. All of us felt it, I think; the excitement of watching a brand new, very young boxer launch her dream.
It’s a long road from here to the 2016 Olympics, but at least one small heart has marked the path.