How A Connecticut YMCA Is Crafting Future Champions

Posted on 03/16/2022

By: Sean Crose

“We have now a child within the boxing room proper now,” Paul Norris tells me. “He’s 225 kilos. He pushed my tooth within the different day.” We’re standing in the course of the basketball courtroom of the Naugatuck, Connecticut YMCA, surrounded by kids being educated by consultants. The youngsters aren’t at basketball observe; nevertheless, they’re engaged on their boxing abilities. The hoops might be current at every finish of the courtroom, however the younger individuals right here – each girls and boys – are centered on gloves, heavy baggage and pad work. And, within the midst of all of it stands Norris, his spouse Angelica, and his father-in-law, Perry, providing help – in addition to the methods of the commerce.

The Norris clan is the proper household to run the Naugatuck
YMCA’s boxing program. Paul, Angelica, and Perry all have sturdy boxing
backgrounds. Certainly, every appears to be like to nonetheless be near combating form. Maybe
that’s why the fitness center was full of future boxers when the 2022 program opened this
previous winter.

Mark LaFortune, the Chief Government Officer of the Naugatuck
YMCA, is open in his gratitude “to have a boxing program and instructors like
we do.” And in case you’re questioning, this system will not be a paying gig for the
Norris’. “I volunteer and I like it,” says Paul. Angelica is of the identical thoughts. “I
like it,” she says. “I keep on my legacy…my oldest son helps us out and now my
baby is doing it.” The household is aware of one thing individuals of comparable backgrounds
can attest to – that boxing is a sport that continues to be with the participant lengthy
after the final ring battle. That is evidenced by Perry.  “Since I used to be 13 years previous,” the sixty-something
responded after I requested how lengthy he’s been concerned with the combat recreation.

The Naugatuck YMCA’s boxing program isn’t only a method for teenagers to go the time, nevertheless. Those that do properly and are sufficiently old are despatched to close by Bridgeport the place they’re ready for extra rigorous competitors. “We transfer ‘em on,” says Paul. What makes the Norris household’s program distinctive is that it flies within the face of the adage that boxing is a sport of earlier period. It is a native boxing program that isn’t solely alive, however that gives retailers for much less standard coaching. The Norris’ work with kids on the spectrum and properly as individuals with Alzheimer’s.  “I used to be simply requested to do the Parkinson’s (boxing) program,” says Paul.

Not solely does the Norris household discover boxing good competitors
for the younger, they know it may be helpful out of the fitness center, as properly, each psychologically
and bodily. “Our motto,” says Paul, “is don’t begin a combat, however all the time
know easy methods to end one.”

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