Boxing, Sports & Exercise
In honor of the legacy of our founder, boxing, sports, and exercise remain a key component of EOBA’s programming and the work we do with youth. As a sport, boxing is often reduced to needless violence and braggadocio. However, like many sports, it takes dedication and passion to fine tune the mind and body to work in sync, to become as graceful as a dancer in the ring, to see an opponent as a partner in growth and creativity. Boxing draws in many young people to EOBA because they have bought into the larger narrative that boxing provides an approved outlet for fighting. What they learn as they stay is that in order to be successful in the sport of boxing, they have to learn more than how to land a punch. The skill required to spar challenges many of our youth to dig deeper than they ever have before, to push themselves to the limits of not only their physical selves, but their intellectual and spiritual selves as well. Learning techniques, making mistakes, completing drills, and eventually preparing to compete are all features of boxing shared by the world’s greatest sports. By offering a boxing program, we work to counter the narrative, both that our youth and our community hold, that it is a sport dominated by reckless violence and arrogance. For us, boxing is the gateway to a world of rich and impactful programming.
For our younger participants who aren’t old enough for the boxing program, as well as for youth who are not interested in boxing, we offer a variety of other sports and exercise programs. The entire community participates in exercise time each day, which focuses on building students’ strength and aerobic capacity. Students are also able to learn the essentials of basketball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, football, and golf through rotating clubs and field trips to local partners.
As a core aspect of our programming, boxing, sports, and exercise impact many of our efforts to support youth in becoming champions for wellness. First, physical activity supports the development of a healthy body, without which it is challenging to engage in deeper evolution. Second, all of our physical activity is conducted in social settings, which encourages youth to take risks and support others in a safe space. This modeling of vulnerability is designed to extend beyond the field, court, or ring and embed into other aspects of students’ lived experiences. Finally, our model of physical activity shows students that being healthy can be fun, which is a critical lesson for them to carry into their homes, communities, and futures.
Correlation to Wellness
Boxing and Sports programs encourage physical wellness as well as social, emotional, and intellectual wellness. Team sports support social wellness by helping youth learn conflict resolution, sportsmanship, and camaraderie. Team sports provide students opportunities to build new relationships with others in the shared efforts involved in competitive sports. Self-regulation and awareness are often stifled by intense stress so through exercise and sports we provide ways to relieve stress, which opens a path for our students to experience greater emotional wellness. Finally, participation in sports and exercise, especially for those unfamiliar to students, requires that students make mistakes and learn from their errors. This process encourages critical thinking and questioning, which are key components of intellectual wellness.