Boxing Club Helps Out Area Kids
YAKIMA, Wash - It's not your usual boxing club. In the downstairs of an old red-brick restaurant building in Yakima stirs the resurgence of a sport. Back in the 1970's, the Yakima Eagles Boxing Club was in its prime. But with the lull of boxing popularity in the 90's, the Eagles went quiet. Now, coaches like Benny Cooley and John Drakes are trying to bring boxing back into the mainstream sports world of Yakima and help give kids opportunities they may never have had before.
"I boxed here in the 70's and it carried me through life," says Cooley, who is the assistant head coach at the club. "It gives kids another avenue besides sitting in front of a video screen, a t.v. Screen or a computer. We also take trips to other parts of the state and some kids can't afford to do that and this gives them the opportunity to get away and be part of something."
Randell Corpuz trains at the club every week. Corpuz lives on the Yakima reservation and trained with his father and other men on the reservation, until he heard about the Eagles. "On the reservation there's no funding for a boxing club. I found out about this place and it's like a dream come true."
For Corpuz, the dream was more like a nightmare. Corpuz found boxing to be an outlet for him, a way to find discipline, support, and a way to overcome his own alcohol and drug addictions. "There's support, there's funding, they're dedicated to the club and to the boys here, and you get that just anywhere."
John Drakes says some of the kids they have boxing there have been in trouble multiple times and now go to alternative schools. Drakes says now he and the coaches get calls from parents thanking them for what they're doing for their children. The boys' grades are up and they're more disciplined and respectful.
So while Drakes and Cooley work to give kids a way to avoid trouble and find a new, positive outlet for built up aggression, they're also working to bring back a slumping sport. "Nationwide there's an upswing in boxing, but the money is in the other sports like baseball, basketball and football. I mean, who wants to get punched in the face for a living?"