Boxing is about hope.
It was hope that allowed Manny Pacquiao who started his professional career at 106 pounds to beat the odds and soundly defeat Oscar Delahoya — who had fought as high as 160 pounds.
On Wednesday the Red Deer Boxing Club received a lions share of hope by winning $25,000 in the TSN Kraft Celebration Tour. The club was one of 20 communities in Canada that made it to the finals, but Red Deer was matched against Edmonton, a city 10 times the size of our community.
The people of Red Deer, however, in a tremendous display of community support rallied around the club and, in a David versus Goliath scenario, outvoted Edmonton to claim the $25,000 community refresh.
The boxing club, its coaches and athletes are humbled by this amazing outpouring of support, and would like to thank those who took the time to vote; those who voted once, to those who voted hundreds of times. It all made a difference. In particular the club would like to thank the Piper Creek Optimists who nominated the group in the first place and then proceeded to lead the rallying cry.
The club would also like to thank the Capri Centre who donated a suite to act as a voting centre, and of course TSN and Kraft for the opportunity.
Red Deer Boxing Club coach Steve Boission deserves a huge pat on back as he and the Optimists led the charge and worked tirelessly to promote the event.
In my mind there is nobody who deserves this recognition more than Red Deer Boxing Club coach and former Red Deer Sportsman of the Year, Rob Carswell, who has run the club on a shoestring budget for more than 20 seasons.
For kids, who have nowhere else to turn, the Red Deer Boxing Club has become a second home. The club is by far one of the most affordable athletic alternatives in Red Deer. If a family cannot afford the cost, the club allows them to participate through fundraising in lieu of the fees. No athlete is turned away because of financial difficulties.
Many of these athletes have gone on to be provincial and national champions, and more importantly good citizens, because of the leadership and generosity of Carswell and the club.
Now thanks to the community of Red Deer, those youth are going to have even greater opportunities. Thank you Red Deer and friends of Red Deer, we now know who the real city of champions is.