I was lost after high school. I was working as a nurse aid in Colorado in various nursing homes, mental institutions and hospitals. I had lost my sense of athletic self that served as my identity all through my youth and I didn’t know what to do not being in sports and not having any college aspirations at the time. I was at the Pride Fest Parade in Denver walking around and happened upon a booth for a rugby team. They didn’t think much of my 5’5″ #180 pound frame at the time, so they passed my name and number on to another team.
I left the parade, went to work and didn’t think much about it until a phone call a couple of weeks later. I was invited to come out to practice, no experience necessary, just show up. I was so scared, so nervous, but I had to try something, I had to get into sports again.
For my first practice, I showed up 1 hour early because I was so nervous. I kept checking the time, the address, my calendar. I was an anxious mess. It took me 30-40 minutes to get the courage to walk to the field. As I approached, I met this big, tough looking gal named Piper. She shook the hell out of my hand and got right down to business.
I never looked back.
I talked to Piper a few years ago and we reminisced our versions of this first day and she said to me, “Turton! I thought you were 40 years old when you walked up to me and I wondered what the hell you were doing coming out to play rugby”
Once I started playing, I was hooked. I loved my team, the passion, the permission to hit people hard in tackles. I finally found the expression I was looking for. I got in better shape and found out that I was pretty darn good. Good enough to make the back up list for the National Team in a World Cup Year (1994). This motivated me more than ever and I set my sights on making the first team and ultimately the 1998 World Cup.
Rugby is what brought me to Seattle and it’s what brought me to boxing. I moved here so I could be in the best possible position to achieve my goals. I wanted to be the best Prop in the country and to represent our nation at the highest level and I did it. Even with all my accomplishments, I wasn’t satisfied.
Something was still missing and boxing became my answer. I will always remember where I’ve come from because it makes me who I am today. Rugby allowed me to prepare for what I have become in boxing. The past 10 years at my first boxing gym have prepared me to catapult myself into the unknown and go for it all being a business owner and elite level coach.
At Arcaro Boxing’s Grand Opening Party, I wanted to capture how much Rugby, representing my country, heritage and tradition matter to me. I wanted to honor all of our culture by having this gym blessed by a people who feel deeply and express their culture and honor warriors. Thank you to Kagaka Lua and Junior Kaio for giving this gift to me and the entire community. Thank you Ginny Bromley for capturing it and sharing! I get chills every time I watch this video (and I obsessively watch it) So, please take a minute to check out this powerful gift. Thank you all for your support and let’s Box On!