One of my most favorite things about boxing is its deep pride in representing heritage.
I wasn’t raised with the Italian side of my family. I always had this nagging feeling in me that I belonged to something and I wasn’t sure what it was. Boxing helped me find it.
When I turned pro, I was still estranged from the Italian side of my family, but I decided to start embracing it anyway. I chose Italian colored trunks and began claiming I was Italian. We all know there aren’t any 1/2 Italians!
It felt good to start claiming something and it felt right…..like something that was coming from inside me. I started to have more of a purpose and connection. My manager was also Italian and I was grateful for some connection to something I really wanted to express, but wasn’t quite sure how. He showed me by being uniquely his very Chicago, Italian self.
Sometimes I felt inauthentic and a fraud, but I stuck with it and kept claiming what I felt was my right to heritage.
I finally connected with my mom consistently when I turned 41 years old and it was an amazing experience. I walked through the door to see her and I knew, I was indeed Italian. Being Italian is my heritage, the source of my expression and my passionate self.
This is how I see Arcaro Boxing. No matter what your heritage is, you can walk through the door and you will know that you can express yourself. Where you are from; where you are going will be celebrated through a lot of sweat, rounds of shadowboxing, sparring, speed bag, jump rope and punching the heavy bag. Your heritage will be celebrated along side of someone else and that will matter. After all, that is what American culture is supposed to be about– A bunch of different heritages side by side expressing themselves in order to make up the country that we live in.