A Little Sugar and the Doc on Day One


I've never figured out some people's fascination with boxing. It has always seemed like too violent of a "sport" to me. However, when I heard that Sugar Ray Leonard would be speaking at the IHRSA show, I knew I wanted to attend his session. I remember as a little girl watching boxing matches curled up on the couch next to my dad (of course, I always had a pillow in hand to block my view of the blood that eventually poured from one or more of the boxers' faces). It seemed that boxing was a bigger sport then than it is now. I guess I'd have to say that as a little girl one of my favorite boxers (if little girls who hate boxing have favorite boxers) was Sugar Ray Leonard.

Unfortunately, I missed the first 15 minutes of Leonard's presentation, "The Power to Win." But I was glad I saw the last part of it. He showed clips from his various fights and talked about his various opponents--all in the context of what it takes to win. Leonard's advice about how to win? Believe in yourself. Control your composure. Listen to others more than you speak because that's how you win. He said not to have fear of failure, but instead have a fear of doing nothing.

"Risk is a part of success," he said.

I then attended Vice Admiral Richard Carmon's presentation, "Where Do We Go From Here to Create a Healthy Nation?" The 17th surgeon general of the United States gave a riveting account of his life as a child. Amazingly, he was a high school dropout. His parents had "substance issues" and the family was homeless for awhile. Despite his parents being unemployed often, his mother did not believe in welfare; therefore, the family was without medical care for much of his life. This was something that stuck with him for the rest of his life.

Carmona turned around his life by joining the military, where he learned drive and discipline. Eventually, he earned his GED and a medical degree.

Working in a trauma unit, he noticed that the majority of people he worked on were there with injuries that could have been prevented--either stab wounds or health issues related to their sedentary lifetyles.

"We were saving them from themselves," he said.

That's when he started pushing for preventive measures--some way to stop managing disease and instead prevent it. It's a cause that he still pushes today. In fact, he urged the audience of fitness professionals, who he said at 30,000 clubs strong could make a difference on the preventive side, to join their voices and be a force to prevent the obesity epidemic from worsening.

"If you can band together as one and come to the Hill, you can make a difference," he told the audience. "What you do everyday makes a difference."

Maybe as a group without fear, this industry really could have the power to help the nation win its battle with obesity and stop its self-destructive path. - Pam

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