Meet Willie

My last post was about dreamers and I continue to meet people who inspire this “making something out of nothing at all” concept. Arriving late into Rapid City, South Dakota, I was determined to find a place to dance in order to get some exercise after being in the car all day.

Art Alley, Rapid City

I google searched and found a bar that was supposed to have live music, but when I arrived I found no hint of a band. I took the last stool next to a very chatty gal and ordered some food, trying not to be too disappointed at the prospect of a dance-less night.

After being talked at for 30 minutes and trying to be polite and friendly, but feeling awash in feelings of anger at being helplessly bombarded, I felt a tap on my back and turned around with relief to a handsome young man asking me “if it was ladies night or something?” I was just so relieved to have an excuse to turn aside from my babbling neighbor that I think I would have smiled convincingly at a two-headed Frankenstein.

But as it was, my shoulder tapper was as far from Frankenstein as you can get! He was charming, adorable (the proper term here would be HOT, but somehow I’m embarrassed to admit it), and a great conversationalist. He looked me in the eye and really listened, was willing to have a give and take conversation, not your typical stupid guy looking to impress. My gabby neighbor annoyed with being ignored, finished guzzling her third drink and shoved off, and my new friend, Willie, took her stool. I think I gave an audible sigh of relief.

Not only was he my hero for the night and lovely to look at, he was extremely respectful of me, even when drunk girls were boldly flirting with him and draping themselves on his shoulder (no exaggeration here), he kept focused on our conversation and was interested in my life as well as willing to share his.

He is just starting up his own boxing/fitness center (check it out on facebook at Boxing-Skill-Shape). He told me with shining eyes about his gym right down the street and being in his last 5 months of student teaching physical education before getting his college degree.

These connections are priceless to me. Here I was meeting someone who was making a place in society for himself, creating a beautiful atmosphere to teach kids a new way of being, and reaching for a dream that would change lives. I am so fortunate, I mean, really, REALLY fortunate to meet such incredible people.

He invited me to come see his gym and watch a lesson the next morning. I have never been a fan of boxing, never have seen live boxing, and am freaked out at violence and blood, so I was hesitant. He explained that boxing gets a bad rap in movies, that the sport is civilized, they wear face masks even. Examining his flawless face it was true, he was not a mass of crooked bones and cuts. I can be so naive, but am happy to be corrected when I have misconceptions.

I showed up at his gym the next morning and happily watched him teaching a talented, 15-year-old, young man. Willie stayed focused on his every move, but somehow kept me engaged with a smile, look, or explanation of a concept, and before long they were glistening sweat and I was jealous that I wasn’t in boxing gloves myself. It reminded me of a dance, the foot work, rhythm, and patterns such an important part of the sport. Willie was the 2004 Junior Olympic National Champion and the Pan American Bronze Medalist, so he knows what he is doing and has a passion for sharing it. I wish him so much success.

Moral of the story? When looking for dancing, you may be surprised at finding the very thing you were looking for in a stranger’s boxing gym! Life is such a dance…

Life’s a dance you learn as you go

Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow

Don’t worry about what you don’t know

Life’s a dance you learn as you go

The longer I live the more I believe

You do have to give if you wanna receive

There’s a time to listen, a time to talk

And you might have to crawl even after you walk

Had sure things blow up in my face

Seen the long shot, win the race

Been knocked down by the slamming door

Picked myself up and came back for more

(Listen to John Michael Montgomery twang it out on youtube Life’s a Dance)

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