Harold Petty, aka Champ, is a normal guy doing extraordinary work. A friend since we were in grade school, we know him better than most. 18 years ago Champ walked into our parents’ house to train us to box. Our dad started us on Rocky before we started walking, so we begged him for years to let us train. 5 boys in the family at that time (the other 5 siblings joined throughout the years) with a lot of energy/aggression, Pop finally found us the right coach, Champ.
Instilling discipline and building confidence in that first session, he quickly got us hooked on the sweet science. Hundreds of sessions later, we still utilize lessons learned in the ring. Be confident but not cocky. Always be respectful to the gym and the people. Show discipline. Work hard. Shut your mouth and open your ears. Always smile. These are all gems that can be learned in a boxing gym from the right man.
A five-time St. Louis Golden Gloves champ, the national Amateur Athletic Union champion in 1979 and a runner-up in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1980, Champ knows his craft. Also benefitting from a strong mentor in his life, the legendary coach Kenny Loehr, who trained St. Louis boxers young and old for nearly 60 years before passing in 2015, he always felt lucky.
Wanting to pass on the “gifts God gave [him],” he took over the gym Kenny manned, 12th and Park. The gym is in a rough part of town and a lot of the kids who live around there aren’t as lucky as we are. We’re lucky we grew up in a healthy supportive family, with a dad who is always with us. Most aren’t as lucky. But one thing’s for sure – the kids who come into 12th and Park are lucky to know Harold Petty. Our hope is that in 18 years the grade schoolers walking through that gym now will be able to pass on the life lessons that only a tough sport like boxing can teach, and that many more can learn from a guy who redefines what normal means.
Note: A portion of proceeds from sales at thenormalbrand.com this month will go to the Police Academy League to help improve the 12th and Park facilities and equipment. Click here to shop The Normal Brand.
If you know of people or organizations redefining normal, let us know. We would love to connect with them and share their stories.