Barney Flores Video Transcript

BARNEY FLORES: Boxing teaches you self-esteem, respect, how to hit, and don’t get hit; that’s the whole thing. You got a pretty face? Don’t ruin it, stay pretty. Learn how to box.

FLORES: The mission of the gym is to teach the kids to respect one another. I teach them love. I teach them the importance of education. I don’t charge these kids to train them. It’s all done voluntarily.

FLORES: I felt that if I worked with kids, I wanted to target kids to keep them out of the street, out of gangs. Boxing was the best route. And not only that, it helped me, by my kids advancing to the national levels, that was seen at the national level by Olympic coaches, national coaches, you name it, they were there.

FLORES: You gotta have it in your heart. You gotta be brave to get in the ring, not just anybody can get in the ring and box, you gotta have it here [heart]. Not only here [heart] but here [head].

FLORES: I was born here in the city of McKinney in 1947. Growing up in McKinney was kind of hard.

FLORES: What we called the Westside, which is past 75, used to be nothing but cotton fields, onion fields. We worked the fields. Wow, we was rich, 75 cents an hour. You work from sun up to sun down. We made $7.50 a day. That was hard work.

FLORES: I wish and pray that it never goes back to the way it used to be. I wanted to play football but I couldn’t, because I was Hispanic. I wanted to play baseball, but I couldn’t, because I was Hispanic.

FLORES: I thought our life was just being poor, working, and that’s it. I used to be in gangs, and did drugs, and loved to fight, I been shot at, I been stabbed. And I thought that was the life. I guess I didn’t have that love at home, that I wanted, and maybe that was my anger.

FLORES: I never had nobody telling me, ‘You could be somebody’ or ‘You could be somebody better than what you are.’ Like I said I don’t want my kids to grow up like me, I want them to have something better than me.

FLORES: I had a lot of anger when my father ran away from home. I didn’t have no love, I didn’t have that love until my aunt, my grandmother, my uncle raised me. Then I started realizing there is people. But for a long time, I still had a lot of anger in me. Even as an adult, I had anger. So maybe this is why I chose boxing. Maybe that’s another reason I chose boxing. Because I love the kids and I know what I was like growing up. If I got ten kids in this gym, 15, 20, 5, 1. Do you not believe its better to have them in here than running around on the streets maybe getting in trouble?

FLORES: I have kids that come, that are sent to me, for anger management. They come up here. They’re frustrated, they’re mad. You can lose a lot of anger by hitting that bag, than hitting a person. Cuz a lot of anger will come out of you hitting those bags. Cuz you just…its just building up inside of you, that you just want to let it go. So you put those gloves on, you start hitting, you lose it.

FLORES: People used to say I would never amount to nothing, that I would be dead before I’m 21. I’m 57 years old. I think I grew up from a nothing, to a something. But anybody if you're given a second chance, can change. But you gotta want to do it in your heart also. Its not just one way street. Its gotta be a two-way street. You gotta want it just like you gotta give me that chance to want it.

FLORES: I would tell young people that if they want to change their life join organizations, join clubs, not gangs, clubs. LULAC, NAACP, whatever. Just make a difference.

FLORES: I tell my students, my kids, that anything is possible for them. Not everybody is going to grow up to be the president, you know, but try. Try is the whole thing.

FLORES: I got some that are police officers, some that are firemen. And I got some that got their own business. They’re some that are in prison right now. So you know, I didn’t save them, I didn’t save them all. And I’m not gonna say I’m gonna save them all.

FLORES: At first I used to cry. You know, I wanted to help all the kids, I didn’t want them to get in trouble. Now I realize that if I can help one or two kids, and they can help one or two down the road, and those two can help two.

FLORES: I want to do something here with these kids that can remember this little experience they’re gonna have. If they can remember that, they can go a long ways in life. Somebody was there to care for them. And that’s it.