Boxing Ontario gyms are speaking up and voicing their concerns to their local MPPs regarding the lockdown. Below, please read a heartfelt letter written by one of our member gym owners:
My name is Melissa, and I am reaching out to you as a business owner (boxing club owner), family mother, coach, and most of all as a human being. The aim of this letter is not to list all of the problems that might arise with the announced shutdown, but instead to provide a potential solution that could save lives and drastically improve several thousands of peoples’ quality of life.
As a boxing club coach and owner, I get to meet a wide variety of people from diverse social circles. The theme that comes up often during conversation is that boxing is more than a simple sport – it is a way of life and a therapeutic requirement to stay mentally and physically fit. It is a need, and it is as important as sleep.
Throughout COVID, boxing clubs have been proven to follow the strict guidelines of Boxing Ontario and to manage their establishments without compromising people’s health and safety (i.e zero cases of COVID-19 related to any club). By letting us remain open, we will be able to achieve the following:
- Provide physical and moral support to thousands of people – particularly youth and women as the confinement came with a huge spike in domestic violence toward them;
- Provide individuals and vulnerable persons with a goal to work toward; and
- Keep our finger on the pulse of matters related to individual well-being and identify possible health conditions (e.g., suicidal thoughts, domestic violence, depression, illegal fights, etc.).
Over the last 10 months, I have personally witnessed people getting off the streets, but unfortunately returning back there, seen youth leaving their parents’ home to live in the streets and confessing thinking about suicide, observed autistic youth having a very hard time coping with confinement, provided assistance to a woman being abused domestically, heard youth confessing that they are now participating in illegal organized fights in the streets and in some backyards, and seen my son not able to go to school because of being scared of crowds. Moreover, I am not even giving mention to the harsh financial cost of the lockdown.
It is in everyone’s best interest to keep boxing clubs open as they provide much more than ‘a little boxing class’. The human experience is the biggest part of our job as coaches, and I can’t let all of those people down again when I know their morale, security, and, in some cases, safety could be at stake.
I want to remain open under the law and provide services to my community that no one else can provide. Unfortunately, there is only so much a help line and a zoom session can do. Trust me.
I hope that we can all work together to keep everyone mentally and physically healthy, including the elderly, those with lung conditions, youth, women, and people with mental health difficulties.
Boxing Club Owner
We need your help as we continue the fight to re-open gyms affected the lockdown mandate. With each new legislation, the Boxing Ontario Board Members and the COVID Task Force have worked tirelessly to help keep sanctioned gyms safely operational. In November, the provincial government removed Boxing Ontario’s ability as a provincial sport organization to allow our members to operate safely and effectively in Grey Zone regions.
We encourage our member gyms to write a letter to your local MPP and/or please sign our petition to compel the Ontario Government to reinstate Boxing Ontario’s ability to safely re-open our member gyms.
*(Note Regarding Petition: Donations requested by Change.org (i.e. “chipping in”) are NOT required. These donations DO NOT go directly to Boxing Ontario. You’re welcome to share the petition or skip this step.)