Few in life have been thrown more curves and done something truly positive with them than one Marcelino Lugo. Marcelino arrived in the United States at the ripe old age of six, unable to speak a word of English. A member of a family of 10, absent a father figure and literally pushed, shoved and carried by a loving mother to the United States from Mexico, he arrived to a land of much promise. That bright and shining promise was dimmed by a reception rife with ridicule because of his origin, skin color and inability to speak the language. Marcelino was in a world surrounded by thousands of people, yet all alone.
Marcelino found refuge in gang life. Yes, the kind of gangs that most of us only see portrayed in television programs and movies, far from actually touching our lives. He lived what is only video horror to most of us. At the age of 15, Marcelino met a man who would become his coach, his mentor. The man looked at Marcelino’s hands and said, “Young man, you have the hands of a boxer.” And with that, Marcelino began his climb out of the gang life. Boxing became his gateway drug. His conduit. But the true facilitator and fuel for Marcelino was developing a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Today, Marcelino remembers that coach, boxing and worships with all of his heart and soul. And as for execution, Marcelino today has his own boxing club, Zabalas. That gym meets in the home of that coach that came into Marcelino’s life at 15. To join that club, Marcelino will look at the hands of the kids who follow him as if he were the pied piper and see if those are indeed boxing hands. But most importantly, the youth must agree to serve God and with that Marcelino will demand discipline, respect and hard work. With the possession of a good jab and a commitment to serve God, Marcelino is truly impacting lives and changing hearts.
Marcelino would love to move out of the coach’s house and into his own gym.
- Barrett Peck
- Kelsey Scott
- LYNNETTE HALL
- Cal Alexander
- Arthur A Havener
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