“This is the ring where everything goes down, my home away from home,” says local featherweight boxer Tramaine Williams, as he practices his moves. “This is where I figured out who I am, what I want to do, what I want to be.”
It took him years to get to this point. He started boxing at eight and a half years old.
“When I found boxing, I found what I was yearning for – love, attention, a village,” says Williams.
Success followed…as did trouble with the law.
“I feel like I had to go through that,” he says. “I had to be that catalyst for people to show no matter what you go through, you can overcome.”
And that’s the message the 26-year-old is sharing with area youth from non-profit Connecting Through Literacy – Incarcerated Parents, Their Children and Caregivers. Williams was raised by a strong grandmother while his parents were in jail.
“At first, you don’t understand, you think it’s a way of life. Then, you get to school and see everybody’s got mothers and fathers and that’s when it begins to affect you,” he says.
Recently, at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria, he and the kids made food and talked.
“I see myself in them,” says Williams. “Through fun, you get the true person, the true kid.”
“I think this is the year, I think it’s time, my time,” he says.
It’s also time to show kids his earned wisdom: the past is a memory when you fight for a bright future.
“First, it starts with a dream,” says Williams. “Once you start dreaming, you can manifest that dream into reality.”
Williams hopes one day he’ll be comfortable sharing his story on stage but, for now, he’ll stick with one-on-one conversations that quietly make a big difference.
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