The guys (and a handful of women) took me in right away. It helped that Thatcher had cleared the way for me. It also helped that I was in the midst of doing some boxing of my own with a trainer at the Woodside Health Club back home in Kansas City. The guys appreciated me showing off my moves, especially my upper cut which was quite impressive at the time.
After introductions and me showing off, the athletes got back to the business of shadow boxing, sparring and punching the bags. The place was gritty and sweaty and dark. I danced around the guys as I photographed them. They didn't hesitate to let me get close. The shooting became kind of a dance. I love it when that happens.
After thinking back to that afternoon and the one that followed (I had so much fun I returned the next day) I revisited the images I shot. I've never even processed most of these before. Seeing them in a finished state reminds me how much I love a good challenge, how much I love being in situations where I have to make my own way, how much I love connecting with people, how much I love photographing people who are passionate about what they do, how much I love and am grateful for opportunities that encapsulate all of the above, and yes, how much I love photography.