Bruises in the mirror

The story of Alec Brock and why he boxes


Gigi Allen

Never again.

by Gigi Allen, Staff Writer

Three years ago, sophomore Alec Brock was mugged when he was walking home from Walmart late at night. He was carrying two bags holding two cartons of milk. A big white van pulled up and three African-American men called out to him to give them his money. When he saw them he knew that he had to do as they said. “Have it,” he told them, and handed it over.

Unconvinced that it was all the money he had, two of the men jumped out. The taller man was holding a bat and his friend approached Brock while the other stayed in the van. The bat swung and hit Brock’s right shoulder and and then his left side. While he was on the ground, hands emptied his pockets, but still the muggers were not satisfied. Fists made contact with his face, a black eyes marking his skin and his cheeks bruised. The back of his head held a raised bump and his side now held the muggers parting memento. A bat was not the only thing the two men carried. He carries an ugly raised scar, brought on by a gleaming knife. It marks his body with the memory of that night.

Looking in the mirror, bruises everywhere, his body aching, Brock did not like what he saw. He saw someone defenseless and weak. He was disappointed in the person reflected back at him. He was disappointed in every single mark left on him. When his dad told him it was time to start boxing, Brock agreed because the next time he looked in the mirror, he didn’t want to see this person again.

“The next morning when I looked in the mirror, I was shocked and scared but I was also pretty mad,” Brock said. “I felt defenseless. When I took boxing I felt a lot more confident going down my street. It was pretty weird when I first walked in but then I got used to it, used to opening up.”

Brock has been boxing since then and continued when his family moved from the rough Houston neighborhood. He set up a home gym in his garage and practices every day.

“It’s kind of sad not being able to go to a boxing class,” Brock said. “I had felt like a part of something. I just don’t know any boxing places around here. When I had a teacher, I knew what I was doing and he could help when I messed up. Now all I have is a book over it that I have to read again.”

Brock knows that when he gets in a boxing class again, though, it will be different. The people who were in his first class were there like him to learn how to protect themselves. Here, he doesn’t have to really worry that much about his health or life when he walks down the streets at night. But boxing has become more than a means to protect himself and his little sisters.

“I know that my motivation may have changed,” Brock said. “Now it’s a fun hobby and I know the guys around me also will have different motivations than my last group.”

He feels that boxing is a hobby that he really enjoys and gets into, not something that should differentiate him from his friends. It is something that helped him when he needed it and now gives him something to be a part of.

“Everybody knows how to fight,” Brock said. “It’s just they have different styles. Street fighting is wild, and mine is more technical. I have to practice an hour a day and switch off every other day where I then do cardio.”

The journey and experiences have had their toll on him, but he is glad that he has made his way out of the dark part in his life. Now his father has a better job opportunity here, and his mother can finish college. He doesn’t have to worry about his sisters and can go buy groceries without fear.

“If I looked in the mirror right now, the person I would see would make me feel good,” Brock said. “And that really is a relief. Now that I got out of there I feel so much more wise and confident in myself and my decisions. I know more about what to do and what not to do. I have knowledge now that I can put down and pass on to my kids that I may have later. Much later.”