Gonna fly now


Elizabeth Riti

Audrey Coats said the boxing class is a hardcore workout, but more importantly an outlet for her. 

Hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, sweat lining her skin, boxing gloves in hand. Nothing can break her concentration as she jabs and kicks. Gritting her teeth, she channels her energy in order to master the cross and hook, among other skills. This has become a weekly routine for Audrey Coats, junior. She goes to 9Round, a fitness and kickboxing club, every other day for an hour. Audrey said the boxing class is a hardcore workout, but more importantly, an outlet for her. 

“I deal with a lot of anger and attitude,” Audrey said. “Going [to boxing classes], even just one or twice a week, helps me channel it. If you have a lot of built-up anger, sometimes the best thing is to just punch something.” 

Boxing hasn’t been a hobby of Audrey’s for long. After playing volleyball for 13 years, Audrey turned to boxing classes around three months ago after quitting volleyball.

“[Volleyball] just wasn’t fun anymore,” Audrey said. “It just felt like a chore. Having to go to practices was the worst thing.”

“Sometimes the best thing is to just punch something.”

— Audrey Coats

Audrey described boxing as an open house where you work individually on skills, with the trainers leading and assisting attendees. Along with a warm-up and cool-down, there are nine stations to rotate through, each one focused on strengthening a different muscle group. Audrey said that her favorite station is station nine, which focuses on abs. She said even though that station is the most challenging and exhausting, she loves it because getting through makes her feel accomplished. 

“It’s been a really good experience,” Audrey said. “There are different trainers there all the time, but they’re all super nice and supportive and just want you to do your best.”

Audrey doesn’t always attend classes alone. She’s often accompanied by her good friend, Maggie Watts, sophomore, every other day after school. Watts said they support each other to get through the class.

“[The boxing class] is a super nice environment,” Watts said. “Everyone’s there to push and [improve] each other.”

Like Audrey, Watts enjoys boxing and finds kicking and punching sand bags as a way to redirect anger. Watts said that Audrey is always in-the-zone during class, and she doesn’t focus on outside concerns when she is there. 

[The boxing class] is a super nice environment. Everyone’s there to push and [improve] each other.

— Maggie Watts

“We’re [there] to do boxing,” Watts said. “We might’ve gotten mad at our parents a second ago, but we’re gonna let that out and not worry about that right now. We’re gonna have a good time while we’re [there].”

Bill Coats, Audrey’s dad, said boxing has helped Audrey unwind, especially since she’s had many stressors in her life in the past year. By immersing herself in this style of exercise, Bill saw how it helps her with her frustrations.

“When she goes, she comes home and talks about how she emotionally feels better,” Bill said. “[Boxing] definitely makes her feel more positive about things.”

Bill also said that Audrey likes the relationship she has with her trainers and the beneficial ways they encourage her. He said Audrey likes to have positive feedback, and that somebody pushing her makes her strive for goals. To him, this mentality translates to her life outside of boxing classes.

“If there’s a situation that comes up where she’ll get angry or want[s] to quit, she starts thinking about how she got through a tough round,” Bill said. “She just applies something that was told to her at 9Round, and it makes her feel like she can persevere.”

Audrey recommends boxing as an activity for others to pursue. She also thinks the sport, especially for girls, should be more normalized. She said being in an individualized hobby has given her more courage in herself.

“You don’t have to wait for a team, you can just do [boxing] for yourself,” Audrey said. “I used to be nervous that people were always judging me, but with [boxing], it gives me empowerment.”