Tulare Olympic Boxer, Richard Torrez, visited the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias’ Tulare location to speak to Club members from across the county. Torrez inspired these kids and teens by sharing some of the lessons he’s learned through life so far and reflecting on his journey to the Olympics.
As most may know, Richard Torrez was born and raised in Tulare. What some may not know is that he, too, attended the Boys & Girls Club during his youth. Torrez said, “I grew up here for about 3-4 years, […] so when I made the connection that it was this Club that I would be speaking at, I jumped at the opportunity.” Torrez was first introduced to the Club through his mother, who has a passion for tutoring students. She ran a tutoring program in the same building that the Tulare Boys & Girls Club runs in, and that connection eventually led to her becoming a Program Director for the Tulare Boys & Girls Club and Torrez becoming a Club member.
Richard Torrez spent the first part of his visit speaking to Club members and relating to them as a former Club member. He shared about the skills and mindsets that have helped him reach the level of success that he has in his boxing career, such as goal setting, consistency, dedication, and building a strong foundation. Torrez emphasized the importance of setting long term goals and short term goals, explaining that his long term goal was competing in the Olympics, and that his short term goal was to train the best he could every single day. Torrez admitted to having a rigorous daily routine that pushes his limits physically and mentally, saying, “Everyone talks about the grind. […] You’ve gotta love the grind, you gotta live the grind, you gotta be the grind. And I’ll be the first one to tell you the grind is tough.” He elaborated by recounting the moments when he felt as though his daily hard work never seemed to pay off. When Torrez would share about this stress with his dad, he would reply, “Be patient, good things will come.” Certainly, his hard work and dedication to being the best he could be in the ring did eventually pay off, and it also had a positive effect outside of the ring. Torrez explained that his dedication and consistent goal setting gave him the confidence to be the best he could be in the classroom as well. During his high school career, Torrez was a part of the Mission Oak’s Engineering Academy, he was the president of the Chess Club, and he was the valedictorian of his graduating class with a 4.0 GPA.
Overall, one of the most compelling lessons that Torrez shared with kids of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias was the importance of building a strong foundation for your goals. “You need a strong foundation and a strong foundation is your surroundings,” Torrez explained. He leveled with the Club kids saying, “Whoever you surround yourself with, you’re going to end up like that. […] Environment trumps will, every time. […] If you surround yourself with [people] that aren’t trying to do the same thing that you are trying to do, you’re never going to get there [reach your full potential].”
Torrez’s words clearly had an effect on the young audience as they took full advantage of the Q&A time. One Club member asked Torrez, “What advice would you give your younger self?” Torrez responded, “That’s a great question, I would tell myself to trust the process.”
At the end of his visit, Torrez stuck around for photos and even signed the shirts and shoe soles of the Boys & Girls Club members. One member was so inspired by Richard Torrez—despite not having known who he was until just then—that he had him sign his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. Torrez clarified, “I don’t know—are you sure you want me to sign this jersey? It’s really nice.” The Club member nodded and replied, “I’m sure.”
“I was really happy to hear Torrez say that the best foundation you can set for yourself is by surrounding yourself with people who are passionate about the same things you are; I believe that’s what we provide here at the Club for our youth, a place where they can surround themselves with like-minded people who all want to be the best they can be,” said Leticia Betancourt, Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias.
Richard Torrez had many places to be that day—his schedule and routines are packed to the brim—but the fact that he took the time to hang out with the kids of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias, speaks to the world-class athlete and role model that he has become.