‘I like focusing on raising awareness of the benefits of arm-wrestling for youths, especially those who come from troubled backgrounds.’
“I was a mess during the pandemic and was so ashamed that I tried to keep my emotions bottled up, which was unhealthy. My work was a healthy distraction. I am the founder of the Urban Arm-Wrestling League that sponsors tournaments and promotes the sport.
“In 2020, I battled COVID, anxiety, and depression. In the past, seeking therapy or admitting that you suffered from mental illness was perceived as a weakness. Society has to erase that stereotype and embrace counseling. Therapy helped me, but I can honestly say that arm-wrestling saved my life during those hard times.
Anyone can learn to arm-wrestle and I want to help provide opportunities for men and women to nurture their skills.
“I started out as a kid in the 1980s watching movies like “Over the Top” and now, because of arm-wrestling, I have been featured on “The Today Show.” I established a photography program for Wyandanch High School students. The photography program and arm-wrestling initiatives have expanded to other parts of the United States and even to Ghana, Africa!
“Arm-wrestling builds up your confidence and provides a community of lifelong friends. Arm-wrestling is already part of the Mister Olympia competition, so we are advocating for it to become a recognized Olympic sport. I like focusing on raising awareness about the benefits of arm-wrestling for youths, especially those who come from troubled backgrounds because this is a great way to release pent-up energy in a positive way.
“Anyone can learn to arm-wrestle and I want to help provide opportunities for men and women to nurture their skills. My story can be an example to others to never give up on yourself, fight through the pain, and find something that you are passionate about to help you heal. Get help if you have to and surround yourself with people that genuinely love you; that’s the best advice that I can offer.”
Interviewed by Meagan Meehan