© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON – THE NEWS
Marvin MacLennan, president of the Albion Amateur Boxing Club, poses outside the club, which is currently located in Trenton. MacLennan has been involved with the club for 17 of the 25 years the club has existed in Pictou County.
Editor’s note: For the next number of weeks The News will run a story on the Albion Amateur Boxing Club on Saturdays to celebrate the club’s 25th anniversary.
TRENTON – He took on the role of president at the Albion Amateur Boxing Club in 2001 “for a few months” – 144 months later Marvin MacLennan is still there because of the appreciation and love he has for the club.
MacLennan first stepped through the Albion club’s door when his son Matthew started boxing at the Albion club 17 years ago because of a friend that was involved. That was when MacLennan started to get involved with the club. From Scotsburn, he decided to stay and watch his son each night instead of driving back and forth twice.
“I used to drive him into town three nights a week, so I just started off staying around to watch,” he said. “Eventually I started to get involved a little more. I was the VP for a short time and became a Level 4 judge before eventually stepping into the president position.”
Although his son hasn’t been involved for a few years, MacLennan said boxing is now in his blood. He said it is a great sport for youth and that he saw a great change in his son’s discipline and self-confidence during the time he was involved.
“It gets in your blood being involved here,” he said. “I’m the same as Jim (Worthen) now, although he didn’t have any kids when he started. You just get to know the kids and the families and want to keep the club running for them.”
Each year the club sees approximately 20-25 youth come through its doors for their sessions Monday to Wednesday. MacLennan said those numbers have stayed steady since he got involved.
“Things have stayed relatively the same with our numbers over the past few years, but we’ve definitely added better equipment and improved the program for our kids,” he said. “Safety has also become a big thing in amateur boxing. If someone is getting out-classed or getting hurt the official will stop the fight.”
With such steady numbers, when MacLennan was asked what the biggest challenge is for the club he said that having a place to train is the biggest thing. He said space is important to the club. He added that having a place to hold boxing cards has become the newest challenge as the club hasn’t held any in three years.
“We definitely want to hold a card this year, but ideally you want to be holding at least two a year,” he said. “When we were at the Michelin Club it was a fantastic venue for us, but it was just the timing of when it closed and not having a place to move into for cards. We’ve been working on a few places this year that would be good to have the club move into because we could set up the big ring, but you can’t put all your money out on rent. You still need money to buy the new equipment for the kids and help cover their trips to their cards around the province or out-of-province.”
“Having a card is important to get out in the community and having a couple a year is important to get a fan base, so we’re hoping to get back to that and eventually hopefully have a permanent spot for our ring.”
Continuing on the topic of financials, he said that the club would be nowhere without their volunteers on the fundraising committee. The committee helps to hold events throughout the season and off-season to help the club, with the beer gardens at the Pictou Lobster Carnival being their largest fundraiser.
“It was definitely a little scary this year when it looked like the Lobster Carnival wasn’t going to take place, but fortunately that didn’t end up being an issue,” said MacLennan. “Over the years I really haven’t been able to say enough about the volunteers we’ve had on this committee. It’s impossible to guarantee you’re going to have great volunteers, we’ve just been extremely lucky to have the best people you could ask for over the years.”
The boxing club will open its doors for their 25th anniversary on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The club usually practices Monday-Wednesday at the Trenton Youth Centre.
“We’re really excited to get another season underway,” said MacLennan. “We have some of the best coaches these kids could ask for in Barry (Sponagle), Jim (Worthen) and Al (Archibald). They all look at the sport differently and now I don’t think you could have one without the other. Barry and Jim have been forever and know the sport like nobody else, but having Al come into the club has been nice to see the new blood and enthusiasm, especially with his training program.
“We’ve had a lot of coaches over the years, but Jim and Barry have been the two that have been here through everything. It’s not easy to find coaches that have that kind of knowledge.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris