Name: Shannon Lawson
Sport/Club: Boxing (North Glasgow/MGM Scotland
What’s your sporting story?
I started boxing originally when I was 16/17 for fitness. I always loved, and was fascinated by the sport when I was younger but back then it was never considered an option for females so I never so much as looked at it. I then started one on one training with a boxing coach who boxed competitively himself and he informed me that if I wanted to fight his coach would do it, the only reason they hadn’t had a female was because no one was ever interested. From day one of going to competitive training I wanted a fight so bad and to prove that I was just as capable as the guys that I GRAFTED! It took about nine months of hard training and sparring to convince my coach that I was in it for the long hall and I got my first competitive fight. From then on I have pretty much boxed every couple of months, literally taking what I could get as too me win, lose or draw it is like an apprenticeship when you start boxing its all about the experience. I have now recently changed over the organisation I box for, so it is basically like starting from square one and making a name for yourself, but my current aim is making it into the Scottish ranks and working from there.
What was the biggest challenge in your sporting career so far and how did you overcome it?
In all honesty it is having thick skin and promoting female boxing. In a male dominated sport still to this day I will come across the odd person who will not take me seriously. They won’t hit you, or if you do land a good shot on them they will come at you twice as bad out of bravado. Just the other day a well respected boxer Scottish Champion told me he believed “Woman should not be allowed in a boxing gym”, and that is a mild example of what you hear. I am just lucky that I am part of an open minded and modern gym that have backed me from day one, but it can be disheartening when you have put in just as much, if not more effort than some males. The best way to overcome it though, is to keep your head down and prove them wrong, take it as a compliment that they are bothered what you are doing!
What attracted you to becoming a “Goal Model”?
It is no secret sport is dominated by males. Yes we now live in a world where females can participate in almost any sport, but how often do you see it on TV, radio, newspapers etc….almost never! I push female boxing like it is nobody’s business and I believe any woman who is heavily involved in sport should do the same. Young girls should be confident in themselves that they can take part in any sport and do just as well as the boys can. What is the worst that can happen, you try it and you fail, and so you try it again and you do a bit better each time. The thing I love about the world of sport is you can be absolutely brilliant at one and dreadful at another but the only way you will ever find out is if you try!
How important to you is it to get young people into sport and leadership?
People always tell me they wish they had started when they were my age. Although I started relatively young I wish I started even younger and that is something I want to pass to younger people. My sport has became more than a hobby, I have met some of my best friends through it, met famous faces, learned discipline and dedication and helped form my adult life and career choice, something computer games and Xbox don’t give a young person.
What would you recommend to young people in Aberdeen who want to become more involved with sport?
Try, try, try. What harm does going to one class, or one lesson do? If you think you might enjoy it then go for it! From my experience in Aberdeen I believe they are very for sport, and actually provide a very wide variety of sports to choose from. Also if you do love a sport, stick with it! Young people have a tendency to come and go and not really take it too seriously, but trust me when you grow up you will be glad you did.
Who inspired you when you were younger and why?
I remember watching my first Olympic Games vaguely. I watched sports I would probably never actually try as well as those I would and just always thought how amazing would it be to be the best at something, or for sport to just be your life. In addition to this, when I was younger I actually played football and would train at the Rangers training ground Murray Park. Occasionally some of the players would be in or would visit and we would get to see them or we would get a tour of the facility. Seeing what these guys got to do for a living and the facilities they got to use was just amazing to me. The thought of a life of just training, playing sport or being involved in sport was ideal and probably what made me realise that’s the life I wanted whether it be as a job or as an athlete.
If you had the same opportunity in sport again, what would you do differently?
I would probably have pushed myself a bit more, not in terms of training but in terms of confidence. When I first started I just wanted to fight, I never really thought of the bigger picture such as tournaments or levels. Now my focus are these things, however I do wonder had I started putting myself forward for these things earlier, it may have boosted where I am.
Why should young people in Aberdeen get involved with the Denis Law Streetsport programme?
Here the hard work is done for you. You don’t have to go looking for a sport; they are literally giving the opportunity to you so take full advantage of it. For all you know it could lead to something better. At worst you have a laugh and meet new faces. Having met some of the coaches myself I not only recommend them as coaches, but know they are good people who genuinely want to help.
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