Norman Steiner should not be sumamrily dismissed because he’s in his later 50s, or lost much of his left legs in an accident more than a decade ago. The man has the character of a pitbull, in a good way; he’s all about decency and trying to be a positive influence in the community…but get him riled and yes, he can and will throw down.
Literally and figurtaively; Steiner, an attorney, fought for the right to compete when he took to court in 2016 to try and prevent USA Boxing from keeping him from competing in a sanctioned event, because he wears a prosthetic on that left leg. I train to fight, I can fight, I want to fight, let me fight, he argued. And he hasn’t stopped that cause. Steiner attended the 15th annual Gleason’s Gym Boxing Fantasy Camp, at Honors’ Haven resort in the Catskills in upstate NY in 2017, and will be returning when the camp runs again, Aug. 9-12.
“My first camp was last summer,” said NY resident, who is available to be hired for his law knowledge.
“What immediately struck me was how the collateral benefits of boxing exemplified themselves at this camp. The camp, as you probably know, is geared towards getting Bruce Silverglades’ Give A Kid A Dream kids, out of the city. Most of these kids don’t have much else. That mission is bifurcated with us masters heading up to the Catskills for our boxing fantasy.”
(Yes, Steiner has a high IQ to go with his combative side. I too looked up bifurcated in the online dictionary.)
“Our fantasy is easily fulfilled. We gear up on the first day, hop in the ring, and start sparring each other to feel out our pecking order. Our ranking is readily apparent. Some, are brave (or dumb ) enough to share some of their boxing accomplishments from their younger days,” Steiner continued, when I asked him to offer his thoughts on what a typical camp day looks like.
Then, campers break off into different groups of three or four and get to work with former champs for the next few days, he stated. Former champs, guys like Iran Barkley, and Yuri Foreman…
“Saturday night is the climax of the fantasy. Fight night. Honestly, if I had my way there would be a 1000 watt PA system blasting the coolest song I could think of as I entered the auditorium in a satin robe with the Star of David on the back while an announcer enthusiastically recites my background, record and weight,” Steiner continued.
“Out of Brooklyn, New York, with a stunning sanctioned masters record of one win and one loss and three exhibition fights, at 168 pounds, KID YID, Norman Steinerrrrrr, Steiner.”
Maybe next year, right Bruce? (Is Buffer in the budget?)
“Having said all that, the collateral benefits of boxing are the main event for me at the camp. Boxing has always possessed the necessary tools to refine and advance respect, ethics, discipline and morality in the youth and old. Watching Bruce’s Give a Kid A Dream Kids interact with all of the other guests at the hotel as well as with us masters and themselves gave proof to the value of the program and the camp,” Steiner said. “The hotel we were staying yet had three other groups attending. Two were religious groups and the third was an international violin camp. Like ours, all of the groups were mainly kids. I was so proud watching our kids act with such dignity and respect towards everybody else. While the other groups raced to be the first on the food line our kids stepped to the sides and thought about others before themselves. This was true and apparent just walking through the hotel. You could see our kids always holding the doors open for others, always stepping to the side to let others pass, always greeting others with a smile and a friendly gesture. These character traits were instilled by Bruce, his volunteers and his program.”
“While the camp might be a fantasy,” Steiner said in his closing argument, er, summation, “the following is as close to reality as the sound of the starting bell in the first round: boxings legends still train in the Catskills!”