by Melissa Brunner
I admit, I don't really follow boxing, short of knowing Albert Guardado lived in Topeka when he went to the Olympics. Oh, and I once interviewed Leon Spinx while free-lancing a Golden Gloves event while in college.
So I didn't have any idea who this guy named Victor Ortiz was that was visiting Gov. Brownback Tuesday. Photographer Doug Brown covered the event and returned to the newsroom saying, "You have to hear this guy's story."
Ortiz won the World Boxing Council welterweight title April 16th. His journey to champion was an unlikely one. He and his siblings were abandoned by both parents early in life. He resorted to selling drugs so the kids could feed themselves. He landed in foster care until his sister turned 18 and took on legal guardianship to bring the siblings back together.
Who would have blamed Ortiz for giving up? Who wouldn't understand if he continued making bad decisions?
Except, that's not how his story turned out. People in his life refused to give up on Ortiz and, more importantly, Ortiz refused to give up on himself. He says he simply stayed positive and made himself believe there was no obstacle he couldn't overcome. He was able to do that, he says, thanks to some fantastic mentors. He talks about one of them in our web story - http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/Kansas-Born_Boxing_Champ_Honored_At_Statehouse_121585054.html.
Ortiz is an example of the potential inside every young person. Even when they've taken a wrong turn, with the right guidance, they can get back on a path to success. As Gov. Brownback put it, "Victor didn't get bitter - he got better." Isn't that a lesson for us all?