I guess you know you’ve made it as an athlete when your high school retires your jersey.
Of all the things in my career, going back to Inglewood High School and having my jersey retired this week in front of my family and friends and the people in my community who supported me from the beginning, was one of the most memorable.
High school is where I first got really serious about ball and fell in love with the game. But I wasn’t always good at it. Not by a long shot. Believe it or not, I got cut from the varsity team my freshman and sophomore years. Almost had to leave Inglewood just to get the chance to play.
Then something clicked. I knew I had the talent and made the commitment to work as hard as I could to make that team. And I did. My junior year, the Inglewood Sentinels had a 30-win season and won the division title. My senior year, I got a spot in the McDonald’s All-American game. I owe so much to coach Patrick Roy and of course my moms for all their support and for keepin' on me to work as hard as I could to reach my potential.
It was a really emotional experience for me. I saw so many people that I hadn’t seen in years, and even though I’m back there a lot, it really reminded me that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Inglewood roots.
And now, it's back to work. Season's comin' up on us quick and I'm doin' everything I can to continue to get ready on and off the court. Been training and working out in Waltham with some of the guys who got into town early.
It has been a busy few weeks. Last week I also spent a lot of time working out with some of the kids in my FitClub34 program at Josiah Quincy School. Nah, they're not trying to get an invite to our training camp, but they are helpin' me out with my new FitClub34 exercise videos. As part of the club, we have exercise videos to show kids fun and easy ways to keep active. They'll be on Comcast on Demand soon, so keep an eye out.
And this past Saturday, I had my second annual fitness rally at Copley Square to promote my Truth on Health Campaign and encourage kids to be active and live healthy lifestyles. We had ourselves a family festival on fitness!
We had hundreds of kids come out to join me in some really cool exercise stations set up by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, my partner in the fight against childhood obesity. We had a ton of fun classes and activities - mixed martial arts, yoga, dancing, double Dutch, karate and of course one of my favorites, hula hoop. We had it all. My friend, chef Ming Tsai, was there to show kids easy ways to eat healthy. Ramiro from JAMN and Romeo from KISS and my friends at the Globe and Boston.com came out too.
Obviously fitness is really important to me in my career, but I want to make it important for kids too and inspire them to get fit by being active and healthy. Between that and being back at Inglewood High, I feel like a kid again.
Paul Pierce's Truth on Health campaign empowers and encourages young people to lead healthier lives by providing them with the information, resources, and tools necessary to become more active and physically fit. To learn more, visit www.truthonhealth.org
Follow Paul Pierce on Twitter @PaulPierce34 and @TruthonHealth and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/paulpierce
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About the authorPaul Pierce is the captain of the Boston Celtics. Pierce has spent his entire career with the Celtics since being drafted in 1998 out of Kansas, and led them to their 17th NBA Championship in 2008, when he was the NBA Finals MVP. More »
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For more information on FitClub34, visit TruthonHealth.org