PAL’s Pick! is a quarterly series that highlights participants in the Dallas Police Athletic/Activities League who show great improvement and progress in the program. Jordan McDonnell, a 17 year-old junior at H. Grady Spruce High School, is this quarter’s PAL’s Pick!
Jordan started attending the PAL program with his friend in August 2013, and he didn’t exactly roll with the punches when he got there. “When I first joined, I just wasn’t that into it,” Jordan said. “I was just going because it was something to do.”
However, Jordan quickly changed his perspective after participating in the program several days a week and learning the mechanics of boxing. With only a few months of training, Jordan came out swinging and began fighting in local tournaments.
“That’s when I started loving it more and more,” Jordan explained, as he smiled from ear to ear. “I grew up rough and this was structure I wasn’t used to.”
Jordan comes from a single-parent home and is the youngest of five children. He took on adult-like responsibilities at a young age, but never once thought to throw in the towel.
“I know he comes from very humble beginnings and he sets the example for the other kids watching him, both younger and older,” said Dallas Police Sergeant Victor Renteria, #8558, one of the supervisors assigned to the PAL program. “I see the passion he fights with and it amazes me because he fights like it’s his last fight, every single time.”
Police Officer Daniel Espinosa, #9542, trains Jordan at the Janie C. Turner Recreation Center, five days a week, and six if there’s a tournament approaching.
“Hard work and dedication; that’s all you get from Jordan, and that’s all you need,” said Espinosa. “He’s teachable. He listens and strives to be the best boxer he can be.”
The PAL program gives boys and girls a non-confrontational interaction with police officers and creates relationships that better both the officer and the child.
“PAL boxing makes me want to go further in life. I know I can’t get in trouble because it’ll come back to the PAL program,” said Jordan. “And I want to do well in school; I’m trying to get scholarships to college and I want boxing to take me there.”
Jordan aspires to attend Georgetown University and with the PAL program in his corner, coupled with his hard work and dedication, he has a fighting chance.
Written by Officer Tramese Andrews