Chattanooga-(WDEF) Our Father's Day series on sports continues with Joe Smith and his son Andy.
Boxing became their passion.
And they have used their love of the sport to touch the lives of so many kids in the Chattanooga area.
Once Andy Smith got into boxing as a young kid at the Red Bank Boxing Club, his father joined him by becoming the kids endurance trainer.
Said Joe,"I would run with those kids every day."
Said Andy,"We went running one time down Dayton Boulevard. We were going to come up the railroad tracks at the backside. We had a kid that kind of got behind, and he missed the turn off, and he stayed on the railroad tracks. An hour-and-a-half later, he's calling on a cell phone from gas station. He was in Hixson lost."
A few years later, Joe Smith felt a calling to teach boxing to inner city kids.
"How I can just develop relationships with kids that are just drawn to combat sports."
Andy and Joe eventually founded the Westside Boxing Club.
They love the values boxing teaches, which Andy saw first hand during a match in the Dominican Republic.
"One young man after his first match sat down in the ring. And he took his shoes off and gave them to his opponent because his opponent was boxing in tennis shoes."
Andy and Joe have become heavy hitters in the boxing world.
Andy has served as a trainer for USA boxing, while Joe has served as a team manager.
Said Joe,"Again, I don't think in the history of USA boxing where there has been a father and a son apart of two Olympic teams."
Added Andy,"I would have never dreamed that as a ten-year-old boy that I would have gone one and helped coach two Olympic teams. Even more importantly than that, being apart of so many children in this community that have come through these doors that we have seen their lives transformed just from a boxing glove."
Funny how life works.
A sport the Smiths never dreamed of participating in has become their profession, and enhanced their relationship.
Said Andy,"The cool thing is the kids here can see that okay, a daddy and a son can have a relationship, and they can make it work. This is what happens if they work together."
Said Joe,"For us to have this together, and my best friend in the world is my son. What else could a man want."