Most people think of "Rocky" when they think of boxing gyms: lots of sweat, the pop and smack of gloves hitting practice mitts, sparring overseen by a grizzled, old trainer squinting around a burning cigarette. And some of that is part of the atmosphere upon entering Valor Elite Training Center in Medford (scratch the grizzled trainer and especially the cigarette smoke).
And no, the "Rocky" theme isn't playing as Valor Elite's very special group of students arrives Thursday mornings.
This is trainer Tim Trujillo's favorite class of the week. For two years, Valor Elite has donated a weekly boxing class to a group of young adults from Southern Oregon Education Service District's transitional program. The program assists students who have varying degrees of intellectual and/or developmental disabilities with job training and other life skills that lead to adult independence after graduation.
Trujillo greets this class of 14 or so, ranging in age from 18 to 21, with an endearingly upbeat and boisterous style.