Rock ‘N Rumble VII: Ben Pease
Monday, March 6 2017
During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Rock ‘N Rumble VII in Boston, MA on May 18th. They’ve committed to four months of fundraising and training in preparation to get in the ring and literally fight for a cure. Whether their mom is battling, their father has passed or their friend has put up a victory against the disease – they’ve all got a story to tell and they’ve all got a reason to fight. Below you’ll hear from Ben Pease, fighting out of EverbodyFights FiDi in Boston, MA.
Where are you from?
As an Air Force brat who moved around a bit growing up, this is always a loaded question. I like to say that I got a tiny bit of southern charm from Louisiana, a good bit of attitude and ego from New Jersey, and a few of my better qualities from New Hampshire, which is where I’ve spent most of my adult life.
Where’d you go to college?
I started adulthood in a bit of a hurry. When I was 18, I got married, had a kid, and started a full-time job as a trader at Fidelity. At 19, I bought a multi-family house and became a landlord. That didn’t stop me from going to college right away, of course. I juggled full-time night school at Southern New Hampshire University and graduated alongside my peers in 4 years – the main difference being that I showed up after work while they were having fun back in the dorms bouncing ping-pong balls into plastic cups.
Did you play any sports growing up?
I did until college….but students who work a full-time day job and go to full-time night school can’t make it to practices. Prior to college, I was active in soccer, basketball, and baseball. Currently, I play in a men’s basketball league and take time throughout the week to coach my kid's recreational teams.
What do you do for work?
I’m a trader; I transact in bonds for separately managed fixed income portfolios. It doesn’t sound as sexy as a firefighter or a personal trainer, nor does it keep me in as good of a shape, but I enjoy what I do and maintain a great deal of respect for the integrity of the firm that I work for and the people that I work with. I think that is important.
You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure - where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
Hearing the doctor tell my family that my only sister, Jessica, had terminal cancer was a crushing and devastating day. It was a moment I can clearly recount, and still rattles me deeper than I’d like to admit when I reflect on it. I try to avoid the subject in conversations because I hate talking about it. I hate thinking about it. I hate everything about it. Unfortunately, we aren’t the only family that has to go through this. And that is why I’m fighting – to get the attention of people in my circles…to raise money to create treatments and cures. I’m not the guy who ever starts a fight. I’m not in the best shape of my life. I’m not at my prime. And I don’t particularly enjoy being punched in the face. Rather, this is a platform. Hopefully the thought of seeing me smacked around has incentivized some people to donate to the future of a cure. I reject any belief that we can’t cure cancer. I am raising money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where my sister gets treatment and where new treatments are found and tested. My sister, Jessica, fights every day. She battles terminal cancer, bouts of depression, stress, and intense chemo treatments. She is the true fighter, I am not.
Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
I had gloves as a teenager, and all I needed was a fenced in yard and someone else to hit. Unfortunately, the latter was harder to find than you’d think, so I didn’t get much use out of them. Even as a young adult in my early 20s, I wanted lessons and desired to learn the sport, but life has a way of moving faster than we expect. Now that I’m not so young - nor as fast or as strong - I figure this may be my last opportunity to get in the ring and fight. Normally, I would not have had the guts at this point in my life, but I believe in what we are fighting for.
What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching TV?)
This is probably the easiest question of all. I miss beer. Just kidding, I’m not a drinker. But the obvious answer to me is my wife and kids. Being away from my family for this training is more difficult than any bootcamp, class, or workout that I will see over the next several months. I adore my wife, she is absolutely amazing, and without her full support I would not have thought twice about signing up. And I’m crazy about my kids. They have brought me joy and pride that is impossible to put into words. I’m hopeful that, win or lose, my kids will see the dedication and sacrifice I put into this process and be inspired. I believe we should model for our children with our actions and decisions, and I want them to understand that nothing is more honorable than sacrificing for other people. If an opportunity exists to sow love or healing into the lives of your neighbor, take that opportunity. A man who hung on a cross once said the same two things more-or-less, and I want my kids to live for life impact and not only to acquire material possessions and personal success. If I can show them any part of that, I have succeeded as a father. This is one small step in that effort.
When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Lately, I haven’t had as much time for other interests. This training is no joke! I guess I could say that when I’m not hanging out with my family, I hang out with people from my second ‘family’ from Granite United Church. The people we have met there are awesome and we seem to always have something going on with the friends we’ve made there; whether a game night, a barbecue, a volunteer activity, sports, a hike, a beach trip, a snowboarding outing, doing something for someone in need, or any one of many activities. As long as I’m with my family, or my ‘family’, I’m probably having a good time somewhere. When it comes to having a good time, the ‘what’ and ‘where’ is far less important to me than the ‘who’.
Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
Wow. Tough question. At this point, I think my son (and biggest fan) is the most excited for my fight in general, but he’s unable to attend and actually hopes I win. In terms of who wants to see me punched in the face, I can think of a few people at work who probably hope I’m on the floor looking up by the end of it. I also think ‘21-year-old Ben’ wants ‘35-year-old Ben’ to get knocked around a bit, just to see if he can still take it.
Be sure to check out his fundraising page here. Best of luck, Ben!