Rock ‘N Rumble VIII: Peter Awad
Wednesday, February 21 2018
During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Rock ‘N Rumble VIII in Boston on May 17th. 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 Peter Awad, fighting out of the EverybodyFights in South Boston.
Where are you from?
Nashville, TN born and raised
Where’d you go to college?
Did you play any sports growing up?
Rowing (college), Lacrosse, Football, Swimming, Basketball, Baseball, etc.
What do you do for work?
Associate at Audax Private Equity
Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
Honestly, I’ve always viewed boxing as a gruesome and violent sport that I had no desire to even watch (this statement really applies more to MMA and I still hold that opinion). I’m a hyper competitive person but not a naturally aggressive person, and it’s been drilled into my head never raise a fist. Nearly every sport I’ve done at a competitive level has been team based and has required physical and mental skills completely different than boxing. For all those reasons, I never thought I would find myself in the ring. When I was trying to figure out whether Haymakers was the right opportunity for me, I dug more into the sport of boxing and the community around it and developed a fresh appreciation for the technical skill, physical dominance, and mental fortitude required to be successful. I wanted a challenge in all three areas and that is exactly what I’ve gotten thus far.
Why on earth did you sign up to fight??
On the boxing side, I’ve spent a few years working long hours, late nights, and spending hours on the road letting my body atrophy and I wanted something structured and intense to kick me back into shape. It’s also a sport that I’ve very recently become fascinated with given its rich history. It’s something unlike anything else I’ve done and is highly appealing for that reason. I can’t imagine a better organization to go through this journey with (ask me again in April though).
On the cause side, cancer is a disease that has impacted my community frequently and often devastatingly. My Mother is an 8 year cancer survivor, my Aunt tragically passed a year ago, and more friends and family than I can count are battling currently or are anxiously awaiting their anniversary check-ups. My Mother’s diagnosis inspired me to spend a good portion of my senior year of HS in a lab at Vanderbilt working on research for radiology treatment enhancement. I ultimately dropped the science path for the business/finance route, but I’ve found myself in a unique position to make an impact financially and emotionally to support and encourage support for those pursuing a cure and providing support along the way. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, there is a self-serving component for all of us as well, as the statistical likelihood is probable enough that each of us will some day need the services of the same people and institutions that I’m looking to support today.
You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure - where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
My Mother bravely and quietly fought through breast cancer when I was a junior in high school. Seeing her strength and selflessness in a time in which she would have been wholly in the right asking for more help and attention was deeply motivating and something I pull on frequently when I feel the need to make excuses. I didn’t appreciate that aspect at the time as I was kept busy by sports, school, work, college apps, etc. (which was part of her plan). In hindsight, my Mother’s refusal to allow her diagnosis to drag others down with it was the ultimate sign of self-sacrifice. Aside from her internal strength, this was only possible with the support of friends and family who helped with cooked meals, rides home from sports, and a host of other seemingly normal activities, but ones that were crucial at the time. Reflecting back on the support network that helped propel by mother through treatment to remission has cemented my belief in the importance of those institutions for decreased mortality. Additional experience with cancer diagnoses in my close friends, family, and teammates further supported my belief in the need for early screening, access to care, and non-medical support networks.
What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching TV?)
Given my work-leisure balance leans severely to the former, I'm relishing in the opportunity to sneak out of the office for training sessions even though it often means sacrificing further on sleep. The biggest sacrifices have been cheese and beer, which are two of my favorite foods. Social life, especially during the winter, often revolves around spending time in bars and out to meals with friends. They've gotten accustomed to me ordering a water and the lowest carb offerings on the menu. I started the year at 213lbs and am already down to ~200lbs on my way to at least 190lbs. Occasionally the desire to indulge is painful, but I’ve felt better overall since switching my habits. Couldn’t be happier, but I could be more well rested.
When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
I love anything in the outdoors—biking, hiking, skiing, swimming, etc.—and I love playing sports regardless of how bad I am (looking at you soccer). During the summer I try to get in rounds of golf as often as possible as I plan ahead for retirement. Most notably, I purchased a large boat in Aug-16 and lived full-time on it in Charlestown for 16 months thru Nov-17, and I’ll be moving back on it this summer. Though I haven’t learned how to fish (well) yet, spending time on the boat and being on the ocean has become a place of peace for me. I’m a major fan of top quality food, and while I’m still working on the kitchen skills, I never turn down the opportunity to try good food and drink. I’m also a politics and history junkie, so I spend more time than is probably healthy fighting the number of unread daily newsletter in my inbox. And finally, when I’m feeling low energy, I’ve got a top level skill for binge watching Netflix/HBO/etc.—I’ve been known to finish seasons a weekend if given the chance. I should probably work to replace that with a good book.
Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
Probably more people than are excited to see me do the punching! The posts of me getting roughed up on Instagram and Facebook have been some of the my most popular posts to date. The energy is palpable!