My name is Francisco Diaz. But don’t call me that. Don’t call me Francis, Frankie, or Frank either. I go by my nickname, Paco. When I tell you to call me Paco, I mean it. The last thing you want to do is make me mad. When I get mad everything gets hazy and el fuego, the fire, takes over. Once that fire’s lit, there’s nothing I can do to put it out. So I get into fights all the time at school. Everyone with an opinion wants to help me, but I don’t want their help. My parents are making me see some psychologist, and she recommended that I buy a punching bag. She actually wants me to hit something when I get angry! I guess it’s better than hitting the side of someone’s face.
Here I am, at some dirty gym near my home in Philadelphia. I’m learning how to box so my father won’t send me to military school. The head trainer, Coach Castillo, is tough, and he seems to really have it out for me. Some people heal in a hospital, some heal at home-my therapy starts here in this gym, fighting el fuego.
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