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Retired principal forges social connection through boxing

A former primary school principal is running a men’s-only boxing group that strengthens blokes’ connections around a shared passion.

For 30 years, on Wednesday nights, Geoff has connected with mates over boxing.

“I have a few mates come around, and we get the gloves on,” he tells R U OK? for its When Life Happens series.

"We'll sort of do a little bit of pad work, have a bit of a laugh. And then at the end of it, we sit around and talk.” 

Geoff says many of his mates are also retired and acknowledged the lack of purpose for some men once they no longer had work to occupy their days.

“We talk about things that are happening in the moment,” he says. “And most of it’s pretty good, but on occasion there’ll be something that’s disturbing or concerning one of them.”

He says the group has strengthened his mental health and encourages others to think about shared activities that could bring mates together regularly.

“People don’t want a solution or an answer; it’s about being a listener. It’s nice for them to be able to air things.”

RUOK? has a dedicated ‘men’s stories’ section on its website that shows men have both found support in tough times, and given it.

Topics include talking to a mate who is stressed about finances, helping a mate who is feeling lonely, and building mentally healthy workplaces.


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