Who are you and how long have you been “Daddyin’”?
My name is DeWayne Morris. I'm a firefighter here for the city of Huntsville as well as the Owner of & Lead Trainer at The Hot Box. I've been Daddyin' Since 2008 & renewed my membership in 2020.
So you have a really dope story! Can you tell us what it took to get your training studio off the ground?
I really took a leap of faith originally to open The Hot Box. I didn't have the money or the clientele to open my own training studio, but the opportunity presented itself, so I went for it. Eventually, the costs of doing business left me with the choice of giving up the gym or giving up my apartment. For me, it was an easy decision. I moved all my furniture into storage & took up residence in the back closet of The Hot Box.
For a long time, not very many people knew my living situation. On my weekends with my oldest son, I'd always stay at my parents' house. I told him I was working on getting a house (which was partially true). I made sure to never miss my time with him while I continued to grow my business, work for the fire dept & even part time with HEMSI.
You recently got married and had a baby. How do you balance being an owner, a Father, and a husband?
Honestly, all the hats I wear bring me joy, so balancing them out is more of a labor of love than anything. Oftentimes, the roles overlap. Blaze & KD spend time with me while I'm training at THB. My wife also works out at the gym. In my time outside the business, I give my everything to those 3. It's a very happy life for me at this point.
I love to hear that. What lessons has Fatherhood taught you? Additionally, what lessons has creating a blended family taught you?
Fatherhood helped reinforce the work ethic & willingness to sacrifice for my family that being raised by my father had already shown me. I feel like my effort to always put my kids first and do whatever to make them happy has rubbed off on those around me. Our little village gets along well & always puts the kids first, so it's been smooth as far as our little blended family goes.
What advice would you give an upcoming Father?
Always put your family first, but don't dive so deep into "the grind" that you forget that time spent is the most important aspect of fatherhood. Checks don't give hugs.
"Checks don't give hugs." Bars lol. What does the term “Daddy” mean to you? Is it different from “Father”?
Daddy is much more of a term of endearment. It's often spoken by younger children up to preteens/early teens. I feel like it's the purest name of love a child can call their father. "Daddy" often gets outgrown as children mature, especially boys. "I love you, Daddy." will always hit deep.
Describe the importance of Black Fathers being surrounded by other Black Fathers?
The world would have you believe that Black Fathers are nearly nonexistent when research proves quite the opposite. I believe the volume on those telling stories of absent fathers is way too loud when compared to the stories of those doing exactly what they're supposed to do. I think having peers in your same situation allows for you to have people to lean on as far as parenting advice or just to know you're not in it alone.
I agree. Ok, last question. What are the future plans for The HotBox? Is there anything else you would like for people to know about the gym?
The Hot Box will soon be the only full service, 24/7 facility in North Huntsville. We plan to expand to 3 locations within the next 5 years; helping bring more people throughout Madison County closer to their health goals.
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