Rolling with the punches

Four-time boxing champion David Schacter interns for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid

6/22/2009 | By: Guia Del Prado  |

University of Nevada, Reno alum David Schacter has the uncanny ability to make mere moments into opportunities. In the boxing ring as a former collegiate boxer, this talent has served him well, earning him the National Collegiate Boxing Champion four times over. In both the cultivation and as a result of this talent, Schacter has studied abroad in Costa Rica, Thailand and China, even getting the chance to train with martial arts practitioners in Thailand and China.

Most recently, Schacter has begun an eight-week summer internship with U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in Washington D.C. In his first week in the capital, he has caught the attention of the Senator as well as the local media. While this ability may seem more akin to luck, it is actually a combination of his magnetism and intelligence.

Mr. Schacter goes to Washington

“Reading the packet they sent us, it’s like we get to see and meet a lot of people but we’re not really stuck with too much responsibility as an intern,” Schacter said of his internship. “Just use this opportunity to make contacts and to see how the government system really works.”

Even before Schacter left for Washington D.C., he spoke of the internship in the Democratic Multimedia Center as an opportunity, a word he often invoked, consciously or not, when speaking of his adventures. Still, Schacter didn’t originally intend to go straight to the nation’s capital.

While studying abroad in Shanghai, China this past spring, he planned on spending the summer at an internship in a hotel in Holland. But when he didn’t hear any word from them, he realized it was time to move on. It was when Schacter’s mother called Sen. Reid’s office about getting Reid’s recent book “The Good Fight” autographed and signed that they started finding out more about internship opportunities.

“I asked what the conditions were and they said it was no pay and no housing,” he said. “I called my family and my mom said to just do it, don’t give this up, it’s a great opportunity. I’ve done a lot of research on Reid and his policies. I’m not too worried.”

And as it turns out he didn’t have much to worry about. On his first day there, he and Sen. Reid, a former amateur boxer, met and exchanged boxing stories. The following day, after a Democratic weekly luncheon, Sen. Reid pulled Schacter up to a podium and introduced him to a group of reporters at a press stakeout.

“That was pretty crazy,” Schacter said in an email to family and friends. “I didn’t realize the magnitude of the event I was a part of. He asked if I was ready to go a few rounds in my ear and then in front of everyone, pulled me up and introduced me. I had no idea it was coming.”

“Many intelligent and motivated young men and women have been interns in my office, and David is no exception,” Reid said. “Just as David used talent, hard work and focus to bring about success in the boxing ring, he is now using the same formula out of the ring. I thank David and all of my interns for their dedication to serving the people of Nevada.”

Schacter hopes to continue on in Sen. Reid’s office, whether he would stay in the capital, or in Senate Majority Leader’s many offices in Nevada. Though Schacter said he hopes to stay in Nevada, for him, location is nothing in the face of new opportunities.

An Unusual College Career

Even before Schacter graduated from college, which he did this past May, he’s already rounded up an impressive repertoire of studying abroad. Throughout Schacter’s college career, he mixed his love of travel with his love of boxing. In the fall, he would study abroad and in the spring, he would train for the National Collegiate Championships.

He first studied abroad as a sophomore in fall 2005 at the Puntarenas program in Costa Rica through the University Studies Abroad Consortium. The following fall he studied at Rangsit University in Thailand, but only after spending a couple of summer months in a boxing camp with the Thai Olympic Team. In summer 2007, Schacter also went to Puerto Rico to train at a boxing camp. He studied in his fifth and final year of college in Chengdu, China in the fall semester and in Shanghai, China in the spring semester to finish up his business classes abroad.

While in China, Schacter trained in martial arts at a Shaolin Temple and attended the annual World Boxing Council conference which was held in Chengdu. It was at that conference where Schacter’s love of boxing, his tact, and knowledge of Chinese and Spanish really came together.

“In the daytime, I’d go and do the tour with the group and then at night I’m taking out the fighters to the clubs and hanging out with some guys in the lobby,” he said. “So I’m running around translating. I think that’s what I’d like to do, something with boxing.”

Though Schacter doesn’t plan to keep on boxing, he reminisces on his boxing days fondly. He first started Thai boxing at the age of 11 at the Master Toddy Muay Thai Academy in Las Vegas. After graduating early from high school and briefly attending a community college, Schacter set his sights on the University of Nevada, Reno. Mike Martino, a former Wolf Pack boxer and boxing coach, invited Schacter to Reno. Since then, Schacter has been a star of the team, being one of the only boxers in collegiate sports history to win all four of the national championships in his 132 pound weight class.

While Schacter is well known for this feat, he hasn’t let it get to his head. 

“When you’re in the ring, you always get nervous,” he said. “Even if you’ve seen him fight before and he’s not that good. You still always get butterflies. The worst part is, even if you cream the guy in the fight, you stand there and the referee holds the hands. He says, ‘The winner is…’ and he just stands there. I swear it takes so long you get so nervous and to feel your hand getting raised, that’s really what it’s all about.”

Schacter seemed ambivalent to name just one career path or future aspiration. Among the many he did name was a position in Sen. Reid’s office, a future in gaming management, continuing his education or a future in the business of boxing. While at first, this made him seem unmotivated or irresolute, it’s easy to see him doing all these things. His skills in the ring, as Sen. Reid has said, do transfer well to his life outside of boxing. Even so, Schacter never forgets the people that have helped him get to where he is.

“I’m so grateful with the USAC programs and boxing and just being able to blend the two of those together,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunity and my family’s support.”


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