Paul Hatfield was born on October 16, 1927, To Earl and Norma Hatfield, on a farm in Freedom, Maryland. Paul was the youngest of two brothers and one sister - Howard, Ken, and Charlotte. He was born with a congenital heart defect - a pin-sized hole which caused his heart to have a murmur, and which apparently also caused him to have a frail physique. The doctor said that he wouldn't live past the age of 18. My father lived to be 72 years old! But this wasn't just a case of a poor diagnosis. The diagnosis was correct - and the prognosis seemed to be right as well.
Paul's family left the farm and moved to Baltimore's West side, where he was picked on by the other boys in the neighborhood because of his small stature. Paul then started to hang out in Little Italy, where some of the boys there began training Paul to be a boxer so he could defend himself against the bullies in his neighborhood. The doctor warned Paul not to exert himself physically, for it might put a strain on his heart and possibly kill him. But it was hard to tell whether Paul's slight body build was caused by the heart murmur or the doctor-recommended inactivity. He decided to prove the doctor wrong. He thought: "If I build my body up, I can overcome the effects of the heart murmur. I'll make myself into a Superman!"
My father was so motivated to change his life, that by the time he entered adulthood, HE HAD A BODY LIKE CHARLES ATLAS! He became a winning amateur boxer, and wanted to be a prize fighter very badly, but the heart murmur kept him from going pro. That didn't stop my father from achieving his dreams! One day, he was walking into the gym shadowboxing and thinking about the "old days" on the farm, when he saw something that changed his life. To find out what, click here to read about how Paul Hatfield turned adversity into good fortune!