Boxing with purpose
Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, March 11, 2008
In response to Ryan Simmons’ “Strong Bodies Fight” (Feb. 28), I agree that there is much more to the Bengal Bouts than winning a trophy. The Bouts do a fantastic job of raising money for the poor and underprivileged of Bangladesh. His view that all the practices and training were worthwhile, even though he does not get to fight, is a great view of the situation and one that I’m sure the boxing club desires for all their fighters.
However, I have a problem with Simmons’ statement that “…selfish pride is for freshmen and novices who learn to drop after their first year.” First, I would not consider fighting just for a shot to win “selfish pride.” Numerous fighters enter the ring to prove to themselves that they are capable of facing fear, taking a punch and delivering one back. Some happen to be good at it and enjoy it – others, not so much.
Who’s to say if one enters the Bouts in order to try to win is because of selfish pride? It could be out of a competitive nature and the desire to win – all the while keeping the mission of the Bouts in perspective.
Furthermore, I see no correlation between this so-called “selfish pride” and freshman and novices who drop after their first year. Simmons is wrong judging those who do not fight after their first year. Those young men (and women of the Baraka Bouts) should be complimented and applauded for at least trying and having the courage to enter the ring, not ridiculed because they find it is not for them. Their one year of service did not go to waste. They participated in the Bengal Bouts and helped raise money for the Bangladesh Missions.
Many fighters participate for one year to say they gave it a shot, and in the process helped a great cause. As a former Bengal Bouts participant (only fighting one year), I am disappointed Simmons believes fighters drop after one year due to “selfish pride.” Before joining the boxing club, I had never been in a true fight. I wanted to participate in the Bouts in order to prove to myself that I can take a punch and return it while helping a great cause along the way. However, this year I joined the Notre Dame Rugby Club and to add boxing, along with other activities and school, would be far too great a time commitment for me. I’m sure others have not boxed after their first year due to similar reasons, or because of class, or because boxing simply wasn’t their thing.
Bengal Bouts participants deserve a great amount of respect, and the purpose of the fights should be kept in mind. However, those who box but do not continue after their first year should not be associated with “selfish pride,” but instead remembered and applauded for their year of dedication, hard work, and service.