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Bengal Bouts

Despite injury, Chris Tricario still at home with club

| Friday, February 27, 2015

Senior Chris Tricarico says there isn’t much of a story about how he became involved with Notre Dame Boxing. But his decision to attend practice one day was the first step on a journey that would send him to the other side of the world and ensure he’d stay connected to Bengal Bouts even when he couldn’t fight.

“I actually just showed up to practice randomly my sophomore year,” Tricarico said. “I didn’t really plan on it; I didn’t have any fighting experience, but I heard my friends were going, showed up, loved it and went every day since.”

Senior Chris Tricario, right, fights during the 2014 Bengal Bouts at Joyce Fieldhouse. Tricario was unable to participate in this year’s competition due to an injury but remained involved in Bengal Bouts.Caroline Genco | The Observer

Senior Chris Tricario, right, fights during the 2014 Bengal Bouts at Joyce Fieldhouse. Tricario was unable to participate in this year’s competition due to an injury but remained involved in Bengal Bouts.

Tricarico was unable to enter this year’s event due to an injury to the labrum in his hip, but his role as a captain has opened a new opportunity for him: mentoring younger boxers in hopes they’ll fall in love with boxing in the same way he did.

“I’ve honestly just loved being a captain,” Tricarico said. “I kind of see myself in a lot of the kids who are novices, coming up, trying to work real hard and win this thing.

“I’ve been cornering for a lot of people, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It keeps me involved. A lot of the fighters this year have actually been to Bangladesh, maybe even the majority, and that’s the first time — at least that I’ve known — that’s been the case, so we’ve really had a strong emphasis on fundraising and the missions. Even though I’m hurt and can’t fight this year, I feel like we’ve made good steps towards this goal and it’s something that I’m proud of.”

Tricarico won the 146-pound title last year, beating sophomore Garrett Schmelling in the final, but as far as he’s concerned, the most important part of Bengal Bouts isn’t who wins. It’s the impact of the money raised for Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh.

“Winning last year was a really positive experience,” Tricarico said. “It was nice to see all of the hard work pay off, but at the end of the day it’s really not about me winning, not about me being appreciated. It’s about raising as much money as possible for the missions.”

This impact — which Tricarico saw firsthand when visiting Bangladesh last summer — is what the senior said ensured he would commit his time to helping younger fighters after discovering his injury.

“We’re dealing with the indigenous people there who are oppressed by the Muslim majority,” said Tricarico. “They’re in this hopeless situation, so for us to go over there and look at them and tell them ‘200 people you haven’t met are fighting for you every day. You’ve never met them before, they’re on the other side of the world,’ and to see the way they react to that, the way their eyes light up and the way it gives them hope, I think that was probably the most meaningful experience I had.”

Tricarico says his experience in Bangladesh hasn’t just affected his commitment to Notre Dame Boxing; it’s also changed him as a person and taught him about the value of service. It’s a change in his life he never imagined when he showed up to practice just to give boxing a try, he said.

“There’s so many things that I learned from getting to visit Bangladesh. I guess it changed the way I look at service in general. It’s one thing just sending money over and doing the right thing, but it’s another to go over there, form a relationship and let those people know that we care about them; we want to be involved in their lives. It made me see the personal side of service.”

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

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  • Anonymous

    A majority of fighters have not been over to Bangladesh. That’s a misprint. Only about 9 guys in the program this year have been/or will be going.