The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Older brother inspires Ryan’s love for boxing

Jared Jedick | Friday, March 14, 2008

It’s all about work ethic with senior captain Pat Ryan, who finds almost nothing more rewarding than the time he’s put into Bengal Bouts over the past four years building relationships, imparting his knowledge on others and helping those in need.

“I have so much fun doing this,” Ryan said. “I love going to work every day, working hard, and there is nothing I would rather be doing.”

Especially important to Ryan are the relationships he has formed with those who have accompanied him along the way.

“An amazing thing is just the team camaraderie aspect of it all,” Ryan said. “You get used to being around these guys everyday, and you form some pretty strong friendships.”

Ever humble, Ryan never thought that he would be able to rise up through the ranks and become a Bengal Bouts captain. Fate seemed to be on Ryan’s side, however, as his older brother, Peter Ryan, was a four-time champion.

“Watching my brother do all the stuff he did for Bengal Bouts helped inspire me a little bit,” Ryan said. “I got to see the whole thing, and I thought it was really cool.”

Also working in Ryan’s favor was his extensive background in sports. Ryan was a three-sport high school athlete, playing basketball, football and tennis.

“My athletic nature really inclined me towards Bengal Bouts from the start,” Ryan said. “I was used to being around athletic people, and I liked the friendships that I formed there.”

Nonetheless, when the call came from last year’s captains that they wanted him to help lead the program, Ryan was in shock.

“I never really considered being a captain, so I was surprised when they selected me,” he said. “But if I had to give one reason why they selected me, I would have to say that it is my work ethic.”

It is a strong work ethic that has been with Ryan since the very beginning.

“Going in, I had no idea what to expect,” Ryan said. “But when I got there on day one, I said to myself, ‘I can do this’.”

Since that day freshman year, Ryan has never skipped out on a practice.

Ryan said the presence of his teammates inspires him day in and day out.

“The great thing about Bengal Bouts is that it is such a selfless activity,” Ryan said. “These kids come here because they are willing to work hard every day and develop a skill and form friendships. Plus, they get to really help the needy in Bangladesh.”

This year’s captains have meshed well together, Ryan said.

“I’m really proud of what we have been able to do this year as a group of captains,” he said. “This is really a great group of guys.”

Transitioning from being just another one of the guys in the Bouts into being a captain and having the responsibility of teaching others wasn’t easy for Ryan.

“You just really need to break it down for them, and then drill it into them,” Ryan said.

Seeing those he has taught put their talents to good use in the ring is inspiring for Ryan.

“It is weird seeing two guys in the ring and wanting them both to win because you have seen how hard both of them have worked,” Ryan said. “Whoever wins, we just really love to see them do it.”

Another important aspect for Ryan is the difference he believes the Bouts are making for the impoverished of Bangladesh in conjunction with the Holy Cross missions.

“What we do here will help them so much,” Ryan said. “With the money we can raise, we can provide food and an education for so many. I believe we are really making a difference, and hopefully with the program growing, we will be able to make an even greater difference in the future.”

Beyond Bangladesh, the Bouts makes a difference in the lives of all those who participate in it. It’s that mission that Ryan wants others to remember.

“I don’t want to be the focus,” Ryan said. “What I really want people to know is that we are trying to make a difference in people’s lives.”