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What are you fighting for?

Allan Joseph and Chris Allen | Thursday, March 10, 2011

All right, we’re guilty. Sometimes we whine about working at The Observer; it often goes hand-in-hand with our griping about the weather and the weird things that go along with Notre Dame. But sometimes we get the opportunity to be a part of something, even indirectly, that reminds us why we’re so lucky to be a part of this University.

Over the past two months, we have had the good fortune of organizing the Observer’s coverage of Bengal Bouts. It’s been a lot of work –– there’s no denying that. In getting to know the boxers and going inside the boxing club to learn about the motivations and backgrounds of the various fighters, however, we have been inspired.

It’s evident that this club is not one that sees the support of the Holy Cross missions as a fortunate byproduct of their fights. Everything they do is imbued with a sense of purpose, a sense of being a part of something greater than oneself, and a sense of fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves.

 These boxers take to heart their motto: “Strong bodies fight, so that weak bodies may be nourished.” Most telling were the interviews with each one of the captains that formed the basis of our feature stories in last Friday’s paper. The captains spoke to our writers with smiles on their faces and joy in their expressions that transcended boxing — they were telling in words the stories of the Holy Cross missions that they set out to tell every time they step between the ropes and box.

For none of the captains is the boxing club just a hobby — it is a way of life. Each one of the captains who had been to Bangladesh to visit the mission called it a transformative experience ­ and they meant it. Senior Mike Doran said it best; “A win in the ring is awesome, but there’s no better feeling than sending over a check for $150,000 that you know is going to change kids’ lives.”

The Bouts exemplify Notre Dame. They are truly a representation of what this University is about — using our own personal talents to make the world a better place. To bring about this change through boxing — truly one of the most physically demanding sports in the world — makes their work all the more amazing. The series of “What Are You Fighting For?” promotional videos put out by Notre Dame are taken literally in Bengal Bouts — it begs any spectator to consider whether they are in fact putting their own talents to best use.

We have been privileged to cover Bengal Bouts over the past month, and to see firsthand the dedication it takes to fight for something you believe in. To the men and women who contribute to the mission of Bengal Bouts, from the co-presidents on down, thank you for what you do. Thank you for giving this whole Notre Dame community a model of compassion to aspire to.