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Bengal Bouts

Pete McGinley goes from ring to D.C. to Bangladesh

| Friday, February 27, 2015

McGinley-center Blue, 20150224, Annmarie Soller, Bengal Bouts, boxing, JACC, SemifinalsAnnmarie Soler

Boxing was not something senior Pete McGinley ever really had an interest in before coming to Notre Dame. Nonetheless, it did not take long for Bengal Bouts to capture his intrigue.

“I started my freshman year after I heard about it from a sophomore in my dorm,” McGinley said. “I then got hooked based on the mission part of it, the physical part of it and the weird team aspect that exists within what is an individual sport. I had never heard of Bengal Bouts before I got here, so it was a pleasant surprise. I was pretty bummed when I got here because we didn’t have club baseball, which is what I thought I’d be doing. So I had to find something else, and this was a good substitute.”

Despite his early start, McGinley’s enthusiasm did not translate into success his first year in the ring.

“Freshman year, I got destroyed,” McGinley said. “It was terrible. I lost in the first round and didn’t really understand what it took to be good then, so it was a good learning experience.”

After his early exit, McGinley made an effort to drastically improve his skill set over the course of his sophomore year and had much more success in his second experience in the Bengal Bouts tournament.

“Sophomore year, I got more serious, made some new friends who were more serious about it and made it to the semifinals,” he said.

Unfortunately for McGinley, his momentum from his sophomore campaign to the semifinals was halted when he spent the spring semester of his junior year in Washington and had to miss Bengal Bouts. McGinley said taking his junior year off led to some preseason uneasiness as he headed into his senior year and final Bengal Bouts tournament.

“Not fighting last year made me kind of nervous of how I thought it would go this year, but then I started going to practice in October with some of the first-year guys and started getting back into shape and into the swing of things,” he said.

McGinley 1 Blue, 20150224, Annmarie Soller, Bengal Bouts, boxing, JACC, Semifinals-2Annmarie Soler

Being away from the club for a year did nothing to deter from McGinley’s aspirations to be a captain for his senior year, and he cited a trip to Bangladesh as one of his specific inspirations for shooting for the position.

“I think everyone kind of wants to be [a captain],” McGinley said. “It’s one of those things where you see other guys doing it, and you think of how cool it would be to be in their shoes. You basically get to run the club with Nate, who is our coach, and your hands are on everything when you’re a captain.

“Also, I went to Bangladesh after my sophomore year, and after you do that, you want to do as much as you can. I wanted to help the club and be a good ambassador for the club, and being a captain was the best way to do that.”

In terms of the highlight of his career, McGinley reflected on the very first fight he won.

“The highlight [of my career] would probably be the first fight I won, which was my first fight sophomore year,” he said. “[It] was nice after the long layoff from freshman year, but it was also a good learning experience.

“I was a little bit too aggressive [freshman year], and the fight only went one round, so I should have let it last longer to get more experience in the ring. But I was able to learn from that, and something like that hasn’t happened since.”

When asked about what he will miss most about Bengal Bouts, McGinley was quick to mention the group camaraderie associated with what, on the surface, appears to be simply an individual sport.

“I’m going to miss being around the group of guys that are here,” he said. “The captains, specifically, have become some of my closest friends. But also just being around the team in general. I think a lot of guys would say they miss being part of a team like they were in high school, so, at least for me, I would say this has filled the void left by high schools sports.”

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