INSIDER: RA inspired Himel to box
Alex Bender | Friday, February 26, 2016
For Sean Himel, both his position as a senior captain of Bengal Bouts and his chance to win a title were unexpected when he first arrived on campus his freshman year. Himel said he had never boxed before, and needed a little encouragement to start, but once he got going, he loved it.
“Actually my RA at the time kind of twisted my arm, telling me I had to get out there,” Himel said. “So I decided to give it a chance and when I went out there, I just fell in love with it.
“Obviously there was the physical aspect with everyone pushing each other, but I was even more drawn in by the team aspect, which I found weird because boxing is such an individualistic sport, but the team is all about bolstering each other and trying to help each other out. I’m thinking to myself, ‘Man I’m competing against these guys?’ but the whole team spirit overcomes all that.”
Once he was hooked by the camaraderie of the Bouts, Himel said the mission-oriented focus of the club made him truly committed.
“Finally, it was learning about the mission as we got closer to the tournament that really sealed the deal and made me fall in love with it,” Himel said. “Ever since freshman year I’ve wanted to go to Bangladesh, and then sophomore year I got the opportunity to go, which was awesome, and really this whole experience has been amazing.”
Himel has seen a great deal of success over his four years as a member of Bengal Bouts despite never having been interested in boxing before college. During his time at Notre Dame, he has only lost to two fighters: Chris DeLillo in 2013 and Ryan Dunn in each of the last two years.
“This will be my fourth year of doing it, but I’ve only lost to two people during my time in this,” Himel said. “The first year I lost to a senior in a split decision. It was a pretty good fight, and I was pretty excited to be in the ring, even though it didn’t go my way. Second year, I made it to the [quarterfinals] before I got knocked out in the second round. Last year actually turned out to be same story, as I met the same guy in the quarters and got knocked out again in the same way. It can be frustrating and make you want to quit, but I came back, and I’m heading on to the [championship this weekend], so I’m excited about that.”
This week is a tough time for many of the seniors who are fighting in their last matches, and Himel said he has taken some time to reflect on some of his favorite memories from his Bengal Bouts career.
“Number one memory that comes to mind is about one of the coaches from previous years, Tom Suddes,” Himel said. “He used to always be around at the end of a tough practice when you just felt like you got your butt kicked, and he would just sit you there and give you these awesome speeches, and I felt like I could move mountains after those speeches. It’s memories like those that make this experience of mine so awesome.”
As his time with Bengal Bouts draws to a close, Himel said he will miss the Bouts and all it stands for.
“I will definitely miss being able to compete on such a big stage under the lights and having the opportunity to fundraise for such a great cause and being able to make a big difference at this early point in my life,” Himel said. “There’s no other organization that does exactly what Bengal Bouts does, and I’ll certainly miss that.
“Honestly the whole experience will be missed whether it’s the camaraderie with the teammates or the coaches, it all means so much to me. There’s no other experience like this and being around these guys. You just get so engrossed in it, and you really don’t know what it’s like until you get involved. You wish you could be here every hour of every week.”