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Thank you, Notre Dame Boxing

| Friday, December 2, 2016

Three years ago I received a nudge from my older brother, a coach for the Notre Dame boxing program on campus, to train for Baraka Bouts. Taking his advice, I nervously went to “the Pit” and left the informational meeting with hope and excitement for the season ahead. While I had never pictured boxing being a part of my time at Our Lady’s University, after the first practice in September of 2014, I was hooked.

Fast forward through hundreds of workouts, a dozen spars, and three tournaments later, I found myself crying as I stepped out of the ring for the last time. Now, I am not someone who often gets emotional or tears up when saying goodbye, but I cried that night as my time with ND Boxing came to an end. Looking back on my years with this club, I am filled with gratitude for the sport and all those who have journeyed with me. In turn, I feel the overwhelming need to give thanks.

ND Boxing, thank you for pushing me past physical and mental barriers when I wanted to give up. Thank you for helping me work through breakups and tough classes. Thank you for challenging me to recognize my own strength. Thank you for introducing me to some of the most incredible and empowering women on this campus. Thank you for letting me be a part of a team once again. And above all else, thank you for centering everything on the Holy Cross Missions.

To my fellow boxers and our dedicated coaches, thank you for inspiring me daily to be a better version of myself in and out of the ring. Thank you for reminding me that I am strong, and that I am called to fight for a bigger purpose.

To my family, friends and the residents of Badin Hall, thank you for supporting me in my training and fundraising for months on end. Thank you for believing in me and making me feel so loved.

While many girls who participate in Baraka Bouts might share some or all of these feelings of gratitude, there is one aspect of my three years with this club that no one else can probably fathom — I was able to share them with my brother, Matt. So I must say, thank you ND Boxing, for giving me the greatest excuse to hang out with Matt every day. I never would have had the courage to step into the ring if I did not receive the encouragement from him during my sophomore year, and I truly owe it all to him.

So finally, thank you, Matt. Thank you for the moments we were able to share in the Pit as we danced around the ring, threw mitts and worked out with the medicine ball. Thank you for the pep talks, the numerous texts each day asking how I was feeling and the looks exchanged across the gym at practice. Thank you for never leaving practice without saying, “I love ya, Case!” and giving me a hug. But most of all, thank you for always being in my corner throughout life.

To any student, male or female, who has considered joining the boxing program at Notre Dame, I say go for it. Learn a new sport, grow physically and mentally and fight for others who need your help. I promise you will leave the ring a different person from when you entered. I sure know I did.

Casey Gelchion


Nov. 21

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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