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irish insider

As captain, Paddy Lawler turns Bouts into family affair

| Friday, March 2, 2018

Paddy Lawler, a senior captain of Bengal Bouts from Lemont, Illinois, never could have imagined the impact the program would have on his college experience and personal growth. What began as a mere curiosity his freshman year quickly evolved into a passion for teamwork and service.

“Fisher [Hall] has a really strong upperclassmen presence in the program. Seeing their success and commitment was enough of a reason for me to come check it out,” Lawler said of his initial involvement. “I fell in love with it immediately.”

As a two-time champion, winning the 157-pound weight class as a sophomore and returning his junior year to win the 166-pound finals, Lawler will finish his career in the 170-pound weight class. Although Lawler loves the competitive aspect of the boxing club, he said the most important part of the program is the work it does for the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh.

“It’s everything. Every dollar we raise multiplies by so much over there,” Lawler said. “The money has a real impact and changes lives.”

He said this year’s team of captains has focused on starting its outreach earlier and using technology and digital portals to better spread their message to supporters. Lawler has personally taken a grassroots approach to garnering donations by reaching out to family and speaking at his home parish. He also said he has found success in selling tickets to students on campus.

“Having been in the program for four years, people have started to identify me as a boxer. I’m able to relay all that the program does,” Lawler said.

Although Lawler has never been to Bangladesh, he said he’s incredibly proud of the program’s mission.

“It’s gone from providing aid to the Bengali people through food and shelter to educating them,” he said. “We’re trying to fix the root problems and hopefully provide them the ability to be economically viable. Bengal Bouts is bringing that to fruition.”

This commitment to service exists throughout the entirety of the club, Lawler said. Every fighter knows that you may win or lose in the ring, but you always win as a member of Bengal Bouts.

He was complimentary of the members who don’t make it to the finals, saying that’s where he noticed the most character.  

“Those guys leave the ring proud of their work. They come back and are a greater force for this club,” he said. “There’s so much more than just those under the lights”

Lawler’s younger brother, Tim, is a freshman at Holy Cross College. In past years, the College has not been allowed to participate in the tournament. However, the competition was opened to them this year because the captains saw it as an opportunity to extend the program’s nature of inclusion and focus on the mission.

“The greatest things boxing provides you with are confidence and reliance on teammates,” Lawler said. “I got to see so much growth in my brother and his friends this season.”

When asked about the honor of being named a captain, Lawler said the first word that came to mind was humbling.

“To be considered as someone people look up to and to be responsible for directing them in their boxing and the mission is incredible,” he said. “We’re forming men who are going to do a lot more than just box in their lives.”

Lawler said Bengal Bouts’ effect on campus is comparable to Notre Dame’s global impact.

“Just as Notre Dame is the most well-rounded University, Bengal Bouts is the most well-rounded club,” he said. “We’re exercising and learning leadership and character skills, all founded on a mission of service.”

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