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irish insider

Cam Nolan keeps perspective throughout process

| Friday, March 1, 2019

For senior Cam Nolan, becoming a Bengal Bouts fighter was originally an attempt to build strong camaraderie with fellow classmates while also satisfying an innate competitive desire.

“I joined my freshman year, I came out for the first practice and I was immediately hooked. The competition, the challenge and the brotherhood all really spoke to me,” the former Duncan Hall resident said. “[Boxing] was just something I picked up freshman year here, I had just heard about the club and decided to give it a try.”

Despite losing in the semifinal round of the Bouts in a hard-fought battle in which the judges originally had a split decision, what kept Nolan in the ring was always much deeper than simply satiating his competitive hunger.

Every summer, four boxers get to travel to Bangladesh to spend two months at the Holy Cross missions there. Nolan, one of the eight captains of Bengal Bouts, said he was lucky enough to embark on this transformative journey.

“After freshman year, I had the opportunity to spend two months in Bangladesh, and I got to see first-hand the impact that we have, and it was unbelievable. It has lit a fire underneath me to fundraise, to train, to help keep this club alive and to help grow this club,” Nolan said. “Whenever I’m struggling, whenever we have a tough practice or a tough day, I think about those kids and I think about how what we do here directly helps so many children on the other side of the world, and that allows me to overcome a lot of challenges and has given me a lot of motivation to work hard for this club.”

Nolan’s experiences in Bangladesh put things into perspective for him, especially in terms of the incredible fundraising platform that this boxing club provides.

“Ever since [the trip], I knew that this is a club that is bigger than myself,” he said. “It is a force for good, and I realized my responsibility in working to make sure the club continues to grow, make money, train and grow students at the University.”

Seeing the impact that his hard work and long hours have on kids hundreds of miles away has provided all the validation Nolan needs in terms of why he’s doing what he’s doing, he said. Nolan explained that the money raised goes to missions serving various indigenous communities, and these missions in turn, “provide education for the children and hostels if their homes are too far from school. The parishes serve as centers for so many of these tribal communities.”

In terms of the future takeaways that competing in Bengal Bouts will leave Nolan with as he commences his journey into the real world, Nolan was adamant that the lessons learned from his experiences will be ones that he carries with him for the rest of his life, independent of the career path he chooses.

“I think the amount of discipline, character and courage it takes is really tremendous. The ability to go out there under the lights and do something truly difficult … it’s hard,” Nolan said. “To perform well, you have to put in months and months of hard work, months of focus and really you have to never let up. If that doesn’t teach you how to succeed in life, nothing will.”

Of the many responsibilities for captains, including leading workouts and making sure fight nights run smoothly, Nolan said he has enjoyed the fundraising effort most. To Nolan, learning exactly where the money goes and how the lives of the people of Bangladesh are forever changed is more rewarding than any win could ever be.

He said he also appreciates watching the transformation of younger boxers, having gone through it himself.

“As a senior, watching the growth and discipline and maturity, knowing I was on the other side four years ago, it’s something I couldn’t have learned through anything else,” Nolan said.

The message and advice Nolan has for anybody who is on the fence about joining, or who is planning on partaking in the years to come is simple: Give it everything you have.

“Something I was telling some of the guys last night is to pour your heart into it,” Nolan said. “What you get out of this club is directly proportional to what you put in, so fully commit to it and what you’re going to get out isn’t just boxing skills, but the maturity, the character, the discipline that will allow you to conquer and overcome so many challenges further down the road.”

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