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Strong ladies fight

| Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Each February, thousands of boxing fans come to watch the greatest spectacle in collegiate boxing — the Bengal Bouts. Having worked tirelessly to become a skilled boxer over the past two years, I have the honor of serving as captain for the club this season. While the next chapter of this storied program has recently begun, another rising tradition concludes another successful season. The 17th annual Baraka Bouts begins this Wednesday, and while I cannot thank the men’s club enough for shaping my experience at Notre Dame, it would be sinful to ignore the impact that the women fighting this week have made over these past few months.

The Baraka Bouts stands for more than the action in the ring. Similar to its male counterpart, these brave women fundraise for the education of underserved youth across the world. This year alone, the club will send over $75,000 to Lake View Secondary School in Jinja, Uganda for the construction of a general assembly hall. As part of my duty as captain, I received a backstage look at the progress that these women made as boxers and fundraisers. “Energized” and “inspired” do not suffice to describe my gratefulness for being a part of this incredible season.

The path to the tournament has always proven to be difficult, and with only two months to train, each and every girl who steps into that ring this week has earned my ultimate respect, and that of many across campus. Winning and losing becomes secondary to a beautiful display of charity, sisterhood and female empowerment. “Strong bodies fight, that weak bodies may be nourished” has long been a rally cry for the legendary Bengal Bouts. Without a doubt, our female friends have embodied this mantra consistently throughout preparation for their own tournament.

To all the women with whom I have worked this season, thank you for being missionaries towards a greater cause. Thank you for inspiring me a little each day. And thank you for letting me share this journey with you. Strong ladies fight, now and for many more years to come.

Ryan “Short Stack” Smith


Nov. 4

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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