Bengal Bouts has taught me the value of hard work and dedication – the lessons have been brutal at times, but the process has been the most fulfilling journey I know. From a young age,
I’ve embodied the mantra “do what you don’t want to do.” It has served as a starting point for motivation and self-improvement.
I grew up harboring a silent discontent towards my mild speech impediment. It’s something that, at times, feels uncontrollable and inseparable, but I’ve done my best to cope. I routinely struggled throughout elementary and middle school and felt at odds with words I knew I had, but couldn’t physically express. Aspiring to be a more fluid speaker, I joined the speech and debate team my freshman year of high school. Initially, the unknown audiences mimicked the sneers of elementary years; however, with extensive practice debate rounds (over six hundred) and subsequent tournaments, I saw my efficacy as a speaker and, concurrently,
success in debate burgeon. Though impediments are disorders, I entered Notre Dame regarding mine as quite the contrary.
During the fall semester of my freshman year, I sought something that would again push me as extensively as stuttering through debate rounds. I tried boxing with an open mind and quickly fell in love. The practices kicked my butt, and the 2016 captain cohort immediately became guys I looked up to. When the opportunity to live in Bangladesh on behalf of the boxing club presented itself, I jumped on it.
Time in Bangladesh kindled many untamed emotions – our band of four lived on the opposite side of the world in a country where almost everything seems converse to life in the states. The heat is suffocating. The language is different. The country is predominantly Muslim. Dhaka is the most densely populated city in the world. The roads are chaotic. Day-to-day life required us to step back and consider the bigger picture.
I lived with then-senior captain, Jackson Wrede, in rural Sreemangel, a city about five hours north of Dhaka. Most mornings were spent teaching English to 40+ boys and girls while the afternoons were spent visiting nearby tribal villages. I often still think about those big smiles and selfless demeanors. Their intentions are pure and authentic, while their values embrace family and joy, despite difficulty making ends meet. I went into Bangladesh with the intention ‘to help’ the ‘weak bodies’ we honor in our boxing slogan, but I left the country having taken much more from them.
When I am no longer part of the Men’s Boxing Program here at Notre Dame, I will forever remember the people who have served as sincere role models for the past four years. The 2016 and 2017 captains were early heroes. The people of Bangladesh impress a spirit of gratitude and triumph you can’t find in the United States, and, as iron sharpens iron, my fellow captains the past two years have sharpened me into the graduating senior I am today.
// Men's Boxing President, Parker Revers
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