The (Wo)Man in the Arena
I was up at Notre Dame last Thursday to referee the Baraka Bouts, which is the culmination of 8 weeks of training for the Women’s Boxing Program.
The ‘ladies’ were terrific to watch. Well conditioned. Tough. Skilled. Most importantly, they were exceptionally ‘close’ to their fellow boxers. Win or lose, there was always a smile and a hug at the end of the fight.
Reminded me of Teddy Roosevelt’s wonderful ode to just being in the arena:
“It’s not the critic who counts;
not the one who points out
how the strong (wo)man stumbled,
or where the doer of the deed
could have done them better.
The credit belongs
to the (wo)man in the arena;
who strives valiantly;
who fails and comes up short again;
whose face is marred,
by dust and sweat and blood;
who knows the great enthusiasm,
the great devotion,
and spends themselves in a worthy cause.
Who, at best,
knows in the end
the triumph of high achievement;
and who, at worst,
if (s)he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that their place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls
WHO KNOW NEITHER VICTORY
Click here to print out a nice 8.5 x 11 version (pdf).
Women’s boxing at Notre Dame is 12 years old. (Men’s boxing is 83 years old.) In that time, they have gone from a handful of women (led by Amy Catrow) ‘working out’ in the boxing room to a program of over 140 women participating in a 2-night, 2-ring tournament, with proceeds going to Holy Cross Mission in Africa.
The have stepped into the “arena” and “spent themselves in a worthy cause”!