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October 9, 2015

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I Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, OCTOBER 9, 2015 5th Street Gym in Miami. I have been around boxers all Stillman's Gym, NY. my life. I've gotten to know hun- the ring with only two other dreds of fighters and have spent people: his opponent, who wants quite a bit of time speaking with to knock him senseless, and them, getting to know them, and the referee who is on nobody's making friendships with them. side. This isn't about moving In the past couple of years, as the ball up the field or striking we have gotten older, the con- out a batter. This comes down versations I have with them have to the most basic of human become more reflective. One of instincts: survival. The emotions my favorite topics is discussing aroused, just as the sport itself, what their motivation was for are primitive. first stepping into a boxing gym. Many of the guys I have talked The answers vary, but I did seem to about their motives for tak- to fred a common theme among ing up boxing told me they were a number of them. shy kids who didn't feel comfort- Just about every other sport able playing on a team. They felt available to young men involves insecure and wanted to face joining a team: Little League their fears. The boxing gym Baseball, Pop Warner Football, seemed like the best place to go hockey, and so on. All of these are good ways for youth to learn The Zen of Boxing sharing responsibility, and be- ing a part of something bigger than themselves. It also allows for the sharing in victories as well as failures. Sure, there are times when one player will get the glory for pulling out a vic- tory for the team, or get the blame for blowing it {just ask Bill Buckner}, but it still comes down to the team working to- gether to make things happen. It is said over and Over again that there is no "I" in team. Boxing is very different. When a young man first walks into a boxing gym, he knows he is not there to join a team. What he is going to have to do is confront himself. He is going to have to deal with his fears, his victories and his failures all on his own. If he loses a fight or even has a bad sparring session, he will not be able to point the finger at a teammate. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are owned by the individual. Alan SiUitoe wrote a book pub- lished in 1959 titled "The Lone- liness of the Long Distance Run- ner." I often think of how appro- priate a similar title would be to describe a boxer: "The Loneli- ness of the Boxer." When that bell rings and the lights go down and the boxer steps forward to face his opponent, there is no other sport that comes close to evoking the emotions that Training camp is over and by plays ouL"As distinct from prior the time you read this, thecampaignsofrecentvintage, the Bruins will have taken their first B's have the ability to make a steps into the regular season, a significant addition or two period of discovery that tradi- around the trade deadline to tionally commences around improve their roster for a pos- Columbus DayWeekend and ex-sible chase for the Cup. tends through to Thanksgiving. "We have some cap space Bruins President Cam Neely which we haven't had in a is a firm believer in the theory while," said Neely. "So we have that how a team fares in the first opportunities down the road six weeks or so generally deter- where we can do something to mines how it will finish in April. help us improve. I really feel we He indicated that the team's have guys that want to compete coaching staff and front office for the Cup. We'll see where executives have looked at past things go throughout the sea- performances and that they con- son. But I like the fact that that firm the validity of the concept, we have opportunities to im- "We've tracked in the past and prove if need be. It's a lot easier by Thanksgiving, ifyou're in the to do that when you can add playoffpicture, generally by the without having to subtract. end of the year, you're still Neely also said that he likes going to be in the playoff pic- the change to the 3-on-3 in the ture," stated Neely. "Of course., five-minute overtime that is this time around we have a lot makingits debut throughout the of younger players that I think NHL this season. will develop over the course of "I've never been a big fan of the year. I think we'll see the the shootout, so anything you team improve over the course of can do to get rid of shootouts the season. And we still have is fine by me." He noted that enough players that have been in preseason games, the B's around the game long enoughtried different combinations- --- and are really good NHLsuch as playing three for- players -- that I think can bring wards or two forwards plus a those new guys along at a defenseman. quicker pace. I feel we can have "It's important to try those a really strong start because things. The line changes are of that. With the group that going to be important and mak- we have that's new and the ing sure you hit the net, because group that we have that's we've seen play go the other way returning, I'm excited to and the game ends pretty see us get going in the regular quick." erupt within him. He moves for- for that. Just about every one season." Duringhis playing days, Neely ward with no team to look back of these former boxers have told Neely added that he thought was never one to step away from the lessons of working together, on for help or support. He is in me their lives were changed be- the training camp and pre- a confrontation. He admits that NORTH END ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION Wishes You a Happy Columbus Day Serving LOUIS CAVAGNARO, President the Community for Over 55 Years! cause of their experiences with the trend throughout the NI-IL boxing; that they learned more is away from fighting now, about themselves through the although he still feels "it is part Manly Art of Self Defense than of the game. But I've never been in any other activity they took one that enjoyed a staged fight. part in. I never saw a purpose for A boxing gym is truly a para- that. I didn't think that was doxical place. It is a venue where necessary." controlled violence is taught. Back when he was with the Where the participants spend B's, Milan Lucic said one night hours practicing moves and that fighting "is what got me conditioning themselves so they noticed" when he was playing may inflict head trauma on their junior hockey in Canada. Neely opponents. It is a place where a says those days are on a down- young man will have to deal with ward spiral. his fear and his fight-or-flight "Gone are the days when response to it. Where he will in- that's how you're going to get in llict and feel pain. the league -- by fighting. You But, the boxing gym is also have to be able to play. The oddly Zen-like. Boxing forces a coaches across the league want person to become self-reflective, to know that they can put a to look deep within himself to guy out there that can chew confront his demons and, oddly up some minutes and create enough, to find a certain inner some offense. That's what you're peace. It is a violent world, but seeing, especially on fourth also one of serenity. This may lines." all sound a bit strange, but if He added that in today's NHL, you have been there you will physicalplaymeans, "lwantour know what I mean. guys to compete. We don't need someone to put someone in DRIVERS the fifth row. But we want our players to compete for pucks, be strong on pucks and to take the body when it's there." Neely cited Patrice Bergeron Dedicated Local - Devens, MA Home Daily, weekends and holidays off! Excellent Pay, Benefits, 1st Day Medical! 1 yr Class-A CDL & fiat-bed exp: Call Shonda: 855-200-4087 Run dates: 10-2, 10-9, 2015 season games were positives for the team. Younger players were vying for a number of jobs that were available and veterans could not take camp too easy. "Players were looking at pushing for jobs, especially on the back end. Even with the forward group, we had some kids come in and push for jobs." Some made the team and others were sent to the B's American Hockey League al - ate in Providence -- but are able to be recalled at a moment's notice ff situations warrant. "It's important to have those players throughout the organi- zation that are going to push for jobs," noted Neely, who added that those players who are in re- serve only about an hour away may make some players in Bos- ton feel "a little less safe, which is always a good thing. I think competition is key, it really is. You know, you never like to see anybody become complacent. If you have competition coming from below, it's hard to get complacent." Neely added that while he did not want to create any expecta- tions, the goal of the franchise is "to compete for the Stanley Cup so we'll see how the season (Continued on Page 15) ST. JUDE AND ST. ANTHONY NOVENA May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and for- ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. St. Anthony, most loving protector and wonder worker, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. Favor received. P.T.P. Happy columbus Day 292 Hanover $., North End, Boston 617,227.0295 Hookahs available