John Nagy | February 16, 2019
At some point, someone shared with Gina Guzzardo this piece of wisdom from boxing legend and unwitting business professor Mike Tyson: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
You laugh because it’s true, and you figure when it happens you’ll know what to do, she says. “And then someone’s punching you.” And you forget everything.
Guzzardo, a first-year Notre Dame MBA student, knows from experience. There she was, set to spar for the first time as a member of Notre Dame’s Women’s Boxing Club, stepping into the ring with a sophomore, an undergraduate maybe 10 years younger and, she admits, quite a bit faster than her. Before she knew it, the 5-foot-5-inch former professional dancer and paralegal — no stranger to gloves and hooks and jabs after taking boxing classes for fitness while working in New York City — had absorbed four quick punches to the face.
She’d thought she was ready, but only then did it click: “You are supposed to be hitting that girl in the face right now.” This wasn’t about snapping at mitts or laying into heavy punching bags anymore. “I was like, all right, you need to hit her back. This is what you’re doing. It’s a sport.”
Tyson’s observation was hardly the only thing Guzzardo will take away from her transformative first semester of studying marketing at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and competing in the 16th annual Baraka Bouts. But the sport’s lessons about endurance, discipline and handling adversity may prove among the most memorable. And the most useful.
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