As business school students, the outside world often views us through shaded lens – it thinks that our mission in life consists of drinking and partying. Not denying that we like to have a little bit of fun, we will show the world what we are really made of at the 10th Annual Wharton vs. Penn Law Fight Night. This one-of-a-kind event brings together over 1,500 spectators and showcases fighters from Wharton, Penn Law and other graduate programs at Penn. MBAs might cause public annoyance by overcrowding the Route 21 bus every morning, but we give back to the community, too: Fight Night partners with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia and has cumulatively raised more than $400,000 for the nonprofit.
Since 1887, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia have aimed to provide a safe, nurturing and positive place for kids to reach their full potential. Their core programming involves five aspects: Character & Leadership Development, Education & Career Development, Health & Life Skills, Arts & Culture and Sports & Fitness. The organization consists of 12 clubs and serves over 13,000 youths annually, with the vast majority of children coming from single-parent households and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The clubs have exerted tremendous positive impact on high school performance and college enrollment. More importantly, the clubs serve as families for members to be sheltered from their rough external environment, to develop strong characters and to create lifelong relationships.
All sports require dedication, discipline and training, and athletes have always wowed this author with their deep passion and willpower. Boxing brings even more intensity, and it typically takes professional boxers 6 to 8 years to reach their first fight. Yet many of the participants in Fight Night are complete amateurs who have never boxed before Wharton – but they have dedicated considerable time and effort to prepare themselves through rigorous training that leaves some with black eyes and broken noses along the way. Fighters need to be not only physically conditioned but also mentally tough. It takes grit and courage to step into that ring. The most fearsome opponents are not the ones with superior skills but the ones who never stop fighting.
For many participants, this will be their first and last amateur boxing match. It’s their chance to show their peers the results of many months of hard work and to prove to others and themselves, that they can do it and truly stretch their physical and mental capacities to the max. A fighter from a past year noted that even though he lost, he felt exhilarated because “he beat himself”. As taught by the Boxing Club instructor Clif, “it does not matter whether you are winning or losing the game, it’s all about what you have done for one opportunity”. And to be honest, when will there be another opportunity for openly encouraged hitting before an enormous crowd filled with friends and peers? It is probably one of the most amazing and adrenaline-pumping stretch experiences one can have at Wharton before returning to the real world to pursue multi-million-dollar dreams.
Focus, endurance, strength – the fighters have gained all of that and much more. March 29th will be their ultimate test. So come out and cheer them on!!