I’m driving through South Boston yesterday morning, weaving my way through the side streets trying to avoid the masses that were converging on the parade route. For the first time in my life I was invited to the St. Patrick’s day breakfast. Those who know me well would probably tell you that I can be an introspective guy at times, this morning was no exception after being so humbled by the invitation. After a few twists and turns, I’m staring at my great grandfather’s childhood home at 28 F Street, I pull over and just gaze at the front door. I’m wondering what it must have been like for my great grandfather in 1894. He was just 9 years old at the time and would make his way out that door and walk up to Engine 1 at 119 Dorchester Street. Even at this very young age he already knew he wanted to be a firefighter. With a little charm and persistence, by age 10 he was an official “call man” for the house. In other words, he was an errand boy, and he performed this role while learning the ropes from all the firefighters. By age 19 his dream came true when he was accepted into the Boston Fire Department…
Hard work or “obair chrua” in Irish…the very reason this young first generation American could realize his dream so many years ago. It’s the same reason a young Haitian American girl from Dorchester could get through the years of school and land herself at Harvard. It’s the reason she won herself a seat as a Massachusetts senator. Linda Forry was not afraid to put in the work to get were she needed to be in order to serve her community. Based on her merits over the years it’s pretty clear as to why she was asked to MC the St. Patrick’s breakfast. And as expected, my fellow Dot Rat did a fantastic job.
obair chrua – If you want anything good in life you have to be willing to do the work.
After my visit to Southie I decide to meet up with my friend Bill Traft. At this point he’s hours away from weigh in for his upcoming fight and both his brothers are tagging along to give support. Bill hops out of his truck, shakes my hand and smiles. Even though he’s in the middle of some of the most grueling time fighters have to endure, you couldn’t help but notice his confidence. “You feel strong Bill?” he fires right back “Absolutely!”. The very nature of his sport demands obair chrua, if you cut corners in any way you end up paying the price in the ring. Billy has put in the work….months worth of hard work.
Yesterday Bill served as yet another reminder of a tradition that has been passed on through generations starting with our first ancestors that settled in Dorchester. Those folks that were willing to do whatever it took. Since going into business with his long time trainer Marty McDonough, they both have been able to enrich the lives of their second family at TMX Boxing, where the lessons are much more cerebral than proper stance. Their students develop as people, they learn obair chrua, and whether they know it or not they learn what it means to be a Dot Rat…
How proper is it that Bill gets to enter the ring on this St. Patricks day. I’m expecting Sugar to throw some serious heat today! If you can get a ticket….come down to the House of Blues and join us!