McCann, the author of two short story collections and five novels, undoubtedly offered a concise encapsulation while unfurling this lightening quote. He was speaking about his father’s friendship with a legendary Irish boxer named Big Jack Doyle before saying, “All of these stories go so deeply into myth, attaching themselves to boxing, attaching themselves to language, and around again, until we’re in this literary ring together.”
Such is life, and boxing. The closure we receive is in the form of a ring. And yet, even when encased within finite terms and conditions, the fights become memories, which linger indefinitely.
McCann provided punctuation. He rang the bell. In life, we are on to the next moment, in boxing, the next round. Does it ever end? Is it really connected, or are the bonds tenuous? Maybe the delicate possibilities suffice. Big Jack Doyle had inspired a writer who won a writer of the Year prize from Esquire in 2003. This fact alone may be enough, for everything. It was for me, anyway. The audience could now ask questions.