Sunday, July 3, 2011
I RAN INTO ALI!
After visiting with my daughter, I was on my way to write another frivolous post, yet, Ali stopped me.
Going back: I was standing at the ticket counter of death. I had reserved a seat to MY final call. I was queued up and ready to go. When I heard my number called, I moved to the front of the line, dropped my head -- paused -- and walked away. It wasn't my turn. It wasn't my time.
Some years ago, I was down for the count. It was the 15th round of a major fight. I was fighting for my life. I was in a state that didn't honor the 3 knockdown rule. NO-NO, I had been kknocked down 100 times. I was in a state-of-mind that insanity ruled. Fear and disillusionment were the sanctioning bodies. They controlled the action in that ring - in my mind - in that arena. If the three knockdown rule was in affect, I wouldn't be writing this post.
Now check this, I am a big boxing fan. I am a huge fan of Muhammad Ali. However, just as my admiration for Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, my affection for Ali is rooted in the core of the man. Each of the individual are praised and admired for all the popular reasons. I've been moved by their deep moral and family principles and their fighting spirit.
"Say it loud, I am black and I am proud"
~ James Brown
MLK had an undying religious conviction. He was the epitome of a black role model with deep family values. At an early age, Malcolm X saw the horrors of racism and the inside of a penitentiary. Both men were married and fought for causes that were bigger than them. Each left behind a strong wife, and a road map to being a good man.
At the prime of his life, Muhammad Ali was striped of his license to box by the the government of the USA. Now how did a man go from being one of the most hated black men in America, to lighting the Olympic touch?
Long before it was popular to protest our involvement in foreign wars, Ali said, "Hell no, I will not go". Because of his decision to stand on his faith, he was vilified by the press and some people of his own race. His conversion to Islam drew fire long before the present state of affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the fight game, Ali fought the best of the best. He was an 8-1 underdog to Sonny Liston. He beat him twice. Ken Norton broke his jaw in two places. He did away with him as well. A white man by the name of Cooper knocked him down in the 4th round. He got up and finished him off. After a 5 year forced retirement, he came back to regain his title. Some of his skills had diminished but he fought on.
Joe Frazier stood in his way. They had 3 memorable battles. Who can forget the Thrilla In Manila? Ali was the last man standing.
The motherland called his name. George foreman stood at the gate. The Rumble In The Jungle found Ali with slower hands and less peep in his step, but his mind and heart were still strong.
The Goliath like Foreman was counted out in the 8th round.
Martin Luther King stood for civil rights. Malcolm X stood for black pride. Ali stood on his principles. They all were great men. They all stood strong while fighting for right.
I like Muhammad Ali, he stopped me today. The man still hits hard in so many ways. I was on my way to write a post of a different flavor. Before doing so, I found a serendipitous reward. I stopped to watch the documentary "Facing Ali". It was a knockout!
Like Ali, I was down for the count but it wasn't my time. I had to get up... someone needed me.