It is great to be a legend. Usually one moment that defines a career can make you just that. The moments through sports that, when mentioned, we remember exactly where we were, is what it is all about. Sports has it fair share of legends, but only a few that are legendary.
Muhammad Ail passed away Friday night After a long battle with Parkinson’s. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the 6th grade. He signed his autograph on a Showbiz pizza napkin, and I actually lost it. That would of been 1986 and the effects of the disease hadn’t stopped his speech. He said something to me and honestly I can’t remember what he said because I was just in awe. He shook my hand and I remember saying thank you, and then ran off to play pop a shot.
What Ali meant to me is the reason I coached. I didn’t think I was the smartest, or the smoothest coach out there. I also didn’t feel that I could make everyone a great player. However, if I could change one life for the better, each season was worth it. The crazy thing about it is sometimes you never know if you did. Kids graduate and move on with this thing called life. You may run into them at a store,or an airport and see them with their family. They may tell you then how much you helped them in life with the lessons they learned from you. That’s what life is about.
Ali lived life and was able to make change for the better. In the face of adversity he stood tall and was criticized, stripped of the best boxing years of his life, and still became the most beloved person in sports. My heart is heavy, but I am happy that all the pain is gone and he is at peace. Plus, could you imagine the sparring sessions him and Smokin Joe Frazier are having in heaven? #greatest
What my brief encounter with “The Champ” meant to me