For as long as I can remember, my father would always watch the boxing matches on T.V. I would make my way into the T.V. room so that I could watch and hang out with him. While we would watch the fights, my father would share with me his thoughts, techniques likes/dislikes about certain boxers.
My father would show me what things to look for in watching a boxer fight. He'd tell me about the boxers corner, how a boxer conditions, their motivation and the difference between boxing and fighting.
During my years as a child, we would watch each and every Muhammad Ali fight and interview. Along with Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali was someone that me and my father would admire both in and outside of the ring.
Today, the man that I grew up watching on T.V. talking about with my father, and admiring for everything he ever stood for, struggled with and was accomplished in, came into my work. How do you attempt to tell Muhammad Ali that I've admired him for so many years and that he helped shape some of the fond memories that I have with my father as a child?
All I could say to him when I shook his hand is, "I am honored champ, I am honored!" He looked me in the eye, shook my hand and it just seemed to all make sense. He is something larger then anything I can even try to comprehend.
From his struggles as a child, his USA Olympic gold medal, his civil right struggles, beliefs in the Vietnam War, to the lighting of the Olympic torch in Atlanta, when they re-awarded him with his gold medal that he threw into the canal because he felt his country had turned it's back on him after all that he had done as an American.
My family, and those close to me, know how much of an Ali fan I am. And there was nothing like placing the call to my 75 year old father, to tell him that his son remembers the boxing matches we would watch together and that I met one of our hero's.
"Dad, I met Muhammad Ali today!"