I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
~ Muhammad Ali
To some it may come as a surprise to hear that I come from a family of boxers. It’s true. At one point, my parents had all 6 children involved in boxing. My brother Lorne, was the better boxer as he went on to be a golden gloves champion.
Boxing and the Digout Family
As far as I can remember, I can hear my dad talking about boxing and some of the greatest boxers – Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Luis, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Leon Spinks and later Mike Tyson. Not only were we listening to stories but we watched video after video of boxing matches.
As children, we would put on the boxing gloves when we couldn’t get along with each other. This might not have been the best way to handle our rowdy little bunch, but that was how we were disciplined. I was beyond excited knowing that I could beat both brothers in our ‘living room ring’. The day that I could only beat one but not the other was a life lesson on humility. And then the day, I couldn’t beat either one, I started crying.
YES, boxing is a contact sport but it also provided a lot of other benefits. I learned to be more graceful on my feet (by nature, I’m clumsy), my confidence improved and I learned respect. I still believe that boxing is the best workout for cardio, coordination, endurance and so many other benefits.
The Greatest (1942 – 2016)
Yesterday, the world has lost one of the greatest boxing legends – Muhammad Ali. He was the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century. He refused to be drafted during the Vietnam war, rejected racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement and later converted to Islam.
Ali’s boxing career:
- Won Olympic light-heavyweight gold in 1960
- Turned professional that year and was world heavyweight champion from 1964 to 1967, 1974 to 1978 and 1978 to 1979
- Had 61 professional bouts, winning 56 (37 knockouts, 19 decisions), and losing five (4 decisions, 1 retirement)
In his own words: How Ali wanted to be remembered
“I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous and who treated everyone right.
“As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him…who stood up for his beliefs…who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.
“And if all that’s too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.”
Did you have a sport that impacted your life? I’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS!
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