To be a champion you have to be willing and able to take a punch while continuing to move forward. Perhaps even more important than your ability to take a punch is your ability to dodge a punch and not get hit at all.
Ali was once pegged as a draft dodger for his refusal to serve a country that did not serve him, in order to fight in a war killing people who had not killed his people.
Ali’s act of refusal cost him his title and prime years of his career. Imagine just how much greater the #GreatestOfAllTime could have been if not for his sacrifice for what he believed in – for what was right?
Fast forward to today and the dodge kings and queens are abound.
Except we’re not avoiding punches IN the fight as Ali did, we’re avoiding the fight altogether.
Whether it be in the name of political correctness or downright cowardice, we’ve transitioned through the years from a sacrificial position to serve greater humanity to non-sacrificial self-preservation.
I think about Muhammad and Malcolm and Martin and their willingness and ability to take a punch while continuing to move forward; their ability to take punches as they came, with the foresight to anticipate and avoid those punches that were yet to be thrown. Champions.
I look around and I wonder where all our champions have gone? I wonder why there are more people outside of the ring than in? I wonder why we’ve dodged the fight for humanity to remain unscathed in our passivity, when the Champ showed us you could be both fighter and pretty? I wonder why so many who honor Muhammad Ali were only able to do so after he lost his ability to speak [out]?
Then I look in the mirror and realize that I am you. I am them.
I’m inside the ropes but the bell has long rung and I’ve yet to come out of my corner, when the fight is waged and won at center-ring. But this isn’t the fight of one man or woman.
This is the fight of (wo)mankind and we’ve all been drafted. But it’s only respectable to dodge this draft if your act of refusal benefits humanity and not just self.
And so, as we celebrate the life of a champion, let us honor him not just with our words, but with our actions – inside the ring, remembering that it’s only okay to #leanback if you are first willing to #leanIn. #UBtheCURE