when we were kings (1996)

funny story.

when i was young
in catholic school

my teacher
called my parents up
because apparently I was
not taking religion
very seriously.

my teacher had asked
the class who was the most
influential person
in the world

I was typically
the quiet one class
but this time I raised
my hand.

i knew the answer,
and I was very confident
and eager to say it
out loud.

muhammad ali

i said.

loud and proud

she was actually
looking for:
the pope

but i said, no.
it's muhammad ali
and michael jackson

in mind, muhammad ali
was someone that everyone
could look up to.

of race or religion.

kids really say the
darnest things

however there's always
an element of truth
to it all.

only 3 mo prior
my family had been
living in indonesia and
all the school kids had
pictures of Ali...and
michael jackson in
their notebooks.

and it stuck with me.
it still does today.

it's really quite a shame
that there is not one athlete
today that young people
can truly look up to.

everyone is just
too damn afraid to risk their
careers, million dollar contracts
and fame to do what
they believe in

"Hell no,
I ain't going to go.
Clean out my cell
And take my tail
To jail
Without bail

"Keep asking me, no matter how long
On the war in Viet Nam, I sing this song
I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong."

- muhammad ali


C. Smith said...

thanks for this post. i really enjoyed it. i was just in Malaysia and can only imagine what it was like to be in that part of the world as a kid. so cool. hope you're well! x

amy said...

that documentary (and its surrounding saga) is incredibly moving. i'm grateful to have had muhammad ali in my worldview.

April Kam said...

Lovely post!
Take care! :)

This Time Now said...

He's still The Greatest.

Maryli said...

Your answer still applies. I love this!

Anonymous said...

Why look to a sports figure at all? Someone who has so little affect on anything in the world except revenue... Why are there no politicians or world leaders we can look up to? Maybe if we didn't pedastel such nonsensical cultural figures--what did Muhammad Ali ever do for the civil rights movement? for example--then children could seek out worthwhile characters... A boxer? C'mon... Great to watch but useless to the world

Smoke Williams said...

Hey, I have a website called www.3Things2know.com

But it is completely different than what you have here. Just thought it was interesting when I looked for my site in google, and your site came up. Good luck.

carl auböck architekt said...

i share your emotions towards ali.
to watch his legs is like watching picasso paint. its craft is existential and beautiful and powerful at once.
moving in this world as a man (forgive me). today they are not more than beings with checked prostate glands and hopefully a mio$ contract.
compare a car in alis time and today-
sleekness was turned into secure erwin wurm fattitude.
ali was one of the last men to let the u.s. really stand out and look up to in a civilian way.

Todd Colby said...

It is always so lovely visiting here.

gia said...

Right on! Dig this post! I find pro atheletes to be very inspirational, no doubt about it! Love the quote too.

Beth Skillman said...

As a kid, I too looked up to Ali. I still do - one of his quotes inspired my blog title. I love that he owned his greatness - never apologized for it and was honest about his struggles. I think the world was unprepared for such an intelligent, passionate athlete and he blew us away. No wonder you should like him - you are both poets! Lovely as always. THank you.

pea said...

I may be in love with you...

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