This morning I woke up to the very sad news of Muhammad Ali’s passing.
Ali was one of the worlds greatest boxers, and men, there was. He fought for human rights. He fought for equality. He fought for peace. Then, he had the greatest fight of his life. He fought Parkinson’s.
As I watched the many videos documenting his life this morning I shed a tear for him. In fact, I shed many. Why?I cannot say I was his biggest fan, though of course I admired his achievements. I live in the UK, I’m too young to have witnessed the legend in his prime. But today I cried for him. Today I felt a closeness with Ali.
I learned how he was in his prime when his disease reared its ugly head. How it robbed him of being able to box, in many ways of his whole identity. I learned how he’s married his wife and grown his family after already becoming ‘sick’. I saw more of what I already knew, that he didn’t let his illness define him. That he continued to fight it right up until the end. That Ali loved life, and lived it to the highest level he could. In many ways I drew parallels with my own life.
Thankyou Muhammad Ali. Thankyou for showing me, and I’m sure many others, that though disease can strip us of our health, we control our own dignity. Thankyou for showing this world that people are more than their colour, religion or ability. You saw life from both sides, the invincible boxer and the disabled man. But, you let none of it define you. You was still invincible. You remained, and will forever be the worlds greatest long after disease had cursed you. You never gave up on yourself. Thankyou for showing me I need to continue to strive to be the greatest I can be too.