Ode to Ali

“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”   — Muhammad Ali

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One only need look at my Pinterest to see how much I adored the Greatest. My heart is broken, but I know he is now at peace.  Released from a disease that wreaked havoc on a body many a heavyweight tried hard to maintain.

Bomyae, Ali! Always.  President Obama is right, we are better for having had you, Champ!

Now, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee into that sweet by and by. Until we meet on that shore, rest well, our friend.

Every time I’ve been downtrodden, left feeling defeated, full of doubt and a bad case of “I can’t!” Every situation where life presented me a round where it seemed I was up against the ropes, with no hope, looking at a total K.O. from an opponent much bigger than me, I heard these words in my head: “No VietCong ever called me n*****.”

And I knew — I knew I could.

You taught me that, Ali.

You taught me that it’s okay to be bold, to be brash. It’s okay to be full of confidence and pride — when there’s truth in it. Most importantly, that it’s not just trash talk when you can back it up. When you’ve got the goods — use it. Don’t ever let anybody take your truth from you — you stand in it every single day. That’s the gift you gave to the world, Greatest.

That’s what we’ll take with us now that you’re gone.

You taught us all how to give ’em hell. And for that, we could never forget you.

My heart will never be the same for having known yours, sir. And you are part of the reason this 4’10 loudmouth goes through her little white life with two attitudes, “No, I won’t” and black is beautiful.

You were a heavyweight of life, Ali.
You won. Every. Damn. Time.

I’m just grateful to have witnessed a part of it.

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