Something I tell people so that I sound interesting is that I used to be a writer. Its not entirely untrue. I was an editor with my university paper. I wrote articles for a quasi reputable boxing website. I helped run a magazine about Atlantic Canadian Culture until I got a grown up job and abandoned it. I still feel badly about that.
I once interviewed Ron Harper but I lost the audio file and never wound up publishing anything about him. Ron Harper is approximately eleven feet tall and his hands are as long as my forearms. He has a stutter and this imperfection made me like him instantly. I had a stutter. I still have trouble with my speech if I am too excited or nervous. Any time I am around the police or a pretty girl my mouth dries out and the words come in fractured explosions and I feel sweat on my neck and brow and back and face and I then get embarrassed and shut up.
Sergio Mora once complimented me on my definition of a complete fighter. I was advised that George Foreman had read something I had written about the state of the heavyweight division and that he enjoyed it. A podcast about famous scams cited my article about John Ruffo. The article has since disappeared from the internet as I neglected to keep paying for the domain. I am sorry Kris.
I think about the days and nights I holed up in an office that overlooked a freeway cut through the middle of the city. Passing myself off as a journalist. Working on some lofty project that amounted to nothing. A stack of hastily taken notes with no context.
I mean here was this God like figure. Six foot six and hands wider than my chest and he would unapologetically stutter through his answers to me. I loved him for it. I wanted to hug him and tell him my most personal horrors. I was three years old when Ron Harper mattered in the NBA and here I was struck dumb by a cartoonishly proportioned man that struggled like me. I knew then that I would not ever be a journalist.
The journalist must report the news without favour or discretion and I would have happily vouched for any lie this man wanted to tell. He was so open with me. His public relations woman was with him. As was someone from the foundation he was working with. Bringing basketball to places that did not have much basketball. An island on the far East Coast of the Western World was one of those places.
Sports brought me almost everything I have. The writing. My friends. My tenuous grasp on reality. Sports taught me any number of lessons about life and some of them are even true. Importance of teamwork. Pushing through pain. Understanding the limitations of your body. Adapting to those limitations. Its all pretty corny and its all pretty helpful.
There were lessons that were not worth learning. How to live with chronic pain. How to solve disputes with violence. My kid was fighting at school. With a friend. Nothing serious. Just boys playing. The teachers were very concerned because my boy had a scratch on his chest that his mother would surely want answers about and so they contacted us to let us know that he was fighting. I laughed. His little sister hits him harder than that. He is still friends with that other little boy.
I hope that my son never becomes the type to shy away from defending himself. Speak up I tell him. If someone pushes you push them back. I want to protect him and the only way to do that is to be sure he knows he is to protect himself at all times.
I mean this guy has five championship rings and is six foot six and guarded the most athletic people alive at the highest levels and he too has a stutter. I wanted to bring him home and show my mother. I wanted him to meet everyone I knew. I wanted them to see that even NBA legends had these foibles. Had these flaws. Surely he faced ridicule. Surely he knew what it meant to be lonely. What it meant to know what you want to say but find the words sticking somewhere in your throat.
The first thing I ever wrote about boxing was on this here forum. It was about Luis Ortiz testing positive before his first scheduled fight with Deontay Wilder. Later it was revealed that Ortiz was not on the juice but instead had fucked up a medical form and failed to properly disclose what blood pressure medication he was taking. Wilder of course got to put that fight off and fought Stiverne instead. Stiverne stood up like a good boy and let Wilder knock him over.
I was right about Ortiz being dangled in front of fans as Wilder's first quote legitimate unquote opponent. I was wrong in thinking that the fight would never happen. I was wrong in thinking that even an older Ortiz would beat Wilder. Something about an extra twenty seconds and bad scorecards already lined up. I was very conspiratorial once upon a time. Now I am mature enough to recognize that all energy flows according to the whims of the great magnet. You grow up eventually.
I like being wrong. Especially loud wrong. I like it almost as much as being right. When you are wrong you can claim all manner of insane things. The variables changed! The wind was easterly! That dog in the bushes distracted him! It is a lot of fun. When you are right you do not get the opportunity to practice creativity. When you are right you just get to be smug and annoying which is very fun but very useless. Being right means that there is nothing more to learn.
When I said once upon a time that Anthony Joshua needed to shit can his trainers and find someone who can emphasize his very best attributes I knew two things. The first was that Joshua in his then present now past form was not actually a world class fighter. None of the heavyweights were but none aside from him were holding quite so many belts. The other thing I knew was that Joshua would first need to lose before he would even consider a change in coaching. Getting knocked out by Ruiz changed nothing. Getting undressed by Usyk will hopefully change something.
Anthony Joshua has been blessed with height and reach and natural strength and good looks and charisma. He seems a genuinely kind person and says all sorts of very genuinely kind things. He will out genuine anyone. There is a polished earnestness to him. Ron Harper stutters and says things that are shockingly honest and I felt like inviting him to live with me and my family.
The flaws are what matter because the flaws are what distinguish you from the others. Without flaws we are all just copies of copies and so forth.
When she smiles her lip curls up on the right side and you can see her teeth which have braces on them and they will never be perfect. Should God himself try to change her I would kill him myself.