It was 3 weeks ago as we prepared for church that hubby informed me rather solemnly that Joe Frazier had been admitted to a hospice with Liver cancer. I was shocked and sad. Sad for the man who was now nearing the end of his life, and shocked because I didn’t even know he was still alive- that shows you how much I know about boxing and even sports in general. I support Chelsea football club because Chelsea is a fine part of town and also like their jersey colour. I don’t know any of the players. I probably know the names but can’t say whether or not they play for Chelsea.
Anywho! I didn’t let on to hubby that I had no idea theman was still alive as that would have been a new avenue for him to ‘diss’ me. So he wonders out loud why he is in a hospice; ”abi he has money problems?” Trust me to quickly wiki him. So I start from the very begining and learned a lot.
He had a rough childhood. He was raised on a farm in South Carolina during one of the most racially charged times in America. He endured the humiliation of Jim Crow and his family, although owned a farm were not exactly wealthy. After he broke his left arm in a nasty fall from teasing their sizable hog, said arm became permanently crooked as his folks couldn’t afford a doctor, the arm was left to heal by itself. By the age of 15 began to fend for himself. Long story short, he got into boxing and that let arm became a weapon in his career.
His rivals were Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, they were the kings. Ali, who has always had a mouth loved to tease and curse, comes with the territory right? Well Somehow all that teasing and cursing didn’t go down too well with Joe and they became enemies. Later on Joe will refuse to have anything to do with Ali, even appearances and events that would have earned him some money. This carried on after he lost close to $1m on a land deal. The trust that held his money went bust and he lost it all. Funnily enough Ali also went through his own financial hell due to mismanagement and being surrounded by vultures, some employed by him who did nothing but scavenge his fortune. His salvation came in the form of his current wife who fired everyone in sight and set things straight, charging for the use of his name, etc. I don’t know much about Mr. Frazier’s personal life to see if he also had a good woman behind him after he got divorced following a 20 year marriage. I do know however that he did sue his daughter for holding unto contracts and documents that supposedly would have made him more financially buoyant. Apparently he was in such dire straits that he chose the one option he had. I have no opinion to air on this since I don’t know why the pikin sef was holding unto her papa’s stuff.
Through it all Joe remained bitter towards Ali, even after Ali apologised and said many of the things he said were wrong and were done to promote the fights. Here’s a quote from Mr Frazier during an interview: “I don’t mind talking about the rivalry I had and have with Muhammad,” Frazier said. “I know it’s what most people remember me for.
Well I beg to differ here. You should not be remembered for negativity of any sort. There is no pride in saying your legacy was being rivals with someone else, or worse remaining angry and unforgiving toward anyone. Bear in mind that he was a heavyweight champion of the world and beat Ali, actually he had 32 wins, 4 loses and 1 draw and was inducted into the Boxing hall of fame. And when Ali lit the Olympic torch in 1996, he apparently said he’d like to throw him in the fire.
When asked about forgiving his opponent, this is what he said:
“Forgiveness? It’s not up to me to forgive him, only the Lord can do that. There’s no forgiveness.
“Who will be the best guy in the final round, who is the one of us two who is going to heaven and who is going to hell? I know which one it is and I sure ain’t the one who is going to hell.”
Folks, this interview was held last year. He was 68 at the time. To allow hatred to marr your life for so long is a tradgedy. It is as if his own hatred robbed him.
So Sunday had me imagining what he was thinking on his death bed. What do people think about when faced with the unwavering certainty that they will not be walking out of the hospital? Or while the nurses discuss about their shifts next week he knows without a doubt that he wouldn’t even be there? Imagine being told you have 5 days to live. Mentally you are stable enough to understand exactly what that means, you can even transport yourself mentally into the next 3 weeks but your living body will never arrive there. Your mind in fact is healthy but your body is dying and as healthy as your mind is, you cannot will yourself to be made whole again.
For some reason the word regret has been playing around in my mind, i.e I don’t want to regret a single thing at the end of my life. I don’t want to sit and wish I hadn’t wasted my time and expended my emotional energy hating someone else, acting to please someone else or pretending to be someone else. I want to enjoy every moment of every day and be glad and rejoice in it. I want to see the beauty of God everywhere I go and even recognize that my trials are part of the tools needed to shape me into a beautiful soul, so that when trials come I’m not perturbed but happy that work is still being done on me. I want to be an excellent mum to my children and raise them well, while remaining a true friend and companion to hubby. I want to be a dependable friend, the type that has you confident to turn your back because you know I’ll be watching it not stabbing it. I don’t want to stop cracking jokes or being funny. I want to use up all of the gifts that God placed in me, they are many. I want to inspire people and make sure their lives are better because they met me.
I definitely want to keep blogging, but to do so very regularly and not sporadically. Did I mention I was still being worked on?
Thanks so much for reading!
If you are unsure about how to live free of fear or regret the one solution I have found so far is salvation through Christ. It doesn’t stop you from making mistakes or even physically dying, but it does give you a hope and a future and a new life after death.