For Muhammad Ali

Asked how he would like to be remembered, he once said: “As a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer.”

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

He fought sixty-one good fights,
and thirty-seven of them knock-outs.
He chose for his race,
leaving behind his slave name,
unwilling to compromise or capitulate,
becoming for so many children
the one to teach – not just greatness
but greatest-ness
which is what so many
so desperately need.

And he kept faith with his people,
with his God,
with people everywhere who resist
their nation’s military,
with young Olympic athletes
whose flag he carried only four years ago,
with those who dance around the ring
sparring with Parkinson’s,
with all who must learn to stand up
when they’ve been knocked down,

with people of all faiths,
of all races,

who believe he clasps
those crazy exuberant victory hands
for on this day —
he has surely received
the crown that matters most.

GettyImages-479933880-E

(For my father Russ Snider who loved Golden Gloves, who loved Ali, who would have been yesterday 101 years old)

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One Response to For Muhammad Ali

  1. Beautiful,, Maren. Thank you.

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