Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Mindful sparring with the beautiful great

With gratuity and respect I shuffle once more through the treasures and moments from the wonderful life and times of 'The Greatest', Muhammad Ali. 

The death of a symbol, a superior ideal with a Greatest Hits collection most affirming and beautifully attained across sporting, cultural and civic disciplines.

His actions, his words all gave me prime to curiousness towards a mans knowing in stance; challenging firmly a childful anima to work an understanding on what it must feel like to know you are in fact, truly the greatest. 

A child throughout the 1990's, knelt innocent in reverence to a sport under many lights and many more dollars in the loom of a pay-per-view era. Boxing inspired. Tyson; Holyfield; Lewis; Benn tagged lovingly with preceding battlers Dempsey; Marciano and Durán. 

Far from complexity was the joy in re-runs; the commentary on style and worship in execution imitated through soft fists and flailing arms in front on a TV screen.

My Dad stepped in, adamant that above all discovery unearthing history and panache behind the 'sweet science', quite simply 'Muhammad Ali IS the greatest'.

No past tense. Stated. The old mans artistic devotion already held pedigree; Phil Lynnott; David Bowie; Clint Eastwood and George Best all A-listed so there was no doubting the principle of his announcement.

So began the fascination as Ali eased into my heart. Posters, books, rough-hewn VHS of famous moments inside the ring. Primary tokenism in teenage obsession as my prying mind expanded to grasp 'greatness' in its true form. 

It was in the context of his sporting profession in which Ali kept me guessing; the decree in promised conviction trumping predicted victory delivered upon a crystal podium forever risen above all others. The athletic shrewdness, fighting precision and prudent nous pronouncing 'greatness' alongside maladroit rapping and intelligent rhyme that bowled opponents down before a glove was yet undusted. 

This was an insight to confidence I had never experienced.

The political relevance escaped me. The wonder years of young felled me pure only to gaming excellence and boxing fulfilled the mystery of greatness in greatness. Latter years allowed me acknowledge Ali's humane eminence with knowledge of the power in principles cast in faith and desire to stand for what one believes in.

I fell short in the attempts to understand fully the non secrets behind the obvious fantastics of Muhammad Ali. The celestial reach of his greatness slew me due to my want to understand it all too much. 

Two decades later, two weeks on from his departure, the meddling presence of my mental quests rest well in admiring the great from a great distance, his spectacle is forever.

Words taken from the book 'Approaching Ali' by Davis Miller comfortably calculate and result the adoration held by me and many in growing up in the after years of his achievements:

"There are so many ways to think about almost everything. And none of them is nearly as round as reality".


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