- Thoughts for inspired living

June 4, 2016

Butterflies and Bees

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:05 am


I remember it like it was yesterday. I was lying on my bed with my Emerson transistor radio (which was about the size of a John Grisham hardback novel) listening through the static to a far off radio station broadcasting the Cassius Clay/Sonny Liston heavyweight championship fight.

I wanted to know how my new boyhood hero would fare against the “big ugly bear.”

Also that night, I was introduced to a broadcaster I had never heard of before: Howard Cosell. He unknowingly entertained the pants off me with his post fight interview with former heavyweight champion Joe Louis by using his multi-syllabic words with a man who had obviously taken too many punches. It was pure theatre.

Back to the bout: Imagine my elation when my idol knocked out his opponent in the first round.

It was the beginning of a man crush I had for years for the one they call “The Greatest.”

I was sad to see his skills erode in the ring towards the end of his career, but was even more saddened that he would suffer from a debilitating, neurological disease from his early 40s until his death yesterday at age 74.

Like many people of my generation, I served in the Armed Forces but many of us were not in favor of the war. That’s another way Muhammad Ali captured my attention: standing up for what he fervently believed in regardless of the consequences. He truly was a hero to me.

But like all idols and heroes, he had feet of clay (no pun intended).

No one can stand the scrutiny of a perpetual pedestal. He was human and had his human frailties, but his overarching impression to me was that of an iconoclast who just wouldn’t settle for “the way it was.”

He broke all sorts of barriers and paved the way for other people of color to have an easier time than he did.

I am sad that Muhammad Ali is gone but he will always be remembered by me as the brash young man who said, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.

All the best,


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