When you pick up your pen, or boot up your laptop to chronicle my death for your website or blog, please do me this favor.
Notice I said death, not life, because that’s sure to be your focus…who failed me, the commission, the referee, my team. Please forgo the blame, the finger-pointing, the pining over a young life lost, and instead talk about me, my life.
Talk about endless early mornings, late nights toiling at the gym or the track. Talk about the handshakes I gave the kids in the gym, and the pride I felt when these kids won a tournament or trophy. Talk about staying up too late during the amateur tournaments away from home, and the bonds I developed with my teammates. Talk about my wife, who fed me countless chicken breasts and salads, and took my attitude during fight week. ‘Sorry, hun. I was just hungry. ‘
Talk about the time away from each other during camp, and how she worked to feed us over months without a paycheck.
Learn about my family, about my kids and their interests and dreams.
Talk about my professional debut, and how I was all nerves before I went into the ring and laid that guy out on the canvas. Talk about my friends, and the time we went to a party and drank too much and slept on the lawn, or about our plans to buy expensive cars once I won the title.
If I die in the ring, I died doing what I wanted to be doing. What I needed to be doing. Not many people can claim that. If I die in the ring, celebrate my life, don’t dwell on the details of my death. Don’t make me a catalyst for change, or an excuse to argue that boxing is barbaric and dangerous. Celebrate me, my life, my family, if I die in the ring.