“Everyone believed Ali was washed up and everyone doubted him. Ali told the world that he was going to beat Foreman but not many people believed him. Against all odds Ali outsmarted Foreman and won the fight! This fight helped Ali become universally known as the greatest boxer and athlete ever.” My father explained the greatness of Muhammad Ali to a seven year old version of myself before I could completely appreciate Ali’s importance. At the time I just thought of the stories my father told me about Ali as exactly that, just stories. I never actually realized that Ali could be a real person, maybe a superhero but not a real person.
Inspired by my father’s captivating stories I began my search for an Ali comic book of some sort. After a short lived search I was disappointed when I figured out that an Ali comic book didn’t exist, but it was one of the greatest disappointments of my life. Next, I asked my father if Ali was a real person, he gave me a look of great confusion and answered that absolutely Ali was a real person. My face lit up with excitement because I had many things to learn about the man and athlete that Ali was known as. What made Muhammad Ali so great? Why did my father feel the need to tell me stories about Ali’s greatness?
I spent the whole day in front of the computer with the help of the internet learning all that I wanted to know about Muhammad Ali. It was amazing to learn how Ali stood by his values and beliefs, sacrificing his world championship by refusing draft into the Vietnam War. Coupled with Ali’s fearlessness to use his platform to speak for black people it was clear that Ali was not only a once in a generation athlete but also a great man. He had the ability to not only stand up for himself but to speak for people that felt like they were voiceless. Ali’s confidence and hunger for greatness left a lasting mark on every aspect of my life.
Whenever I am faced with adversity inside or outside of school I think of Ali’s actions and sacrifice. When I think of Ali I realize how small and miniscule my problems are compared to the challenges Ali had to face throughout his life. I came to really appreciate the bravery and courageousness of Ali; he had a wife, children, a family to support but he made one of the greatest sacrifices in American history for his people. He was stripped of his boxing license and was unable to make a living inside of the ring. So, he went around the country speaking at various universities just to maintain a decent living all while facing the penalty of 5 years in prison. Ali was a man but his actions and morals reflect those of a superhero making him one of my greatest inspirations.
Ali was my first superhero. I first thought of him as a possible friend of Batman or Superman but I later appreciated Muhammad Ali for the strong human being that he was. Ali taught me that there no excuses in life because through all of his battles and struggles in life he rose to the occasion each time and became world champion. I don’t have any excuses. I will attend and graduate from college, accomplish all of my goals, and succeed in life. “Impossible is nothing”, Ali taught me that.