Rumble, young man, rumble

Like many, I often draw inspiration from larger-than-life characters, both fictional and non-fictional. And while others can give you more detailed synopsis of his history or recount all the dates of his greatest moments (ESPN actually did a great 10 minute video here), Muhammad Ali was one of two people I was, and will continue to be, inspired by.

When I was a kid, my dad introduced me to Ali like many of us probably were.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

We were horsing around, rough housing like father and son do, and he was doing the “rope-a-dope” and tossing out quotes. He introduced me to Ali through some books and magazines, and from there, I simply read about him. The Thrilla in Manila. The Rumble in the Jungle. His title stripped for refusing to fight in Vietnam. His return, his interviews, his drive.

My favorite story surrounds the famous underwater photo shoot.

history-ali

The photographer, Flip Schulke, went to take photos of Ali in Miami. He was told by Ali (Cassius Clay at the time) that training underwater was something a former trainer had taught him. Inspired, Schulke pitched it to Sports Illustrated, who though the idea silly and rejected it. Life took the shots instead, and we got some of the most iconic imagery in sports history.

The thing is, Ali couldn’t swim. No trainer told him to train under water. It was all a ruse, and Schulke didn’t find out until three years later and he was tricked.

It’s one of many beautiful anecdotes about Ali. It shows how far he would go to put on a show, something to obfuscate the truth to confuse or trick his opponents or critics. Can you imagine the talk in boxing clubs around the country? I wonder what it was like, if he actually fooled anyone.

Who trains underwater? No one does. Except Cassius Clay.

Except he doesn’t. To me it was an incredible portrait of how to tow the line; it’s just crazy enough to where you’d believe it. And when you think you know your opponent, that’s when they surprise you.

When I was wrestling in college, I pulled very heavily from this quote from Ali:

“I hated every minute of training, but I said ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

While I never took first at a tournament in college, I did achieve my goal of placing in the top 8 in the nation to become an All-American. All thanks to the power of a few words.

Only it wasn’t just words, was it? For all the talk, Ali was the living embodiment of “Actions speak louder than words.” Both out of the ring and in it, if he was talking tough, be was backing it up with blows against his opponent. If he was talking peace and love, he was backing it up with charitable work.

He was the epitome of Descartes’ philosophy of “I think, therefore I am.” It’s an intense and powerful mindset; it’s not enough to want to be the champion, you have to think, you have to know, you’re a champion. And you take the steps to achieve that championship. You back it up with action. You execute, and when you’re done you say “what’s next?”

He was a man of conviction and principal. He said it, he meant it, and then he went and did it. When he was supposed to be drafted to fight in Vietnam, he essentially said he won’t go fight a war for a nation that won’t even fight for his basic human rights.

Everyone has heroes. The world lost the greatest, but his ability to inspire will live on for a very, very long time.

It’s a small gesture, but I’m grateful and honored to have walked the same Earth as a legend.

Thank you, Muhammad Ali.

Rumble, young man, rumble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Safe Bet

*Originally published in the UWM Post, 2008

The half cobble-stone, half paved alley way looks daunting with the sun still setting. It doesn’t help the nerves to know that you’re about to be humiliated for others enjoyment, either. If you’re going to get into the safest place in town, however, this is the way you’ll need to go.

I take a few steps down the alley and look at the first door to my right. Well, it’s not the right door. I look further down to the second, and wrong, entrance. Finally, I see a slightly old looking door frame with door that has seen better days. It creaks open and closed as I step inside. I might as well have stepped through a time machine.

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The Best Haus in Town

*Originally published in the UWM Post, 2008

Mazen Muna’s energy and ambition isn’t only palpable, it’s electrifying. Have one simple chat with him you’ll find out that his commitment to bringing something special to Milwaukee is unparallelled. With his contagious smile and upbeat attitude, he’ll make you a believer in his cause, and that cause is hot dogs.

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The League of Legends eSports Weekly Recap – 10/25 – 11/3

Roster updates, banned players, and pre-season changes … it’s been a busy week for League of Legends and eSports. In case you missed anything, you’ll find all of the major news that occurred over the last eight days below. Let’s get to it!

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Who Is – Julian Collins, Manager for XD.GG

Originally published on Leaguepedia on 10/25 (click to see pictures!)

“R-A-W-L-I-N-S.”

Julian Collins is spelling out his middle name for me over a good old fashioned phone call. We were originally scheduled to have a Skype call, where the call clarity would most likely be superior, but his mic decided to be uncooperative. Also unfortunate is the speaker phone quality on my Windows phone, making the answers Collins supplies sometimes difficult to hear. My Sony IC Recorder, a little gray rectangular brick that looks as if it predates me, is up for the challenge of documenting what Julian has to say, though.

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Season 3 World Championship Semifinal Preview – NaJin Black Sword vs. SK Telecom T1

Published on Leaguepedia by Darin Kwilinski and William Turton on 9/26

In the chats of Leaguepedia there have been many people torn on who they think will win the semi-final matches. So, we decided to show both sides of the story in our predictions, with one staff writing simply who they think will win and why. The first match we will look at is Najin Black Sword vs SK Telecom T1. 

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League of Legends Season 3 World Championship Preview: Cloud 9

Published on Leagupedia on 9/15

NA … plays too slowly. Now if they go into the mid-game at their own pace, their power can be recognized …”

Kim Dong Jun, OGN Shoutcaster

It’s fitting that the stereotype of the North American League of Legends scene matches the stereotype of Americans in general. We’re big, loud, and a little slow on the uptake, but if we catch you, you’re in for a fight. It might not be the prettiest scrap you’ve ever seen, but it’ll be a brawl nonetheless.

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Season 3 North American LCS Super Week Preview

Published on Leaguepedia on 8/12

It’s a mess.

Let’s be honest, the North American LCS standings are a mess. Currently, there are no 4th, 5th, or 7th place teams. Instead, three teams sit at 11-12 and two teams at 9-14. Some teams who have consistently beaten higher ranked teams still sit behind those teams in the standings. What does this all mean?

It means it’s a mess, and from the looks of it, it’s not going to get much better after this week. Let’s take a look at the teams participating in Super Week who aren’t named Cloud 9.

Going into Week 9, the standings are Team Vulcun in 2nd place, with Counter Logic Gaming, Team Dignitas, and Team SoloMid sharing 3rd place. Sixth place is held by both Team Coast and Team Curse, and Velocity eSports makes the caboose.

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NA LCS: Counter Logic Gaming Decimates Azure Cats 3-0 to Requalify for the LCS

The most talked about Best of 5 in the Summer Promotion Qualifier ended up being the most one-sided series in LCS history. Counter Logic Gaming didn’t need five games to prove they belong in the LCS, instead putting Azure Cats down quickly 3-0. Game 3 was no exception, and played out just like the first two. A confident CLG displayed solid, dominating play that made the hyped up, lion-like Azure Cats look more like unprepared kittens.

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