The first book I penned – The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas – is about the value of a human being told through the experiences of a boxer and a poet – Theagenes of Thasos who won the boxing championship at the 76th Olympiad in 480 BCE and the Greek poet Simonides who wrote the immortal words, “Go tell the Spartans …” I did not choose the story. The story chose me. Ten years after I put the first words of The Olympian to paper, I published a novella – The Sixth Day, A 17,175-Word Novella About Creation and Prizefighting – a story of faith told through the exploits of a young boxer in a small, New England town. Again, the story chose me. I am drawn to boxing and the stories that are born in the violent world of pugilism.
A Man of Conviction
Months before my intimate involvement with Team Guepard and the Guepard Boxing Club of Cité Soleil (GBCCS) in Haiti, I had completed a chapter in Tree Rings inspired by Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali was a man who happened to box. Far more importantly, Ali was a man of conviction and a Peace Hero. He inspired millions around the world, he inspired them not to be boxers, but to be men, women and children of conviction. I count myself among them. I think of Ali often and remember how important he was to my life and to the lives of so many others.
Things You Should Never Forget
At nearly 4,000 words, The Boxer is the longest chapter to date. I look forward to presenting it to you next week. Indeed, as Elie Wiesel tells us, “To forget denies the relevance of the past.” I sincerely hope that the images I include in Tree Rings, encourage you to remember images from your past and to recall things and people that should never be forgotten.