All About Winning, Losing, Joe and Rocky
I‘m Ashamed, Very Ashamed
to admit this to you, but I am telling the truth. You deserve it. The thing is, when I grew into that early stage of life when I began to realize anything, I mean anything---dark from light, day from light and men from women, to name a few. But the most enlighting piece of wisdom affected me so much that I cried. And I mean, cried until my eyes were so red that people thought that I was wearing a bandit with a red handkerchief.
I knew right away that there was a big difference between winning and losing, with the latter being able to put me down, right to the knees and in a short time. Then I knew from the awful pain that I had learned the hard way about winning and losing and winning felt way better.
To go further, the situation that I found myself on the losing end was the awful moment when my dad was going to town so he could buy groceries and I just asked if I might have a soda from the store, and he quickly replied, no, without as much of an explanation. I mean, he answered me cold, to the point and no time wasted. Fact is, the pain from that one moment stayed with me for days—and from that moment I began to see and understand that losing gives a person much pain while winning puts a smile on others and a light heart inside.
The Years Went
by, and I contended with winning and losing almost every week. I thought while I was in my school years that if I could pass a few tests that I would be tagged a winner by the teacher and students alike. But although I did NOT make those A+ grades, but mostly Cs, my teacher and friends never said anything to motivate me to do better.
But I tried very hard with every test—from the mid-term to those final tests, I studied and retained as much as humanly-possible, but I found out quickly that I could only come out with Cs and maybe a B once in a blue moon. I wasn‘t what you call an Excellent Student. And I am not exaggerating in the least.
With each average and below average grade, I was reminded by the painful feeling caused by my dad thanks to him snuffing out my desire to drink a soda and even with my high school years coming to a close, somehow I felt that in these few years to come, I will come away with something that I won. I don‘t know if that was my hope or faith working, because I kept that simmering flame in my spirit that told me that every thing is not a losing proposition because even the worst loser wins sometime. I would throw the old saying about a dog and the sunshine, but I do use use profanities for any reason.
Now a Clear Glance Into 1969
when a young gun named Joe Willie Namath, Beaver Falls, Pa., was not only good looking to all of the women, but was the pride of The Alabama Crimson Tide in the position of quarterback. And when Namath signed the then-highest signing bonus, $500,000.00 to the New York Jets, he was as talented in the NFL as he was at Alabama.
Then life had it that he and the Jets were go against the much-favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III which was the third AFL–NFL Championship Game in professional American football, and the first to officially bear the trademark name "Super Bowl". The game, played on January 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in American football history—when Namath, who was reclining in a chaise lounge chair beside the swimming pool in the motel where the Jets were staying, said in his slow drawl, “we (the Jets) are gonna win the Super Bowl this Sunday—I guarantee it.“
Namath was correct in his prophecy of the Jets beating the powerful Colts 16-7 and from that moment on, he always had the stigma of guaranteeing something that was going to be won or someone who was in competition with someone else. And that, the “Namath Guarantee,“ helped to win a lot of games and personal glory. Not me. I could have barked what Namath said about the Super Bowl and still, I would have been stomped to the ground.
I know what you are thinking. Maybe “you were not the confident type, and that caused you so much pain and misery that could only come from a losing situation.“ There is no other answer.
You might be right. But you also might be wrong. Take the background of Rocky Marciano. Part Greek god. Part big-hearted giant among the boxing world. Marciano did a lot of boxing—and knew the value of winning. He also knew how the grace of losing felt. But he kept himself in balance of his good and bad battles.
Marciano, The World‘s Heavyweight Champion, retired undefeated and did not open up himself to the throngs of press and sportswriters. He lived with his wife, Barbara, for a number of years and only left when he did some volunteer work, but he mostly kept busy by his business interests. And speaking of winning here, let me share Rocky‘s record: Total fights: 49; Wins 49; Wins by KO 43; Losses 0. The last part of his record is what speaks the loudest: Losses 0. And I know that in Heaven, Marciano is smiling.
Not from as much as the Losses 0, but from the way he lived and conducted himself. Marciano knew how to hold onto that part of us that so easily-escapes: our own identity. God help me with mine.
January 18, 2019________________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery