Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Boxer Who Wasn't

Tim was a good 30 pounds overweight and at 65 years of age, he was facing a mandatory retirement from his job.

But since boyhood Tim had dreamed of being a star athlete, one who excelled in football or baseball or soccer. However at age 65 time seemingly had passed him by.

That is until one day when one of his old friends brought up their boyhood hero, long ago World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Rocky Marciano.

That night Tim dreamed of Rocky and how exciting he believed life must have been for him. When Tim arose, his body felt much stronger. And when he looked in the mirror Tim saw muscles he never knew he had.

Bounding off to work, Tim had a burst of energy like nothing he had ever experienced. And he was more productive that day than he had ever been, moving non-stop from task to task.

After work, Tim went to the gym and tested his new found muscles, as he moved an amazing amount of weight. Unable to resist, Tim approached a boxing speed bag and although he knew nothing about how to hit it, it moved like lighting at the touch of his fists.

On Saturday, Tim went to a martial arts gym and despite the initial skepticism of those who were there, he got in the ring and overwhelmed one fighter after the next. Tim realized that somehow he had taken on the remarkable skills of Rocky Marciano, a man who had passed away in 1969.

Night after night Tim showed up at martial arts gyms and dazzled the audiences with his incredible ring skills. And like Rocky Marciano, he had an iron chin, and seemed un phased in the few times he got hit. Soon fans began to chant his name, and fighters began to avoid getting in the ring with him for fear of getting hurt.

It was then a major boxing promotor approached him about turning pro, fighting top fighters and attaining fame and fortune. "The crowd will go wild for an unbeatable 65 year old man," he told Tim. "You'll make a fortune."

Tim spoke with Beverly, his wife of 40 years, and their two daughters and each of them strongly urged him not to do it for they viewed the sport as barbaric and they feared he could get hurt.

"But we need the money," he told Beverly who replied, "We don't need the money that much. Don't do it sweetheart."

That night as Tim slept, in a dream Rocky Marciano came to him. "What shall I do Rocky," he asked. And Rocky put his arm around Tim and replied, "I never had much of a choice in life Tim. I came from poverty and boxing was the only skill I had.

"You have some retirement money saved up and although you won't live lavishly, you can make ends meet without getting in the ring. And here is something else to consider. I never liked hurting people and I hurt many of them for that is the nature of boxing. The pain I caused others haunted me for the rest of my life.

"Think about that. You see their families and the agony they are in because you brutalized ther loved one in the ring. And for what? Money? Fame? It's not worth it," and with that comment Rocky faded away.

The next morning Tim called the boxing promotor and said, "I don't know why I was suddenly given these extraordinary boxing skills but I'm not going to use them. I can't bear the thought of injuring others."

"But you'll never be rich and famous," the boxing promotor replied. "I will be rich and famous in my household," answered Tim. "And that's all that really matters."

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