Before there was The King, there was The G.O.A.T, The Greatest of All Time. I couldn’t have been older than nine years old when my admiration for Muhammad Ali commenced. I bought his biography by Thomas Hauser and read it from cover to cover in a matter of days. In my teens, I met him and his presence had me in complete awe. It was one of two times in my life I was star stuck, the other being when I met Billie Jean King. My fascination began not just because he threw some nice punches in the ring but because he was a fighter in life. He was bold. He was loquacious and he was true to himself. Boxing was just his stage, as it was his spirit that starred in the show.
I can tell my whole life story through Muhammad Ali quotes. As a child I was a dreamer, hoping one day to single-handedly change the world. Sound crazy? Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it.
At age 10, while some young girls liked princes that lived in castles, I preferred athletes that played in arenas. I knew back then I wanted to become a sportscaster. It was an unrealistic goal to most, but the man (or girl) who has no imagination has no wings.
With a desire to fly, I knew I had to work hard. I studied in school, partook in internships, attended networking events and sat in on practices for sports I did not play. When I was exhausted, I just thought, I don't count the sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count. That’s what makes you a champion.
During college I developed a passion for eliminating social inequalities and encouraging social justice. Ali was never afraid to speak out or stand up for what he believed, regardless of the repercussions. I don’t throw punches in a ring like Ali, but I’ll take a swing to knock out a wrong. After all, he or she who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
In my career, I tell stories that go beyond scores and highlights, which allows me to inspire, educate and make a difference. It is important to me that my work impacts people because the service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
As my career continues to progress, the competition and the criticism, at times feel like they’re caving in on me. It is not my talent but rather my confidence that keeps me going. It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges and I believe in myself.
In any profession, talent often is not enough. You have to want it. You have to chase it. You can’t ever give up. To get an interview or a tidbit of information or to possess the desire to work all hours of the night to make sure a story turns out just right, the will must be stronger than the skill.
My childhood hero, The G.O.A.T, has passed on but he will not go down. He is not gone. See, I am no longer a child with a dream but a woman in the midst of making it happen. Ali’s fighting spirit lives within his story, not inside his now lifeless body. While he may no longer float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, he is still changing the world by having inspired me and people like me to work hard, pursue dreams, be confident, fight for others, stand up for what you feel is right and never give up because impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
THANK YOU Muhammad Ali aka G.O.A.T