Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ever had a day where you are so busy living the moment that you don’t have time to send a tweet or post a blog? Frustrating in some ways because time and time again today I caught myself thinking, what a great moment, I should tweet that.
So as I am sure you know by now, Muhammad Ali visited our camp today as part of a presentation by Athletes for Hope.
Brett Ballantini wrote a great story about the visit, pointing out the White Sox “brush with greatness.”
Ali, his wife Lonnie and his sister-in-law, arrived at 10:30 am. It is very rare that anyone can grab and hold the attention of a clubhouse full of baseball players, coaches, trainers and staff. Ali and the staff from Athletes for Hope did just that during the 45-minute plus presentation. All eyes were on Ali. The program focused on the power and opportunity for professional athletes to give back to their communities and to support others. The players engaged in a very interesting conversation with some pointing out that it wasn’t just the obligation of a professional athlete to give back, it truly was the obligation of a human being and citizen to give back in any way they can.
Jake Peavy offered the line of the day when explaining how the status of a player or athlete might (or might not) impact their ability to help others.
“There’s someone like Muhammad Ali,” Peavy said. “And then there’s someone like Paul Konerko …”
“Hey!” his teammates interrupted to laughter throughout the room as Konerko mockingly reacted.
Ali posed for photos with the entire White Sox team and staff and then patiently posed for photos with every single person in the room. A television crew from MLB Network and our own White Sox crew shot footage of the visit and talk. Within minutes, our White Sox footage was airing on ESPN SportsCenter and on ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
White Sox general manager Ken Williams presented Ali with a White Sox jersey with the name “Champ” inscribed on the back and the number 40, a little jab at today being the 40th anniversary of Ali’s first fight with Joe Frazier in NYC’s Madison Square Garden … a brutal fight for both men that Ali lost.
At the mention of Frazier’s name, Ali flinched and close his hand as if to throw the next punch.
The champ still has it.
To view video from today’s visit with Muhammad Ali, click here