Before and After Deer Lake Part 4
By ice rivers
I had met Muhammad, Joe and George individually but I never thought that I'd see all three of them in the same room at the same time.
Yet, here we were for the common good of Chuvalo
In the lobby, I got a chance to visit with boxing expert Burt Sugar and HBO analyst Larry Merchant. They both reacted to me as if I had pissed myself while wearing a white suit.. Arrogant and a million miles away from Ali in terms of engagement and humility, these two vampires brushed off my questions about the sweet science with an insolence worth mentioning here.
I left those "famous guys".
I was relieved to leave.
I entered the main room. I found my table. My name was still not Sinatra nor for that matter Sugar or Merchant so my $100 dollar table resembled my "ringside" seat in terms of physical distance from the distance.
And I wasn't even at the same table as the Son of Sanford.
I shared a "way in the back" table with another human who also had connection/complexion problems; a stunning middle aged African American woman named Evelyn. We had the only two seat table in the place. Evelyn and I chatted for awhile about the value of our $100 as compared to the $100 spent by the more connected, very Caucasian, very male attendees flaunting upfront and uptight.
We figured we were outsiders. We bonded.
I showed her my 11 by 14 photo. She liked it and said "be careful with that. It's valuable".
Evelyn had a mission of her own.
Evelyn told me that she knew Joe Frazier and the last time Joe was in town, she really got to know him and he got to know her. She planned on having a little chat with Joe later in the evening about his previous method of leaving town. She assured me that Joe would be paying attention.
All the stars were already seated miles away at the main table. All the stars that is except for Ali.
It's only fitting that the champ enters last.
All of the other guys had entered from the front of the venue.
When Ali and his entourage entered the room, they came in from the back. As soon as he entered the room, the whole environment changed for the better. He walked very, very slowly. Since he came in from the back, the first table he passed was the distant table for two. He stopped at our table. He looked right at me and although it seemed impossible, I got the distinct feeling that he remembered me from our morning at Deer Lake decades before.
Evelyn noticed the look and asked me after Ali had passed us, "does he know you".
I told Evelyn that I had spent some time with him a long time ago.
Whether he recognized me or not, he once again gave me that wonderful feeling that I was cool with him and that our table was the best table in the house.
and that, once again, made me feel cool with myself
He couldn't possibly have remembered.
I guess that's what charisma is all about.
Like I said, I had met Sugar and Merchant, ten minutes before they took their upfont seats. I'm sure they had already forgotten about me and their vibe would have amplified that disregard.
Not with Ali.
I started feeling great.
The whole room turned back to see the old champ. I got the feeling that everybody in the room started feeling great for different reasons.
Eliciting smiles and cheers with every step, the Champ caned his way to the front.
Everybody in the place was experiencing rampant, contact joy.
I don't think that Frazier was feeling that joy although he probaly remembered feeling a lot of contact.
It was obvious that Joe was feeling pretty dang great before he even entered the place, if ya know what I mean.
Obviously, a lot of feelings fly around a room when Ali enters that room and walks toward a partying Joe Frazier.