Wednesday, November 9, 2011
At one time during my pre-adipose days I was a fairly decent (for a Jew) long distance runner. I could do a sub-40-minute 10K, and ran a dozen marathons, three at 7:10 pace. Suffice it to say that I spent a good portion of my free-time running in Central Park.
One weekend I was running down by Tavern on the Green with a bunch of friends. A couple hundred yards up ahead there was a commotion. There was a bunch of people--photographers--aiming their Japanese cameras at a runner.
We ran over to investigate and there he was. Smokin' Joe Frazier was doing roadwork in our fair city.
I've lived in New York for my whole life barring two years in Boston and one in San Francisco. And I've seen a lot of strange wardrobes. But I've never seen anyone with a get up like what Frazier was wearing.
He had on the vest from a three-piece suit, long black satin boxing shorts and black ankle-cut Army boots. He punched the air with taped hands as he hobbled along.
The Champ (a title he deserved even if someone else held the belt) didn't look in fighting shape. That was the reason he wore the vest--it hid his less-than-sculpted abs while it allowed him to show off his arms which were the size of telephone poles.
There are people who lift weights and work out and they call their arms "guns." Joe Frazier had guns. Everyone else--even those poseurs who lift weights for a living are nothing but imposters.
If I'm ever in a situation where I'm intimidated I think about what it must have been like to be on the receiving end of Frazier's left hook.
It's a good way to keep things in perspective.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 9:51 AM