Two champions, each a heavy weight legend in their own right faced off in the ring again. It seemed like a lifetime ago that the world watched the intense spectacle of one man being so enraged at his eminent defeat that he bit into not one, but two ears of his opponent.
The stage this week, was the Oprah Winfrey show where Mike Tyson had bared his soul in an earlier interview about the mistakes and triumphs of his life & explained as best he could, what was going on in his mind during that fight. His honesty was profoundly captivating.
As Evander Holyfield walked onto the stage, it seemed that the intervening years had been somewhat kinder to him than the tortured existence that Mike Tyson had experienced. We all held our breath just a little…what would they do. Afterall, it’s not everyday that one meets on a public forum, the person who undermines the integrity of a harsh and violent sport by literally sinking his teeth into your skin.
It’s easy to watch a show by merely skimming the surface. But, in some ways, the experience of these fighters is almost impossible for most of us to begin to comprehend.
However, we can all understand what it means to get up and keep on fighting even after you’re down for the count. And that’s why on a primal level, many can relate to the sport of boxing. All of us have experienced a knock-down in life. Some of us may be there right now. It’s not easy and never pretty.
But it’s what you do next that matters. When Tyson recognized that he was not going to win, he struck out and bit his opponent. His rage blinded him and demeaned his prior accomplishments and then spiraled out of control on a journey that descended into the hell of drugs and prison.
But that crazed individual was not the one on the stage of the show. Tyson demonstrated that none of us has to stay down, we can choose to get up, own our mistakes, apologize and strive to do better. Several times during the interview, he choked up with emotion and Oprah captured the intensity of his yearning with a question…”Can you feel the love directed towards you right now?”
It was obviously hard for Tyson to really acknowledge how powerful and affecting this new round in his life is proving to be. And his journey has lessons for all of us. None of us gets to exit life without failure. We will all participate in things we are not proud of. That’s simply the essential nature of sin.
However, we can choose to get up and keep on going. And we may be surprised like Tyson was to find out that support may come to us from unexpected places as we humble ourselves and admit to a cry for assistance.