What a magnificent time we had last Thursday night at Fight Club!
If you missed my invitation, we had six members of the Palestinian Olympic team join us.
Not all of the team were boxers but all of them were great ambassadors for their country and a number of them joined in the training even though it was their first time in the ring!
I had particularly memorable bouts with Ahmed, their swimming champ who did his best to put me on the canvas, and with Aseel – a lovely girl about the same age as my eldest daughter and a long-distance runner.
I also did a round with their former heavyweight champ, Nader Jayousi, who is now their boxing coach. He was gracious enough not to put me on the canvas.
I have to tell you that the pic of my stare-out with Nader is one I will always treasure. It was taken just before we did our round together and has Michael Dahdal (of Palestine MMA) keeping us apart. It’s the complimentary tatts that I love. I have my small white-boy logo of the Fighting Fathers on my shoulder. He has an enormous tattoo of Yasser Arafat on his!
Thank you to John Clutterbuck for providing us with these wonderful photos.
It was an inspiring night and one that has left me with a powerful sense of the way boxing could be used to help fight prejudice against Palestinians and build bridges between Christians, Muslims and Jews.
I’m not exactly sure at this stage how this will all play out but Michael and I were talking about sponsoring a Palestinian boxing team to come to Australia. In my mind I’d like to take it one step further and see a combined team of Australians and Palestinians of all faiths touring this country and then moving through Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, teaching boxing to children in the camps and preaching a message of reconciliation and hope.
Does that sound overly idealistic? Watch this space …
“Blessed are you poor!”
That’s the title of today’s sermon, and it’s a direct quote from Jesus! (Luke 6:20)
It’s NOT a typo. It’s “Blessed are you poor” and not “blessed are the poor in spirit!”, which is the better-known variation of the saying and turns up in a totally different part of the New Testament (Matthew 5:3).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” sounds sort of poetic, but “blessed are you poor” sounds like a crazy thing to say. Surely if you’re poor it means you missed out on being blessed!
Of course it’s easy to romanticize poverty when you’re young but once you’ve visited a refugee camp or have seen families lose everything through war, fire or flood you realise that there is nothing blessed about the state of poverty, or is there?
Perhaps Jesus sees something we don’t see?
Or perhaps He meant something else?
If you can’t see this video, click here.
You’ll also, no doubt, be glad to know that you still have time to to book your place on our last Warrior Weekend for 2013, running from December 6th to 8th.
You can expect the usual combination of intense training and good, clean fun:
- Develop your boxing skill
- Build your fitness
- Meet some great people
- Enjoy the Aussie bush!
$110 per person covers accommodation, training and food for the weekend, and subsidies are available for those without a regular income.
We’ll also help organise transport if you can’t get to Binacrombi under your own steam. You can’t ask for much more than that!
Call Fighting Father Marco on 1800 620 706 to book your place.
And before I let you go, please join me in wishing a Happy Birthday to our brother in the Good Fight, Sol Egberime – friend, fellow-parishioner at Holy Trinity, and senior boxing trainer for our Warrior Weekend.
I won’t tell you how old he’s just turned but I will say that he’s still young enough to take his shot at the World Junior-Welterweight title next yet. I’m hoping that 2014 will be a big year for him. Indeed, I’m hoping that it will be a big year for all of us!
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S. And as I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!