It’s Dave again.
I’m just back from my Monday-night run and thought it was time to pen you a quick missive.
I ran by myself again this week, which was a bit lonely, but I appreciate that it’s miserable running weather in Sydney this time of year, especially if you’re struggling with a cough or cold.
Besides that, I had to run between 10pm and midnight this week, when most sensible people are going to bed!
Having said that, I’ve never understood why most boxers like to run in the early morning when they fight at night! I would have thought that the ideal would be to run at the same time of day that you compete, and I may in fact be fighting this Friday – at night!
I’ll tell you more about that before I close, I promise, but first …
Pain and Passion
I’ve had an extraordinary week of pain and passion.
The pain has come from losing two beloved friends this week past.
The first was Col Harding – a man I’d known for many years as one of Sydney’s finest wrestling coaches. We buried Col on Thursday.
You are not likely to have heard of Col before. He was never famous. He didn’t seek glory for himself at all but simply committed himself to working with any young person who was willing to ‘have a go’.
It was great to hear someone stand up at his funeral and talk about how Col had been saved from a life in prison. God knows how many young men (now adults) owe their lives to his silent but persevering work.
The other death was of my dear friend Morna.
I want to thank everybody who has been writing to me and assuring me of their prayers for Morna. It has been gut-wrenching to see the life dragged out of her over the last couple of weeks, an inch at a time. Even so, she held on long enough to see all her family, and last Wednesday night we prayed some final prayers together, I signed the sign of the cross on her forehead, kissed her and told her that it was time to let go and she slipped away about an hour later.
Here’s a picture of me and Morna in happier days – two years ago at her eightieth birthday.
As I said at her funeral, she was the toughest woman I’ve ever known. She drove trucks for a living, sometimes with her babies lying on the floor of the truck as she drove, and she did so at a time when a woman’s place was certainly NOT in a truck!
She had a hard life and dealt with a lot of hard people. She lived through violence and imprisonment. Even so, her later years were marked by her re-discovery of the grace of God, and by gentleness and compassion.
We buried dear Morna on Saturday.
The other event of great Passion that I experienced last week took place between the two funerals. Last Friday I flew to Melbourne to work the corner for my dear brother Solomon Egberime as he fought for another Australian Junior-Welterweight boxing title.
I could eulogise about Sol’s performance at length, but let it suffice to say that I’ve never been so proud of him! He excelled himself in every way – not only in his sporting prowess but in the grace and good-nature he displayed throughout the event. It goes without saying that he won, and did so with style!
Here’s a pic I took of Sol after the fight, with his son Niko on his shoulders.
Sol stayed on in Melbourne for a couple of days after the fight, but sent a lovely text message to us on Sunday morning that I read out in church, giving thanks to God and to the community for all the support he received.
Well done, brother!
One BIG Fight still to come
After two big fights in the last two weeks, you might think we’d take a break here for a while, but in fact the biggest fight yet may still be ahead of us.
On August 10th, our Parish’s most accomplished pugilist – Lovemore N’dou – will make his return to the ring!
Lovemore is a two-time world champion and is known as ‘The Black Panther’. Even so, he is 40 years old now, and some would say he is crazy to get back in the ring!
Lovemore claims that he was inspired by my efforts at our recent 120-round box-a-thon, and figures that it’s time he made a greater contribution!
Lovemore is looking to distribute his winnings between our work and other charitable works here and back in his homeland of South Africa. I can only say that it is a privilege and a pleasure to work with the man – a great athlete and a great human being.
Here’s a pic of Lovemore with me and one of our other pugilist parishioners, Mario Karacsony.
Now … the exciting news is that you can join us ringside for Lovemore’s come-back fight against Gairy St Clair if you’re quick!
We’ve booked two tables for 20 people at the event, which is to be held in Southport, Queensland. I know that’s a long way to go for most of us, but it looks as if at least 12 of those 20 spots have already been taken!
The seats cost $220 each and we’ll be trying to get a good deal on flights and accommodation as well. If you’re one of our Queenslander Fighting Fathers, the experience will be relatively cheap and easy. If you decide to come from Europe or the USA, I’ll pay for your seat!
Either way, if you’re interested in joining us, please contact me ASAP. Once we’ve filled up the 20 spots, they’re all gone!
One Last Thing …
I feel a bit embarrassed, looking back at what I’ve just written!
I figure a letter from your Parish Priest should be drawing out points from last Sunday’s sermon, whereas all I’ve done is talk about death and fighting!
Oh well, perhaps next week …
There is one last thing I must mention again though: THE CONTEST!
I’m sorry to say that the response to the contest has been dismal thus far.
I’m not sure why? I thought everybody loved a contest?
Is it because:
- You don’t like what the contest is promoting – ie. my eCourse?
- You don’t like the prize – ie. the super-duper arcade game, starring you?
- You don’t like contests?
Perhaps there are other explanations? I’m not sure, but I’d appreciate your advice.
That’s enough for this week.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S. Oh! I almost forgot! I promised to tell you about my own fight this week!
It looks as if both myself and Fighting Father Mungo will be fighting at a charity-fundraiser event this Friday night at North Sydney Leagues Club (12 Abbott st, Cammeray).
Fights are scheduled to start at 7.30pm. If you’re in the area, we’d love to have your support.