In our upstairs den is a framed artifact that Kerry gave to me for my birthday 20 years ago when we still lived in Seattle. She was pregnant with our oldest daughter who would be born a couple of months later. I’ve walked past “the gift” well over a couple of thousand times in the last decade alone – and like a lot of things in all of our homes – it has gone virtually unnoticed. That was until yesterday – when I visited it as a destination – and admittedly got emotional thinking about its power, it’s connection and how awe inspiring I saw it to be all so suddenly. And I suppose in some ways, I welled up because I took a very special moment for granted.
You see – somehow back in 1996, I was given the good fortune of being selected as a torchbearer escort for the Olympic relay – which essentially gave me the honor of running alongside 3 different torchbearers over the course of about 2 miles in a small town just south of Tacoma, WA. Unsolicited, each individual was kind enough to hand me the torch (literally) and let me run with it as well – (yes, people really are that generous). Essentially, the torch got lit in Athens, was run across Greece, flown to L.A. and then up and down and all across the United States on its way to Atlanta. (See the whole routeHERE if interested)
Each of us got to wear a short and T-Shirt combo that is decidedly retro – and better off enclosed in glass for more than a couple of reasons.
Fast forward a couple of months to July 1996 when it seemed the entire country watched in anticipation as the Olympic Committee – amidst a domestic terror attack – did an absolutely amazing job in hiding who the final recipient of the torch would be – the one who would get to light the final Torch.
Hence my reaction yesterday morning when I learned of Muhammad Ali’s passing. For those of you who don’t remember the drama of the moment back in 1996, click the photo below and watch the story unfold.