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Learn your history

Last night, while I was finishing up Sweetness, the latest biography about Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman, I got a message on Facebook about the recent passing of Joe Frazier. After that, I logged onto Twitter and saw a stream of respectful wishes for the man and his family.

What is ironic about the entire thing is, for someone who takes pride in knowing some history, I don’t know much about Smokin’ Joe, and that has to change.

See, it’s one thing to talk about a subject and have another to lean on. That’s something I’m not a fan of. For instance, if someone makes the case that a certain athlete is great, the best, phenomenal, etc., then it should be done without the aid of another athlete.

Basically, if someone says Sir Thomas Brady is the best, a case should be able to be made without mentioning Peyton Manning. If someone says LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, a case should be made highlighting his efforts in that endeavor and not needing to knock someone else to make his case.

When it comes to Joe Frazier, as of today, I know him because of two things: the world-famous “Down goes Frazier” chant, a cry that can be used to describe any shocking moment in history, and one that has even been used on this site to describe a monumental moment, at the time, in the sports world, and for his three legendary bouts with Muhammad Ali.

It's startling that just as I finish a book about Walter Payton, another legend I didn’t know much about prior to reading, another legend comes to the forefront, and there is a duty to be able to tell a quality story without leaning on battle cries or a previous adversary to do so. This post is a small step in that direction.

Sure, Google is my friend and anyone with half a brain can look up numbers, anecdotes and past tales to write a gospel about anyone, but that doesn’t necessarily make it authentic. There should be a pride that comes with learning some history and even though I wish it was sooner, it is now time to learn more about the man who did many great things and lived a singular life of his own.

There will be stories from people who truly know about some Joe Frazier, and with those, you know you’ll get an absolute treat. The theme today on ETSF, though? Learn your history, and respect your roots. Even now, in the world of sports, and especially in boxing, while people are anxiously awaiting a bout that may never come, just remember there was a man, at one time, who did his part to make sure the public got what they wanted, needed, and demanded. For that, and more, Smokin’ Joe Frazier will always be remembered.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda


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