In 1982 a bunch of my knucklehead teenage friends and I swarmed onto my mother’s house like a cloud of locusts. We ravaged everything in the refrigerator, fell onto the couches and turned on the tube.
This is back before any of us had satellite or cable, much less the web or smart phones, so a live event on the five or six channels we had was a really big deal.
Oh there were the Saturday night watches with Fritz Von Erik and Rocky Johnson. Every now and then Evil Kanevil would jump over something cool or one of the Wallendas would walk a tight rope but this was legit!
A South Korean fighter named Deuk Koo Kim was going to brawl for a title fight with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. Mancini predicted it would be “all out war” and Kim threatened somebody could even die.
I remember the room and the fight like it was yesterday. Long hair, caps and cowboy hats, cutoff blue jean shorts, boots and shoes all over the floor. The strong thick accents in contrast to Sugar Ray Leonard’s smooth and professional commentary. The image of Caesar’s palace through the flicker of the television and my goodness, what a fight it was.
For the first nine or ten rounds, the two warriors went toe to toe and they were incredibly even matched. Mancini’s eye was swelling shut, his ear was tore open and he even considered throwing in the towel. However, in the later rounds Mancini somehow found the strength to dominate and just started throwing way more punches. In the beginning of the 13th round Mancini ran across the ring and charged Kim hitting him with a flurry of 39 punches. Kim somehow came back and fought just as hard. When the fighters came out for the 14th round, Mancini literally ran at Kim again, charged forward and hit Kim with a solid right. Kim reeled back, Mancini missed with a left, and then Mancini hit Kim with another hard right. Kim went flying into the ropes and his head plowed into the canvas. Somehow, the warrior Kim managed to rise unsteadily to his feet, but referee Richard Green stopped the fight and Mancini was declared the winner by TKO, nineteen seconds into the 14th round.
In the midst of all the excitement, nobody knew that at that moment Kim was dying. Later, Ralph Wiley of Sports Illustrated, said Kim pulling himself up the ropes as he was dying was “one of the greatest physical feats I had ever witnessed.”
If you don’t know, the drama and the trauma of what happened next, you really should look it up. Deuk Koo Kim immediately fell over and died not long after of a severe brain bleed. It was a terrible, terrible tragedy that America saw live and it changed the sport of boxing forever.
The distance was changed from 15 rounds to 12 rounds which is the equivalent of taking the 4th quarter out of a football game. Ray Mancini was never the same after that and didn’t box for very much longer. The referee actually committed suicide and so did Kim’s mother!
It was a royal stinking mess that traumatized people and terrible decisions were made in the midst of the dark drama and aftermath. It happened to boxing and sometimes it happens to all of us.
I think there are unavoidable times in life where we are thunderstruck with the introduction of dramatic dread. Something hits us that isn’t on our radar and traumatizes us into a period of time where we are vulnerable to making bad decisions -even making things worse.
This is why you need a tribe. A supernatural family of believers that are full of faith and the Holy Spirit. This is why you need a community of Christians. This is why the Bible says do not forsake the assembly of the brothers.
You don’t go to church so that God loves you more. You intentionally connect with the body of Christ so that you can keep loving God when you otherwise would be crazy. Sometimes we desperately need “healthy” hearted people to stand with us and declare the goodness of God in the Land of the living.
You don’t want your life altered forever or even ended because of the dramatic trauma that comes with bad things. The Goodness of God will help you overcome that and I hope and pray that you are surrounded by Christians who have an agenda for goodness and the love of God towards you.
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14