Our road trip 2016 started today, and it found us making our overnight stay in Louisville for the night. And the city was abuzz with people talking about the life and legend of Muhammad Ali. While I’ve never been a hug boxing fan, I wasn’t oblivious to Ali’s reputation as a confident and outstanding talent. I remember his lighting the Olympic cauldron in the 1996 Atlanta Summer games. It was an unexpected surprise and one that made a huge impression on the millions watching. That’s what he did: made an impression. Isn’t that what we all want to do in this world?
After dinner, we strolled to the Muhammad Ali Center on 144 North 6th Street, and the outpouring of condolences, flowers, notes, and mementos were quite touching. Our kids had not heard of Ali before, so we had a nice chat about his talent and his impact on the sport of boxing. Although the Center was closed (it’s open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 am-5pm and Sundays from 12-5pm), it really does give you pause to walk around the building and see the outpouring of love and respect. Reporters and camera crews were stationed around the geometric statue making broadcasts. I overheard a man doing a segment in Spanish. All these are reminders that news of Ali’s death is an international news story.
The mission of the Muhammad Ali Center is “to preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali, to promote respect, hope, and understanding, and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.” I think the logo says it all: a butterfly reminds us of his famous quote, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” And the tagline reads: “Be Great…Do Great Things.” That is exactly what he did.
The Center awards humanitarian awards every year to recipients who are making significant contributions toward securing peace, social justice, human rights, and/or social capital in their communities and on a global basis. It also chooses six young adults, age 30 and under, who are serving as advocates, activists, and role models in ways that are ultimately transforming communities and bringing about positive change in the world. Each of these six winners are recognized for one of Muhammad Ali’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality.
Details: Muhammad Ali Center, 144 North 6th Street, Louisville, KY 40202. Admission is $ 9 adults, $ 8 seniors (65+), $ 5 Military, $ 5 students with ID, and $ 4 for children 6-12.