I was young, very young when Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. And, I remember kids calling me Cassius, but I didn’t understand until later that it should have been taken as a compliment, even if that wasn’t the intent. Kids.
I began using the quote, “Don’t count the days, make the days count” long before I began blogging and even longer before I knew it is attributed to Muhammad Ali. It is likely that Ali is not the origin of the saying either, but Muhammad Ali is the one gets the credit. It doesn’t matter who, or when, or how, he was the Greatest.
I can imagine how he said it, though. It was days before a big fight, could’ve been Frazier, or Foreman, or a lesser known fighter and Ali was asked by a reporter if he was ready for the fight with only days away. His response was classic Ali,
“Only a fool counts days. I am the Greatest, I don’t count the days, I make the days count. And when I step into the ring the only countin’ that’s gonna be goin’ on is the referee counting to ten when I knock that sucker on his back. I am the Greatest.” Muhammad Ali
That’s how I’d like to believe that Muhammad Ali said that he made the days count. He could’ve learned it from Angelo Dundee, his long-time trainer, who drilled the saying into his head, or it could’ve been his mom or dad, or anyone who had a positive impact on his life. I don’t know how he learned it, but, I do know this – making the days count was how Ali lived his life.
Ali was a force in the ring, and when he wasn’t boxing he was a force for civil rights and doing what is right. He was the Greatest.
I also know that after a school year with me, my students remember to make the days count, though sometimes we count them, it’s easier, especially at the end of the year. All I have to do is say it and live it in my classroom, and it rubs off.
We left Michigan last night and we arrived home very late, I was driving home when W tapped my shoulder and said Ali had passed away.
Today, the day has counted in so many ways already – O had a monster hit in her softball game and it drove in two runs – they won and play again tomorrow. O’s game ended as it began to rain heavily, though the rain has since stopped, the day has been mostly grey and overcast. I can see gentle rays of late afternoon sunshine illuminating the garden and path through the window.
It’s been a great day and there are a few more hours before I call it day, a complete day. As always, I am Making the Days Count, one day at a time.
4 thoughts on “The Greatest”
I remember the song from a long, long time ago. “He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.” Such an amazing man.
Now – I’m off to make this day count. Have a great week.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Indeed he was an amazing person and inspiration. Small steps lead to greatness. Ali’s 10 Best Quotes. He was more than a boxer, more than athlete. Thank you and the week is off to great start!
His passing must mean more to you than to most, since you made ‘his’ saying your own. I tried to find out if he purloined it from elsewhere, but it seems it really was his. Anyway, it’s a great saying, and one you live up to in a very full way. Enjoy your week!
Ali was an American icon for more than sports. It is complicated, but last night, my wife asked me, “what’s the big deal? He was just a boxer.” I tried to explain and then this morning she read some of the newspaper – there was a front page article with several other articles in the news section as well as a full page spread on his boxing career in the sports section, in addition to full page photos on the front of the news and sports sections. I think she began to understand the meaning of his life was more than a sports star, that his life had meaning beyond his sport. His life’s work influenced countless people. Thank you for the compliment, if I can be a fraction of Ali’s influence then, that is something.