Throughout the years, sports have become a major part of society. It has been known to bring out the best and worst of people. People usually go after a team from their home town or teams with the same ethnic background. It has often been learned that, from this, language barriers begin to cross each other, and prejudices develop.
Maya Angelou's "Champion of the World" is much more than a chapter in a book. It represents much more than a boxing victory. During the 1930's, people of ethnic groups, especially Blacks, were not worth much. When Angelou stated, "Champion of the world. A Black boy. Some Black mother's son." (Paragraph 27), this defined struggle. This battle against the White Contender was not your ordinary victory. The victory would exemplify the Blacks, not only defeating a White man and it being okay, but also would portray an aspect of Blacks defeating the system. For once in their lives, it gave African Americans a sense of empowerment. This was their first step of defense, where no repercussions would be taken in exchange for victory.
"If Joe lost we were back in slavery and beyond help. " "My race groaned. It was our people falling". (Paragraphs 16 and 17).[Reference?] These two quotes represent struggle and years of pain. They knew what it was like to experience violence first hand. It was not a myth nor story they heard about, they felt the pain on a daily basis. Not only would this defeat be a lost for Louis, but it would represent defeat to the entire Black culture. If this were to happen, Maya Angelou said it herself, Blacks were helpless. To them, it was back to torture, inferiority, pain, and suffering. To the Whites it would be accomplishment, defeat, superiority, and power.
As stated before, this defeat was a mere symbol of Blacks regaining strength after all they had been through over the years; however, this did not defeat the purpose that racism still existed. In the last paragraph of this chapter in the book, it talked about the precautions Blacks would have to take after the victory of Joe Louis. Even though Louis' defeat against the White Contender gave him the title as "Heavy Weight Champion of the World", it also was now a risk for Blacks. Mentioned earlier, at the time, racism still existed. Racism is prejudice plus power: meaning, because the Whites had prejudice against any other ethnic group, and they possessed a power that came from the simple privilege of being White. If at any time Whites felt disrespected, they had the "right" to reprimand them at any cost. This is only portion of the violence occurring in and around 1930.
In the opening paragraph of this paper, it gives the introductory opinion. Over the years, sports have become the core to many people in society. It can either better a person and/or society or worsen them. In other words, a person can look at competitiveness at a positive or negative approach. As far as positive competitiveness is concerned, it can be looked upon to better a person. It can also be detrimental, literally speaking. Too many times in society today, people take sports to the extreme. There has been many instances where people have even lost their lives as a result of a bet on the victory of a game, or even the preference one has over the other. Sports have an immense influence over culture and society then and now. For example, the victory of Joe Louis was more than a victory. It was symbolic to the African American culture and society. It gave them pride, and for many who have never experienced anything like this, it was a first. This is only one example of the influence sports have on culture.
Paragraphs 16 and 17 were very inspirational. Although not saying much, it said enough. Those paragraphs vividly displayed years of trial and tribulation. Out of all the paragraphs within this chapter, these selected paragraphs were some of the most powerful paragraphs and expressed the most emotion. The description of the men staying away from walls, standing at attention, and the women clenching onto their babies, showed fear. It was a moment where it seemed as though the earth stood still. No one could breathe, blink, or even think; it was a moment of pure suspense. It could go either way. This was the turning point where Blacks felt it was all over. They knew if Louis went down for good, there would be even more punishment and torture for a Black man. For Blacks to ever even challenge a White man, knowing there was a possibility of failure, the consequences that were to follow could be worse. Comparing this portion of the chapter to the last paragraph, there was huge difference. The last paragraph displayed joy, triumph, and confidence: some of which characteristics of Black folk never knew would exist. It is noticed that from this final paragraph, Louis helped gain a respect toward Blacks. Even though they knew the respect would never be given, no White man could ever take away the title that African Americans from all over were all now considered "Champions of the World".
The way Angelou used description throughout the essay determined the interpretation the audience would receive. If she did not portray these descriptions the way she did, no one would ever be able to relate or have a sense of the emotion that had taken place during this time. Throughout the entire piece, Angelou's description painted a picture and portrayed all the emotion needing to be conveyed.
Over the years, boxing has not been such a profound sport as it used to be. The sport mogul I decided to discuss is Floyd "Pretty Boy" Mayweather Jr. Born into an athletic family of boxing, it was in his destiny to become a member of the boxing world, and to outshine his competitors, as did his family. According to his website (http://www.floydmayweatherjr.org/profile.html), [Cite on Works Cited page] he got his nickname "Pretty Boy Floyd" during the amateur years of his career. The name was given to him because his face was blemish free, meaning he was a great man of self defense, and took his career seriously. He would let nothing come in his way of reaching the top, and following in the footsteps of his family members. [Start new paragraph here.] Floyd Mayweather's fight against Oscar De La Hoya was a similar battle resembling the Joe Louis fight against the White Contender. This battle stirred up strife between the Hispanic and African American cultures. In a sense, it determined which ethnic group was the most powerful and had the most strength. After defeating De la Hoya, it was almost a culture shock to Hispanics, because they were used to being on top of this sport (similar to the Whites during the White Contender's career of boxing). Once again, African Americans gained confidence after this victory. [Start new paragraph here.]This battle could also be looked upon as symbolic. It could symbolize that the Blacks, after all the many years after the Louis/Contender fight, still had to overcome inferiority; and after having the defeat the Whites, it was only right to prove themselves to the rest of the world. Becoming the champion of just about every weight class he had ever fought in, put him at the peak of his career. Floyd is a good role model for children because he can teach the lesson that, no matter what life's history may be, the pressure people put on you to fail, will only push you forward into becoming something greater. Floyd would not only speak similar words to young, aspiring boxers, but he is also an example of what he believes in and represents. Despite all the people that have discouraged him over the years, his million dollar smile remains and is living proof that hard work pays off. Mayweather is currently at his life's prime. Remaining undefeated, he is still welterweight champion of the world.