It was early morning on March 9th, 1971 in Friedberg, Germany, when my mother crept into my room and gently shook me awake. 'Do you want to watch'? Silly question, of course I did. The build up to this event had been going on for weeks now and even at the tender age of 8, I knew something
was going on. Sleep was hard to come by that night, since I was too afraid that she would not wake me as promised.
The new TV set was humming, purchased for just this occasion and whilst it was not quite clear to me who these guys were, I remember the excitement as if it was yesterday. I had the seat of honor in between my parents, wrapped into a warm blanket and my eyes glued to the black and white screen. Excitement from half a world away and a day earlier on the calendar, filled our living room.
My Dad pointed to a man struggling with a big camera. 'That's Frank Sinatra'. The announcer was introduced as Burt Lancaster as the camera swayed over to Norman Mailer and Woody Allen, names that at the time meant nothing to me. Glaring lights, announcements in a then unfamiliar language - I was struck with awe - and there they were. Two hulking men, one tall, one short, dancing on their feet whilst the crowd was going crazy.
Suddenly a bell went off and the taller man, who I was to learn was Muhammad Ali formerly known as Cassius Clay, shot out of his corner towards Joe Frazier. It scared and excited me at the same time. The two athletes were going at each other in what looked to my 8 year old eyes like a dangerous dance. During those magical moments my first career choice ripened in my head - I was going to become the first female boxing champion.
My Dad explained the fundamentals to me, the fight was split up in rounds, each lasting 3 minutes. To me it seemed much longer at the time. I was worried of the smaller man, my favorite, being hurt. But Joe Frazier stood his ground. The match kept going, round after round, I was getting tired but was unable to stop watching, routing and screaming for Mr Frazier to win.