A year ago I wrote about the great Cuban boxer Teófilo Stevenson, who passed away on Monday. I, like so many others, have always been awestruck by Stevenson’s willingness to forego a pro career, one that would have doubtless earned him millions of dollars. He instead chose to live a simple life in Cuba, where his house frequently lacked hot water, and he couldn’t muster the funds to fill his small swimming pool.
I can’t say I understand Stevenson’s choice, but maybe that’s just because I’m angry the world never got to whether he really could have beaten Muhammad Ali. But how can you not respect a man who prized his personal values over material wealth? We all suspect that in such acceptance lies true happiness, though precious few of us are willing to find out for ourselves.