I have mentioned before in these blog posts and it is discussed in the book that Marvis Frazier was an excellent all around athlete. He excelled in: Baseball, Football, Basketball, Wrestling, and of course, Boxing. His performance in these sports as a junior high school student did not go unnoticed by the high school coaches at Plymouth Whitemarsh, where he would be attending beginning in his freshman year. Several of the coaches had scouted Marvis and were already making plans for him to come on board with their teams.
Imagine their disappointment when they found out that Marvis would not be available. Once Marvis made it clear to his Dad that he was serious about pursuing boxing, his Dad made it clear to Marvis that he needed to dedicate himself to boxing; all the other sports would have to go. Marvis capitulated to his Dad’s wishes but felt badly about giving up the other sports. Marvis enjoyed all the sports that he played and because he excelled at them, he knew that he could have contributed to the success of the school sports teams he would have played on.
Some of the coaches tried to convince Marvis and Joe to let Marvis compete on their teams, but to no avail. From age 16 on, Marvis was a boxer exclusively. Of course Marvis did succeed at his chosen sport. Even while he was still a student at Plymouth Whitemarsh, Marvis won the 1979 National Golden Gloves tournament, winning himself a title and… well, a pair of golden gloves.
Sometime after winning that pair of gloves, Marvis was again feeling badly for not playing other sports for his high school teams, when he got an idea. There was an upcoming sports award assembly and Marvis asked the school athletic director if he could speak briefly. Of course this already nationally famous and very popular student could say a few words.
Part way through the assembly, Marvis was called to the podium on the stage. He calmly addressed his fellow students, congratulating them on their athletic successes during that school year. Marvis then apologized for not being out there on the field with the others to help them achieve even greater success. “As a consolation for my absence,” he told the entire student body, “I would like to offer my golden gloves as a trophy to represent all the students at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.”
Throughout the country, hundreds of high schools have trophies for league, section, or state championships in one sport or another, but how many have a pair of trophies with laces for a championship of the entire nation? Then again, how many high schools have had a student win the Golden Gloves of Boxing and the “Golden Gloves of Giving”?
Until next time, Jamie
PS. I often wonder how far Marvis could have gone in one of those other sports!