Tyson Fury is a heavyweight boxing star, a former world champion from proud, humble roots, who also happens to have said some atrociously sexist, homophobic things in the past that prove yet again why us men are truly the weakest of the genders.
Sorry, I’m one of those sports nuts who cannot separate the personhood of the athlete from their athletic achievements. Or whatever personhood I can garner from reading between the lines with cursory reads of articles on my phone.
So I kinda felt a little disgusted by Tyson Fury with my initial introductions to him from the media. But I also remember feeling a touch of pity. Toxic masculinity is usually interred with trauma and mental health struggles. All men know this to some degree or the other.
It was almost too easy to predict and eventually witness the inevitable fall once he reached his pinnacle. Considering the trauma he had taken in (and possibly inflicted on the world in a myriad ways), it played out like tragicomic theater.
For fame, wealth, status, and glory – unlike love and liberation – are but fleeting, no matter at what level they’re first experienced.
But they’re heady drugs nonetheless.
And fall he did from those highs.
Depression. Abuse. Deathliness.
Until he changed the script.
Embraced his vulnerabilities. Learnt to walk before he could get back to doing road work and train.
Paid heed to the knowledge of others but trusted his heart. Got his comeback title bid.
Fought like a dancer tossing away diamond-encrusted shackles.
And got up before the 10 count like he was waking up to an alarm clock – almost like he had trained himself to wake up, every morning, getting ahead of the dark clouds day after day in his comeback bid.
Tyson Fury came away with a draw that didn’t get him the belt but got him as deep a smile as I’ve ever seen on a man who’s really trying to dance with his demons.
And this time around, after the rush of the fight, he seems ready for the struggle to commence.
The righteous struggle.
The noble daily grind for love and liberation that all of us must find our peace in.
I think this sexist homophobe might just be a homeboy of mine.
(Well…as long as he don’t mind arguing while we spar.)