The P stands for: Publishing, Pugilism, Popular this week
A disappearing act?
I haven’t vanished these last couple of weeks — you just had to know where to find me. And usually that’s Laptopistan, where I peck away at projects both short and long-term, putting in eight-hour work days even during my week of “vacation.”
Not that I’m complaining. Doing what I do still beats working for a living, so if I have to sacrifice a vacation day here and an evening there I shrug my shoulders and do it. It’s all part of being Morgan P.
And this week I’m putting in all kinds of extra work on labours of love that just happen to coincide with my career.
Wednesday night, for example, I’ll be at the Great Hall (1087 Queen St. W., Toronto) helping emcee the official launch event for author Jael Richardson’s memoir The Stone Thrower.
Richardson teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Humber College in Toronto, and is the youngest daughter of Chuck Ealey, a former Canadian Football League star who went 35-0 as starting quarterback at the University of Toledo, an NCAA record that still stands.
The Stone Thrower follows Richardson as she grapples with her father’s upbringing in small-town southern Ohio, her own evolving African-Canadian racial identity, and how both are influenced — in ways both obvious and unseen — by the aspirations of southern Black migrants, the Civil Rights Movement, and entrenched racism in the athletic-industrial complex.
The publishing industry buzz around this book has been building since the summer, and tonight I’m lucky enough to able to help formally introduce it to the public.
Part of it is that I’m a sports writer who’s passionate about issues of race, history and identity. But the other part of it is that my family and Richardson’s go way back.
Her big brother, Damon, and my older sister, Courtney, were in day care together.
My first year playing football Damon was our team’s star player and Chuck Ealey was one of our coaches.
In high school I played football against Damon and became very good friends with middle sister Skye. Along with the Freeman family we formed a tiny network of Afro-Ameri-Canadians within Mississauga’s overwhelmingly Caribbean black community.
And now that Jael and I have both grown into adults who tell stories for a living, I’ll be there helping introduce her most important and most personal story to the world.
Event gets underway at 7 p.m. and I’m pretty sure it’s invitation only, but if you’re in the area and interested in stopping by you should visit the Facebook page for the book launch and see if you can get yourself invited.
And if you can’t manage to crash that party, you can stay home and watch me on the Fight Network because that’s where I’ll be Wednesday afternoon and Friday night.
The past few days some of my Twitter followers and Facebook friends have asked me if a plan to preview Saturday’s middleweight championship bout between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez, either on the air or online.
The fight has boxing fans beyond intrigued, so I understand the curiosity.
Chavez is the son of a legend, undefeated and ambitious yet with unanswered questions about his heart and his smarts.
Martinez has the rugged good looks and crystal-clear diction of a man who walked off the set of a telenovela and into the ring. But his boxing bona fides are rock solid, as Paul Williams, Kelly Pavlik and Matthew Maklin can all attest.
What I can tell you right now is that the winner of the bout will have to employ skill, strategy and machismo in equal measure.
And if you want to know more tune into the Fight Network, where I’ll reconnect with my good friend and fellow Morning Jones alum Corey Erdman to analyze what might blossom into the fight of the year.
Wednesday afternoon we’re on the air live to provide analysis of the Martinez-Chavez pre-fight news conference. If the action there is half as entertaining as their HBO “Face-Off” feature, Corey and I will plenty to discuss.
Our broadcast starts at 3 p.m. and if you live in Canada you have no reason not to watch it — Fight Network is in free preview mode until September 30.
Friday night we’re back at it, discussing the weigh-in and offering up-to-the minute analysis of fight week action.
If you know me, then you know I’ll say the Spanish names in Spanish (that’s CHA-bes, not sh’VEZZ), because sometimes the P stands for “Proper Pronunciation.”
And if you don’t know me, just trust me:
The Stone Thrower is a great read. Join us tonight if you can wrangle an invite.
The Fight Network is free this month, so join us there too. You won’t find a better boxing analysis on TV in this country.
And the adventures for me don’t stop, so stay tuned.
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