On Friday, and quite by chance, I watched the Clare Balding Show. My all time favourite boxer, Chris Eubank, was one of the guests, together with his son. I hadn’t seen Chris on television for a while so I was delighted.
Several years ago I met Chris at a local event and was so lucky to be able to spend 20 minutes chatting to him on my own. The event photographer took photos of us. I was blown away by the opportunity to speak to someone I admired immensely.
About 18 months later, I met Chris again. The penny had finally dropped that I didn’t just have to watch boxing but I could actually box myself. So, I had started kickboxing and then moved on to Muay Thai, finding the only sport that I’ve ever really enjoyed and that kept me going back week after week.
Chris came to Manchester as part of his book tour so I queued up, boxing glove, book and photo from the first meeting in hand. I reached the front of the queue, it was my turn to approach the table. Chris looked up, instantly recognising me, stood up, came over saying, ‘this is a special friend’ and gave me a bear hug. I was blown away for the second time. I was almost speechless. I’d envisaged recalling our earlier meeting to him but he was way ahead of me. He signed my boxing glove, book and photo, gave me another huge hug and I floated out of the book shop.
Years later when I tell the story I still experience that same emotion of being recognised.