Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Story of Muhammad Ali’s Stolen Bicycle

(reblogged and adapted from AECT Newsletter, February 2012)
Our submission system for the 2012 AECT International Convention is humming right along. The submission deadline is March 2, 2012. Once submissions are closed, our convention planners will hit the ground running, compiling reviews and scheduling sessions. YOU can help us by volunteering to review proposals for your divisions/affiliates. Planners are already collecting reviewer names. If you don’t hear from a division/affiliate representative, please send your planner an email (or you can contact me at mchildre@emporia.edu and I will forward your contact information to the appropriate individual). The success of our convention is dependent upon quality presentations.  I hope you will step forward and review proposals.
At this point, many of you are probably wondering why I chose the title for this column. As you may remember from my last column, Louisville is the home of the Muhammad Ali Center; an international education center inspired by the accomplishments of Muhammad Ali. The center houses scores of immersive and interactive exhibits, each highlighting Ali’s six core values of respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, and spirituality. While touring the center late last year, our planning team came upon a bicycle. While viewing the bicycle, the center’s director relayed a short version of the following story –
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was named after his father (who was himself named for the Kentucky abolitionist, Cassius M. Clay). At age 12, he had his bicycle stolen and he reported the fact to a local policeman (and boxing trainer), Sergeant Joe Martin. Cassius wanted to “whup” the thief, but Martin suggested that Clay learn to fight first. Under his guidance, Clay rapidly advanced through the youth ranks. Clay won six Kentucky Golden Gloves while in high school and was allowed to graduate, despite his poor grades (later it would be determined that Clay was dyslexic, though at the time, he was simply thought to be a low achiever). Clay later joked about his lackluster academic record saying, "I said I was the Greatest, not the smartest."  (Ali and Me http://www.alicenter.org/edresources/Documents/AliandMe.pdf)

Ali’s bicycle is on exhibit to remind visitors how seemingly insignificant events and encounters with individuals can significantly impact the paths that we choose. The bicycle story also reminded me of the importance of our annual convention. Each year, AECT members meet at our chosen convention venue to share our research and ideas. Just as importantly, we reunite with old friends and meet new friends and colleagues. During these exchanges we also impact and influence each other’s academic and professional agendas. Although they might not seem significant at the time, our convention encounters mold who we are and plot a path for what we do…. the same way that Ali’s stolen bicycle experience helped to determine his monumental path. I encourage you to visit the Muhammad Ali Center during 2012 AECT convention stay in Louisville. I am sure that you will not be disappointed.

More convention updates will follow in upcoming newsletters, TechTrends issues, and at my AECT President-elect / convention planning blog - http://marcuschildress.blogspot.com

Young Ali photo source - http://i.imgur.com/E7Nn8.jpg

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