Ray King: New Year’s resolution
My good friend George Young, now 87 like me, said to me a few years ago, “Raymond, you and I are survivors!” With a name like Young, how could he not survive? George’s older brother Eddy must be close to 90 and his younger brother Clive must be close to the 80 mark.
Sadly their eldest brother John was killed in a car accident at Broomhill many decades ago. I continue to ask the question, “why is it that some of us do survive into old age while others perish at such a young age?” We’ll never know the answer to this until maybe we are at the end of our journey.
Looking back on my own life as I do constantly, it never fails to amaze me that I’m still here to ‘tell the tale’: falling 40 feet from the top of a ladder and then walking away, several car crashes and few near misses, almost drowning in a Jacuzzi, to name but a few. The rich tapestry of my own life has certainly never been dull!
If I were asked to name my most memorable accomplishment in sport one would, I suppose, assume it would be something from my footballing days or my cricket career which I cherish so much. In fact I was recently presented with the Number 1 Goalkeeper’s Jersey by the Chairman of Port Vale F. C. as the club’s best Keeper in the 127 years of its existence. As you can imagine this was a great honour and I am certainly proud of my achievements at Port Vale.
But no, my most memorable achievement, from my own perspective, occurred in 1942, when, as an 18 year old raw recruit in the army, I was coerced into the boxing ring for the very first time to fight against the army heavyweight champion who had never been defeated. Our battalion boxer refused to fight him saying, “I would rather take my chances on the front line than be killed by him!”
As events unfolded I knocked him out at the end of the second round. That to me was my greatest achievement. When I finally found out why I had been chosen to enter “the lion’s den” it was because I had won the 10 mile forced march with full pack, helmet and rifle!!
Happy New Year!