The fighter never dies

As we get older in life, we begin to work out the types of people we want to surround ourselves with. Humanitarians? Business people? Charitable types? Religious folk? Sporting obsessives? Political canvassers? Party animals? Criminals? Spiritual obssesives?

I find myself, today, having interactions with people who fall into all of the categories above. Through my fellowship, through my hobbies, through meetings, through bumping into people, my phone book has a wide selection of numbers in it. One moment I will be on the phone to someone being processed to start a jail sentence and the next moment, I could very easily be on the phone to the judge processing them for sentence.

But today, I reflect on the sort of people I love. The people I want to surround myself with. And the truth is, if there is one thing I love more than anything, it’s fighters. Those who fight for something. A cause. A case. A philosophy. A belief. A life. A relationship. A sport. A campaign. It could be anything.

Those who grit their teeth, pluckily chip away with intense eyes sincerely focused on their goals and take on the world. Especially when the world is against them and their chances are slim.

Those with less resource who overcome the odds and upset the apple cart through pure grit, heart, determination and spirit. This world does not see enough of it. In the world we live in, we do not see enough of the established order being overturned. Of the inspirational guy or girl on the street fulfilling their dreams rather than obsessing about survival.

Throughout my life, i’ve always admired fighters. People who never gave in. Those with a never-say-die spirit. When Kenny Miller (a teenage hero of mine) put on the number 9 jersey for the Scottish national football team, he wasn’t the best football player in the world but he’d run his socks off all day and give his all. When Lleyton Hewitt entered a tennis court, he wasn’t the best player but he’d give his all for the cause (whether it be Australia or himself). When my mate Bradley started a song on the terraces at Burnley, he was never the William Wallace leader type we were looking for but he gave it everything he had and I adored him for it.

But the real heroes in life do not arise from sport. They are formed through life. The real fighters are the single mums who’ve had to go through part of their benefits being taken off them but still fight the good fight in their search for justice. The bereaving women who’s sons were shot dead due to an outbreak of gang violence but now fight every day to rid our streets of such crime. The army veterans who no longer receive help from the state they fought to protect but fight to help other veterans of war gain better protection. The recovering heroin addicts who fight to get those they used to use with to stop and change their lives for the better. True fighters — who fight for a good cause and a better world.

And what I have learnt is this. The western world may be becoming progressively more unfair. Harder and harder for the weakest and most vulnerable to survive within it. The sacrifice greater. The pain more telling. But what I know from my experience of life is that the fight will go on. Those who believe in a more equal society will always fight for one. One day, my generation’s fighters will be gone. But there is always a next wave ready to come through and fight against what the world has become. And when they are gone, there will be a generation after them.

In sport, in politics, in life, in communities and even in business, there will always be fighters looking to make this world a better place and make life within it easier for all. I’m so glad to be one of them.

The fighter will never die. Thank god for that…