Did you get goose bumps when you heard Maggie’s fans chant “Mo Chuisle, Mo Chuisle” as she stood solidly in the center ring?
Did you feel an aching vicarious pride as you watched her rise from the crumble of a small Ozark town to achieve boxing greatness?
Did you skip a breath when her head and neck cracked against the stool?
Did you openly weep as Frankie stopped her heart with a single injection?
I also sympathized with her decision to die.
Fast forward seven years and one serious spinal cord injury later, and my opinion is, shall we say, a tad bit different.
As fans, we were invested in her fighter mentality, her reaching the unreachable despite the extreme adversity. That’s why we loved her.
But here’s the cold hard truth: Maggie’s a wimp.
I now feel betrayed. When she really needed to fight—and fight harder than she had ever fought—she quietly exited the ring. She gave up.
I wonder, what if my sister had made the same cowardly choice? What if she thought her life consisted only of legs and arms, no heart?
Let me back up and draw some parallels. Both my sister and Maggie suffered C-level injuries. Both required medical assistance to breath and eat. Both lost all movement and feeling from below the shoulders. Both lost the lives that they had known.
However, unlike Maggie “the fighter,” my sister rises from her bed each day knowing that only courage will conquer her disability, and only courage will help her face what doctors classify as insurmountable odds.
Despite the grim prognosis, she works out her legs, arms and abs four times a week during grueling 3-4 hour workouts.
My sister and Maggie do have one similarity: they both believe in training for a big fight.
But only Kiki’s strong enough to fight for her life.