This past Sunday, I was invited to sing at the AAIB luncheon (American Association for the Improvement of Boxing), and it got a little interesting. My dad knows one of the co-founders of the association, who founded it with Rocky Marciano, so it was pretty cool to be one step away from a legend. Even cooler than that, was that Ken Norton was there. Ken is one of the only men to beat Muhammad Ali, and the second you meet him, you see not only what a big guy he is, but how much spunk he still has. It was crazy to be around these big tough guys, who end up being the biggest jokesters in the room, as evidenced with Emil Griffith took a fork to Ken Norton. Emanuel Steward was there too, who now does boxing commentary on HBO. He was such a nice guy.
I was asked to sing the National Anthem at the luncheon, but when I got there, I saw that the program said "God Bless America, sung by Amanda Kaletsky". Uh oh, good thing I keep a set of American patriotic songs somewhere in my brain. I thought, OK, I got this. Then, the emcee announces "and now singing America the Beautiful, accompanied by accordion, Miss Amanda Kaletsky." Now I'm in trouble, so I just took a breath, gave the accordionist a "no" nod, and sang God Bless America.
Things went pretty smoothly after that, and I even won the table prize, a stand-up old-fashioned punching bag. Good for some sparring practice.
Here's a picture of me, Brian, and Ken Norton, "the man who gave Ali Hell"