AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

BEN’S BLOG: ‘Clash of The Giants’

ben_keith_team-150x150[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I was a child, I used to go and watch Tony Morris work. He was, unquestionably, the finest on-course bookmaker ever to stand on a stool with a piece chalk in his hand. Immaculately presented, and never, ever flustered. And, of course; ‘Dr Death’ as he was nicknamed; absolutely unaware of the meaning of, or interested in, the presence of the word ‘prisoners’, in the English language.

When I achieved my life-goal, of becoming a bookmaker at Walthamstow dogs, I wrote to him, asking to meet him. He replied immediately. And on a cold morning, collected me from opposite Victoria Station, in his gleaming black Mercedes, and took me for tea at his beloved Dorchester Hotel. As I stepped into his car, I saw that he was immaculate; as he was on the joint. I asked him if he remembered a young boy, from Brighton, who used to go and watch him during the Derby and St Leger heats. He turned to look right at me, with a smile across his face, and his head nodded. But as usual; his black and shark like eyes, remained dead; dead still.

tonymorrisWhat started, during the last six years of Tony’s life, was one of the most intense and important friendships of my life. I learned during this time though, that Tony Morris took no prisoners in his private life either, as he delivered, like a sharpened knife cutting effortlessly through skin, bone and marrow, and then into my soul; the most cutting, direct, and almost psychotic, constructive criticism possible. Tony had his ‘men’ everywhere, and knew about my every move. More than that though, he could see the consequences of these young moves. I used to shudder, thinking about any errors I may have made, when seeing an unexpected call coming in from him, but will be forever grateful, and live by many of the lessons from his bookmaking master-classes.

Another gladiator I have watched the rise and rise of, has been my sister; Tamara. At times, during her life, she has operated in a manner that makes Tony Morris look like he was half a soft touch, and shares some of his styles of operations. All goals and targets are reached with ample time to spare. Like Tony, no career maps or previously trodden paths are followed. When you crush everything within sight; you don’t tend to need such irrelevances to guide you.

However, Mother Nature dared to stand in Tamara’s way. During her teens and twenties, she suffered an ALMOST debilitating kidney illness; that was fought and fought until the offending organ was removed. Text books were drafted into the hospital, and business carried on as usual. I will never forget something Tamara said to me though, when she was at her lowest ebb. ‘Ben, I never realised how fast you have to run just to stand still in this life.’. I cannot tell you what depths must have been reached for those words of the most genuine humility to pass from my sister’s mouth.

One man who couldn’t run fast enough to keep up with life’s ruthless pace, was the precocious talent; Antonio Vega. Antonio was a truly gifted Spanish singer, and wrote the song ‘Lucha de Gigantes’. It means ‘Clash of The Giants’. He sings about his isolation and not quite understanding what he’s up against. He ends by saying he wants to leave without feeling scared. This is particularly haunting, as Anthony, soon after, took matters into his own hands. Unable to play life’s game, he departed from proceedings early.

I hope you enjoy his song, Blog. I put up a translation of the words for you below…

‘A clash of titans
electrifies the air.
This wild duel warns me
I’m close to getting caught in the middle
In this isolated world,
I feel how fragile I am.

Don’t try to deceive me,
You don’t want to hide
that you have walked out as if nothing’s wrong.
A Monster cast from paper
I don’t know what I’m up against
Or is there someone else here?

Run away from me, this grave feeling,
as if there’s a monster chasing it away.
Tell me it’s all lies,
a silly dream and nothing else.
I’m afraid of that evil place
where no one can hear my voice.

Don’t try to deceive me,
You don’t want to hide
that you have walked out as if nothing’s wrong.
A Monster cast from paper
I don’t know what I’m up against
Or is there someone else here?

I believe in terrible fantasies
of some strange place
and all of my foolishness
that makes you burst into laughter.
In this isolated world,
I feel how fragile you are.

Let us go without fear.’

Over and out, B x

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