Every once in a while, I come across someone that I have an instant connection to. That happened when I recently met Ms. Jackie Kallen. Anyone who follows boxing, knows who Jackie is. Even if you don’t follow boxing, this is someone you should know. She is a fascinating woman, and has become a role model of mine.
I became familiar with Jackie on the reality television show The Contender, with Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone.. We met recently at a charity event meeting, and from the moment I shook her hand, she was my friend. Ms. Kallen is 64 years old, but you’d be hard pressed to find a 40 year old that looks as good as she does. She is a classy lady, and a fabulous broad.
Born and raised in Detroit, in a middle class Jewish family, Jackie got engaged at 19, married at 20, and has 2 sons, and 3 grandchildren. After 30 years of marriage, her husband announced that he was in love with another woman, a younger woman, and they divorced. She then found herself in her fifties and single, so she moved to Los Angeles to start over.
When Jackie was little she decided that life was not about fitting in, but rather about standing out. She fought her way into the boxing world, and her determination and talent has kept her there. Dubbed the First Lady of Boxing, her life story inspired the movie Against The Ropes, with Meg Ryan playing Jackie. Worth renting if you’ve not seen it.
Jackie is a girly girl, who has balls, and holds her own in a man’s world. She is not afraid to speak her mind, and is a role model to young and old alike. Every high school, university, and woman’s group, should have her come and speak. She is an inspiration, and has a message that is worth hearing, for both young women and young men.
We thankfully live in a time when kids can grow up to be whatever they want, regardless of their sex or race. Jackie speaks in way that not only do people know that it is possible to build the life they want, but that they all have the ability to not only dream it, but make it a reality. She has led several lives in her 64 years, and her experiences are fascinating.
This is a woman who would not listen when people told her boxing was no place for women, and when she was told no, she fought hard to change people’s answer to yes. She inspires me in so many ways. She has overcome loss, heartache, heart disease, and cancer. She has never needed to reinvent herself, because she has been the same person since childhood.
She has taught me that the greatest thing I can do for myself, is believe in myself. No matter what happens, life is all about perception, and I can control not only what my perception is, but how others perceive me. When it comes to what “they say”, Jackie’s responds that she does not know who “they” are, so she does not need to listen. I love this chick.
She has been through so much in her life, and when knocked down, she has an uncanny ability to not blame anyone. She takes full responsibility for the things in her life, and rather than complain, or be bitter, she learns from the fall, does not make the same mistake twice, and embraces the lesson. She is a very evolved human being, and I strive to be more like her.
Jackie is currently working on a charity boxing event that I am involved with. It’s called “Knock Out Addiction” and the proceeds will benefit Beit T’Shuvah, which is a temple and residential addiction treatment center, here in Los Angeles. There will be 3 matches, the main event being one between Rabbi Mark Borovitz, and actor/comedian Tom Arnold.
There is a very funny interview with Tom Arnold, talking about the fight, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u4WLRFTAPM. The event is on Wednesday, June 16th, at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. If you would like information about tickets, call Barbara Friedman at 310-204-5200, ext. 204, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will hook you up.
Jackie will be there, along with her boxing pals. Some old time heroes, some up and coming hopefuls, and some guy that goes by the name Sugar Ray, who I am not so secretly in love with. It will be a great night, for a great cause, so if going to be in Los Angeles on the 16th, and want a fun night out, get in touch with Barbara.
If you’ve never been to Friday Night Services at Beit T’Shuvah, you really should go. It’s a rock concert, Shabbat service that will knock your socks off. I had no idea that Jews could be addicts. Who knew? This place is a hidden treasure in this city, and has redefined how I view my faith, and myself. And for the record, I’ve got my money on the Rabbi.
Jackie Kallen is a hero. She not only has balls, but makes me grateful that I’ve got them too. If I can look half as good as she does when I’m 64, I’ll be thrilled, and if I can maintain my balls, while still being a lady, like she is, then I will be blessed. You can find out more about Jackie at www.jackiekallen.com, so check her out.
Jackie reminded me of how exciting, and sexy a sport boxing is, and that being a lady who can hang with the big boys, is attainable by all women. She inspires me to be my best self, and not be afraid of getting older. She has shown me that when you are knocked down, or even knocked out, you can get back on your feet, if you simply keep the faith.
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