“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. If you’re going to try, go all the way. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind.”
The opening lines to a poem named Roll the Dice by Charles Bukowski. Not a direct line or quote I have lived by but it’s not far off. I was reaching new career heights after working in boxing for 5 years in England. I left my girlfriend, my job, my relatives, and my mind for a new experience to roll the dice in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympic Games.
Brazil was always my number one destination to visit and specifically Rio de Janeiro. When I was younger I would tell people that I was from Brazil so they would think I was a better at football, I nearly changed my name from Afsheen to Denilson and I had a Brazilian item of clothing for every occasion. I had made it to the biggest event in the sporting world, in the city that I had dreamed about for so many years. I left my job in Essex at the start of June to move to Rio where I would work for 3 months, and then take time to travel south America before chasing one of the big worldwide organisations to work for by the new year. I had been approached by the International Boxing Association before the games and a possible move to Switzerland was also on the cards.
During the games, I had a good relationship with a boxing company in Australia and Team USA Boxing that had asked me to send my CV and give them a visit to Colorado Springs in October. So as plans changed and options started to appear on the table I decided I would make decisions after spending a month on the road with my brand-new backpack that I was now in love with.
Working at the Olympic boxing event can be long hours with not much sleep involved, then if you add the Brazilian party lifestyle you are soon exhausted. We had made it to the penultimate day and the end was in site with just two shifts left for some gold medal matches to be decided. The wrestling and weightlifting events had finished so we decided to have a party with their staff on the Saturday night with lots of beer, steak, and cachaça.
It’s emotional times when the games finish because some people work towards the Olympics for four years, they sacrifice lifestyles to get to these events. Everyone was discussing their jobs that they were going to back in their home countries or they were moving to another event. Not me, I was a free spirit, I was about to go travelling and had a completely blank canvas for the first time in my life. A new adventure that who knows what would happen. So excited. I had a flight booked to Iguazu falls and that was it. Everything I owned was in a back pack. I was rolling the dice and my numbers were coming in every time. This is an adventure. This is living!
However my dreams and freedom were about to change forever and also my families and friends lives too.
In this book I shall begin with telling you how I got to September 9th 2016 the day that my life would change. The first part of this book is building up to September 9th when I started to keep a diary. I never used to keep a diary just take lots of pictures and post lots of facebook updates. After September 9th I went into diary mode and that is how this book will evolve.
But first I’ll let you know what happened along the way.
I am writing this is to my family, friends, anyone affected and especially to my Mum.