By Robert Brizel, Brick City Boxing Correspondent
The world lost one of its easy listening and country music greats on Friday, March 20, 2020, in Sandy Springs, Georgia, when Kenny Rogers died in hospice care. A small private memorial ceremony is planned. Two of his classic songs, with classic lines, have long been unofficially associated with professional boxing and other professional sports.
One thing which people do in professional sports is play the odds, and bet on their favorite individuals to and teams to win. While not hyping gambling, or gaming, two songs are always synonymous with the betters and bookies. Frank Sinatra’s ‘Here’s To The Winners’ is one. ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ is another. Kenny Rogers’ song ‘The
Gambler’ is best.
Kenny Rogers sang many a national anthem, and made many public appearances at sporting events. His popular heyday was the 1970’s on pop charts, country music charts, television movies, and on the live performance circuit, though he performed through 2018.
People bet boxing and other sports. The influence the Kenny Rogers song ‘The Gambler’ and his ‘Gambler’ movies which followed had on people who gamble was noteworthy. ‘The Gambler’, the trademark song of the late Kenny Rogers, is an easy listening tune people frequently sing or hum without even knowing why. These are the immortal lines of ‘The Gambler’: ‘You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run. You never count your money, when you’re sitting at the table, there’ll be time enough for counting, when the dealing’s done.’ The song continues: ‘Every gambler knows that the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away, and knowing what to keep, cause every hand’s a winner, and every hand’s a loser, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep’. This is literally the gambler’s anthem.
Kenny Rogers…..Amen, brother. Rest in peace. By the way sports fans, remember Kenny’s other song ‘Through The Years’? The best words of that Kenny Rogers song go as follows: ‘I can’t remember when you weren’t there, when I didn’t care for anyone but you. I swear we’ve been through everything there is, can’t imagine anything we’ve missed, can’t imagine anything the two of us can’t do. Through the years, you’ve never let me down, you turned my life around, the sweetest days I’ve found, I’ve found with you. Through the years, I’ve never been afraid, I’ve loved the life we’ve mad, and I’m so glad I’ve stayed, right here with you, through the years’. Through the years, music and sports fans were with Kenny. Lady, Lucille, Islands in the Stream (with Dolly Parton), The Gambler, and Through The Years.