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Big, Bad George - George Foreman



Big, Bad George - George Foreman
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.74

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    champ, comeback, low-fat, teens, lasting, ridiculous, determination, brutal, wounds, violent, earning, launched, purpose, near-death, warning, defeat
     content words:    George Foreman, Johnny Unitas, Job Corps, Joe Frazier, But Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, World Boxing Hall
Big, Bad George - George Foreman

By Toni Lee Robinson
1     George Foreman started out big and bad. He was born January 10, 1949, in Marshall, Texas. He was one of seven children of a poor family. Later, George wrote about his youth. As a child, he said, hunger was a constant companion. He was so hungry he dreamed of food. He wished that, somehow, he could get locked in a grocery store at closing time. "On some nights I stood in the dark on neighbors' porches, looking into their kitchens," he recalled. "[I was] amazed that families...had leftovers at each meal... I always hoped they would find me and ask me in."
 
2     Besides the ache of hunger, George suffered another kind of hurt. His father seemed to want no part in his life. Carrying all that pain around, George grew up mad. He was always picking a fight with somebody. His size gave him the upper hand in most brawls.
 
3     As he got older, George got into more and more trouble. He dropped out of school. On the streets, he drifted into crime. Life had become dark. Hope seemed out of reach, like the food he had seen through strangers' windows. Then he saw football hero Johnny Unitas on TV. Unitas talked about a new program for out-of-luck teens. It was called the Job Corps. The Corps was a job training program funded by the government.
 
4     As soon as he could find out where to sign up, George joined the Job Corps. He began working and learning a trade. He was glad to be off the streets. He was even earning a little money. But the wounds of his early years still throbbed inside him. Out of the dark pool of anger inside, he often lashed out. He was hostile, even violent with those around him. Soon, officials knew, George would have to be expelled from Job Corps. The last straws of hope were slipping away.
 
5     Then George met Job Corps boss "Doc" Broadus. Broadus had a great idea. George, as anyone could see, was a fighter. "Doc" thought of a way to channel all that angry energy. He began to coach the angry young man in fighting as a sport. The rest, as they say, is history. Within six months, "Big George" was on the U.S. Olympic boxing team. At the age of 19, he was a gold medal champ. Soon after that, George turned pro. He racked up 37 wins in a row in the next three years.

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