I recently read in a manly man magazine that the average Joe will get into at least one fist fight in his life. I don’t know about anyone else, but my first fight was an extremely important milestone in my super average life. I had always heard tons of fight stories from my older cousins who grew up in more violent neighborhoods. I used to watch fight clips on Youtube in class (fight videos were just becoming popular when I entered high school.) But I had never experienced one myself. Now some may say that I should have been grateful that I grew up in a middle class/upper middle class neighborhood where I never had to experience such barbarity, but I wanted my rite of passage. I wanted my bragging rights. I was 13 when the time came.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I had finished all of my housework and figured I’d go out and enjoy the day. Before I left the house, my sister decided she was going to tag along. My sister was not superficial and gossipy nor was she as girly as all the other girls in the neighborhood so she knew she would have to kick it with the homies. I must admit, I was pretty hesitant. You see, my sister is and always was very pretty. You see, I am and always was a scrawny short guy. So, as the older brother, I really didn’t want her to be hanging around any guys. I figured that the easiest way to fight off guys trying to get at her was to keep her away from them altogether. I figured “well, I have no problems with the guys in the neighborhood and we’re just gonna be shooting some hoops. What’s the worst that could happen?”
So we both took a hike around the neighborhood gathering the troops so we could start a pick up game of basketball. After knocking on a few doors and asking “Hi Mr./Mrs. ___, can ____ come out and play,” we finally had enough kids to run some 3-on-3. Everything was wonderful. The sun was shining bright. I was putting on my best Allen Iverson impression (minus the cornrows) and my sister sat on the bench and cheered me on. Then Chris showed up.
Chris was the neighborhood asshole. If you don’t know who your neighborhood asshole is, it’s probably you. Chris thought he was better than everyone else because his mommy and daddy paid an arm and a leg to send him to private school. He bullied the little kids and thought he was the shit because he played football (and horribly). But Chris never tried that on anyone his age or size. At the most, he would make smartass comments and talk shit, but he never dared lay hands on anyone his age. Everyone in the ‘hood disliked Chris, but no one in the ‘hood actually had reason to kick his ass. That Saturday afternoon, I got my reason.
As I said earlier, we had a 3-on-3 already in session. So when Asshole (Chris’ name from now on) came along he had to sit out because the game was “locked”. Where did Asshole sit? Right next to my sister. Too close for my comfort. Initially, I let it pass and continued the basketball game, but I would glance over after every dead ball or scored basket. As long as my sister was okay, I was okay. Then I noticed that Asshole was in my sister’s ear and I doubt he was discussing the weather. I was unnerved to say the least. I let it ride out for a while, but then I noticed my sister was clearly uncomfortable.
“TIMEOUT!!” It was time to grow some balls.
After stopping the game, I marched over to where the two were sitting with my best Deebo scowl on. I forcefully sat down between the two of them and stared Asshole right into his cocky little eyes. Asshole responded with a shove which sent me to the ground. I saw red.
It was one thing to try and punk me, but it was another to do it in front of my sister. Not today. I got up, and wrestled Asshole to the ground. I stood first and just before Asshole could scrape himself off the dirt, I introduced his jaw to my right fist. I didn’t hit him hard enough to knock him out. I didn’t want to end it there. I hit him just hard enough to let him know that I wasn’t one of the kids he was used to picking on. I let him stand and we proceeded to square up. I will admit, I had two thoughts running through my head as we danced around with our dukes up:
1) Holy shit this is my first fight! This is really happening!
2) What does getting punched in the face feel like?
At this point, my adrenaline was too high to let the second thought affect me. There was ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING WAY I was going to lose to Asshole. ESPECIALLY not in front of my sister. I was willing to die that day for the sake of my sister’s honor and my own pride. Even if things got bad for me, I knew the other neighborhood kids had my back. Asshole may beat me, but he can’t take on the other neighborhood kids just waiting for a reason to lay into him. I threw a stiff jab that landed square in his nose, just like Pea taught me. After landing my first blow, I felt amazing. There was a big part of me that always wanted to smash Asshole’s face in and I was finally getting the chance. As I cocked back for a follow up hook I noticed something. Asshole’s eyes were watering. This bitch was crying!!! All the anger I had felt previously quickly changed to overwhelming laughter. I dropped my guard and called all the neighborhood kids closer so they could see this weeping sonofabitch. We all took turns slinging insults and making fun of him, and trust me he deserved it. Asshole walked home with a bloody nose, and the new nickname of “Crybaby Chris” and we proceeded with our game.
I won several battles that day. I proved to the neighborhood kids that, although I was small, I would still throw down with anyone who pushed me past my limit. I proved to my sister that I’m her big brother and I will fight to defend her. Finally, I exposed Asshole for the chump he was. If he was really as big and bad as he pretended to be, he would have manned up and threw hands with me. He damn sure wouldn’t have let everyone see him cry. I’m still friends with a few of those neighborhood kids. We still talk about that day. They still tell me how they wished it was them who would have had the chance to expose Crybaby Chris.