In this second round, Rory Parker serves up an ethnic melange worthy of UFC. Ding ding! Now that's the sound of entertainment...
The first fight I remember taking part in happened around the corner from Newport Heights Elementary School a few minutes after the final bell rang.
I was in third grade, a newly enrolled student facing the grind of assimilating into one of the ravenous packs of jackals that comprise childhood social structure. I was having a tough go of it, identifying and conforming to the rough and ready norms and mores embraced by the various naturally forming cliques was proving elusive. My Airwalk sneakers were lame, all the cool kids wore black Vision Street Wear hi tops.
It seemed unfair. To my mind I was a shy and bookish kid who just wanted to make a few friends. In truth I was more than a little obnoxious. Too smart for my own good, with a tendency, never unlearned, to voice whatever comment was currently running through my head. Then, as now, that comment was all too often either rude, cutting, inappropriate, or some combination of the three.
My opponent was one Ben Dover. I have no idea if that was his actual surname, I imagine not. He was in special education, sharing time with us at recess but spending his time learning in a trailer parked next to the baseball diamond. He was a friendly, happy kid. Due to whatever learning disability he grappled with, he was openly referred to as a “retard” in a way that was, in retrospect, viciously cruel, though totally acceptable by late nineteen eigthies standards.
I don’t remember why we were fighting. I suspect that one of the “cool” kids had decided we must, and told everyone during lunch that we would, and by the third grade laws of social pressure we were then required to. I definitely didn’t have a problem with Ben. I didn’t even know him, really.
At 2:45 the bell rang, and we were released into the surrounding neighborhood. Some kids had parents waiting to pick them up, but more commonly we were trusted to navigate our own ways home.
We were around the corner shortly, out of the eyesight of any teachers or administrators. A circle of taunting, gibbering, lunatics formed, with Ben and me at the center. The battle was on.
I shoved him first, he shoved me back. I don’t remember what I said, but it must have been mean. He started crying and tackled me to the ground.
I had assumed, because he was a “retard,” that I could take him. I don’t know why. He was bigger than me, ruddily healthy in the way that slightly slow, but physically strong, people often are, while I was a short, slight, tow headed little grommet. He pinned me down and shook me, not sure how, or not willing to, inflict any actual damage. It wasn’t long before I realized I’d lost and stopped struggling.
Ben let me go, stood up, and the moment he turned his back I kicked him in the ass as hard as I could. He went sprawling, face first, on the concrete, then lie there crying. He didn’t get back up.
I’d won. I was crying and shaking and victorious when I heard an unidentified voice behind speak up in a tone that was impressively sarcastic, for one so young.
“Yeah, Rory, good job on making the retard cry.”
The US Open is such a delightful clusterfuck. Since the days it was called the OP Pro and people burnt shit, up until it became the venue of choice for drunken inlander store window smashing, it’s been a guaranteed source of drama and hijinks. The waves may suck, and you may be forced to park three miles away, but I urge everyone who gets the chance to spend a day enmeshed in the branded exercise in borderline anarchy and child nudity that is Huntington Beach’s yearly WQS10000 event.
1. You’d have to be an idiot to take a swing at Kainoa McGee.
2. What’s with Kala’s beanie?
3. My lawyer wife thinks the dude who got beat should have sued Kainoa, Kala, the company that runs water patrol, and the event sponsor. But of course she does, that’s her job.
I can’t place these kids’ accents. Are they Aussies, Kiwis, South Africans? Anyway, watching kids fight is great, I wish there was a youth boxing circuit nearby so I could do it regularly.
I’d be really hesitant to fight anyone in Hawaii. MMA and joo jeetsoo are just too popular, you never know who’s spent years training to rip people’s limbs off. These guys don’t look like they’ve spent much time in the gym, but the tall dude’s relaxed and nonchalant style makes it pretty clear this ain’t the first time he’s fought someone in a parking lot.
It’s during moments like these, when tempers flare and passion rules, that surfing almost becomes a sport. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of hippies playing in the water and talking about how much they all love each other during post heat interviews.
No peace at Pipeline by glide64
I hope you enjoyed this installment. Until next time, enjoy watching this little butterball totally lose his shit.