I have my moments
Some of you who have read stories of my past can agree I was a pretty decent guy.
I wasn’t a trouble maker. You could trust me with you last dollar and if you needed a dollar I was your guy.
I always looked out for my friends and hated to see anybody get hurt. If you had one to many beers I’d get you home. If something made you sad I was there to listen.
But of all those proud moments there was one not so proud moment that frustrates me to this day.
It was the day the Animal fought my friend.
How can you not like sports?
It was my senior year. I was knee deep in a study group for a class I had to pass. It was a stressful time. The class was hard, the teacher harder and my nerves were shot.
Thankfully a member of that group shared my misery.
Ted was smart, kind and patient whenever I was stumped on a question. He was also clueless when it came to high-school sports.
Neither of us new it at the time but his cluelessness would prove to be a downfall for both of us.
Ted was a tall, muscular kid and popular with the ladies. Looking back I’m pretty sure I met the majority of girls through him.
One day trouble occurred. Ted and a kid one grade below us exchanged a mouthful of words. The kid had a nickname. We called him the Animal.
A Bad Idea
It was during lunch when Ted pointed the boy out. At first I was uninterested until I followed his pointy finger to the Animal sitting on the other side of the cafeteria.
The boy’s name was Dan. A two time state wrestling champion. A living legend in our valley. Like Ted, Dan was soft spoken and kind. That is until he stepped onto the matt.
Personally I was amazed he never killed anyone.
Note: The above picture is legendary wrestler Rick Flair. Not the Animal. But I can assure you, back in our day, this is how we saw him. I just can’t guarantee the hair.
Realizing Ted was clueless I proceeded to give him a history lesson in all things Animal.
Ted was unimpressed.
I’m taller, Ted argued. My arms are longer, he continued and when I was a little I spent the summer at karate camp.
Yes, Ted was in trouble.
Three O’clock High
Realizing my words carried no weight I prepared for my friends funeral.
We met the Animal in a parking lot across from school. The Animal brought a list of selected friends. Most of them fellow wrestlers. On Ted’s side the group was slim pickings.
There was me, two girls with huge crushes on him and a nameless kid who always had a cold.
I warned Ted that the Animal would go for his legs. He would use his wrestling skills by taking him down while knocking the eyebrows off his face.
Ted handed me his glasses. He handed me his math book. What he didn’t hand me was his common sense.
The fight lasted five minutes tops. Probably less. The Animal proved his state title worthiness. Ted proved his inability to listen to reason.
He laid on the ground doing his best to remember his last name. With his lip swelling, his eye swollen and his nose bleeding, I slowly helped my friend to his feet and made our way to my car.
To my surprise Ted called out to the Animal and congratulated him on a good fight. A week later the Animal joined our study group. Turns out he too was struggling in class.
Sometimes happy endings occur in the strangest of ways.
Happy Friday Everyone!!!