BEATING OF MY LIFE"
CHUCK VAN DINE
It was a Thursday afternoon, the day we usually played our ritual football game. We played football weekly in order to relieve some of the stresses of life. For a backyard football game the day was perfect crisp spring air, the fading sun, and a friendly atmosphere. On the playing field were several friends from school. I knew everybody on the field. Especially Travis, a tall filled person, at the time I called my best friend. The others were just some high school acquaintances. Through all of the pre game politics of picking teams Travis and I worked ourselves onto the same team.
Once the game finally got underway the normal smack talk started. No one would be seriously offended by any of it because that was all it was, smack talk. It was only said to make other people laugh and maybe to intimidate the other team.
"You call that a throw?" hollered Travis. "My poodle can hurl the ball farther than that!"
Well, after an hour or so of playing, an old grey car rolls up into the parking lot. Six ghetto dressed kids fall out of the car. They wore baggy clothing with flashy jewelry. I can distinctly remember one medium built kid; he stood around 5'8" with wide stocky shoulders almost like a gorilla. He had black hair, wearing a pair of baggy red fleece and three gold chains around his neck. Which, I later advised him to remove the chains from his neck so; he would not break or lose them. He responded to me by looking at me as if I was speaking gibberish or maybe he was astounded I would even try to converse with him. My profile of the kids was they were a hot headed group looking for trouble. They strutted up to us while sizing us up like prey. Something inside me told me to turn and run before something started to unravel. You know the ole'; "Ah guys I got to get out of here. My mom wants me to be home for dinner." But, since none of my friends said or did anything I decided to stay there with my herd of friends. Then, finally, one of them spoke.
"You guys want
to play some real football?"
"Yeah you three on that team and you three over here!"
"Nah man! We want to be on the same teams!"
When I heard this I decided to jump in because I knew diluting them between us would make them less potent or less likely start a fight
"Let's just keep these teams so they will be fair."
Once we got them split up we started to play again. Everything was going fine and I started to think to myself, I was crazy for thinking something bad was going to happen. Nothing out of the ordinary was going on. The six kids just fell into place and kept quiet. Once again I fell back into my protective barrier of friends, like a sheep to its flock. According to the nuclear family society, unless I get in car with a stranger, I am always safe.
After a water break the six kids got their way and formed a team. Instantly the mood had changed. The once friendly smack talk became very malevolence. Now, the kids started to show their true motives by voicing their dominance, swearing, and trash talk. I tried to calm the mood by telling them we weren't looking for anything except a game of football. That was met with "You better shut your mouth unless I ask you to open it." from one of the smaller yet older kids. You could tell he was older due to sporadic hair formation on his face which, he called a beard.
That was when Travis stepped in and said something about the kid's mother.
"My mom is dead!" Retorted the kid with the baggy red pants.
That is when it all started. Four of the kids started to walk down to Travis. Travis sensed what was going to happen next so; he decided to make the first move by slamming one of the kids in the face. The raged expression on Travis's face quickly dissolved when he realized he didn't know what to do next. The other three kids worked Travis to the ground with a series of punches. Once to the ground all six of them decided to join in the kicking practice. I looked around and noticed the terror and ignorance in my friends' faces. None of them had ever been in a situation like this, neither had I for matter. So, after recognizing the seriousness of the situation, I built up enough courage to attempt to help Travis. I pulled three of them off before one of them knocked me in the temple from behind.
I was stunned. That was the first time I was ever hit due to a conflict. I didn't know what to do. I staggered back. One of the younger ones started to follow me; with instinct I thrust my fist into his mouth. But, then I was hit again from behind, this time I went do to my knees. When I opened my eyes I saw four of them were approaching me. In the background I saw Travis trying to regain consciousness. BAM! Darkness again.
"That's for hitting my little brother!" said the gorilla.
Then, as I laid there with my eyes half open, I saw this figure above me. BAM!
"You hit like a girl!"
The kid I had attacked earlier decided to take a last shot at me while I was laying on the ground half conscious. I noticed even though I hit like a "girl," he had to hold his lip together with his other hand. Then, finally a sign of my so called friends appeared. I didn't really try to make out what they were saying I just laid there thinking about what happened. I was wondering why I was laying face down in a puddle of my own blood. I couldn't understand the meaning of what just happened.
It took me a year to figure out what the purpose of this idiotic attack on my friend and I was about. The kids, unknowingly, were there to transform me. These kids I had never seen before had changed me from a normal everyday person or a sheep into a wolf. No longer will I follow the crowd and believe I am always safe. I am now a person who reacts to a situation, not a person who reacts because of a situation or doesn't react at all.