There are a lot of things I will never understand about the opposite sex, but one in particular is their obsession with fighting. In elementary school, there were the recess squabbles over the last basketball; in junior high and high school, the most common fights were over girls; and in college, fists fly for a million different (and completely pointless) reasons.
Last Saturday night, as I was standing outside in a painfully long line to get into a bar, the small snippets of conversations around me suddenly turned into chants of excitement. I followed the hungry gaze of the people standing around me, and my eyes rested on the window of the parking garage. In horror, I watched as a boy on the ground in the fetal position endured punch after punch (and kick after kick) by a really big guy with a long, blonde ponytail. The boys around me in line looked absolutely enthralled, and I just couldn’t figure out why. What is so entertaining about watching one human being kick another human being when they’re down?
Within a few seconds, I found myself at the edge of the parking garage, with my friend yelling for me to come back almost inaudibly over the crowd. Although I know it probably wasn’t the most intelligent thing to do, I couldn’t help myself—I yelled at the Hulk Hogan lookalike, and he drunkenly stumbled away from his victim repeating, “I’m a G!” No, idiot. You are not a “G”… You are just mean.
It’s times like these when I think back to my friend Ryan and the bed he has been laying in for almost two years to the day. What started out as a petty drunken argument over the Phillies and the Yankees culminated in a punch to the ground and a violent kick to the head. The result: one charge of battery, one charge of malicious assault, two jail sentences, and one boy who is likely to be in a coma for the rest of his life.
Is it really worth it? Guys, does fighting make you feel like you’re proving yourselves? Personally, I think guys look completely ignorant when they fight. After all, beating up another person doesn’t prove anything about your character except that it’s flawed.
As Ryan’s father put it, “What happened to Ryan (and how he suffers and survives) shines a light on all [that] is right and wrong, albeit on a small scale. The classic clash between the good and the bad. It spotlights the righteous and illuminates the darkness in which evil lurks.”
Ryan was a sophomore in college when two drunk kids decided that sports were important enough to not only ruin the rest of Ryan’s life, but the lives of his family and friends who might never get the chance to have him hear them say they love him again.
“Hopefully this story will prevent others from trying to solve a problem with violence,” said West Virginia University senior Lauren Mickle, who is a close friend of Ryan’s. “We all still have hope that he will wake up soon.”
So before you let that liquid courage make you feel invincible, think of Ryan, and know that most things are probably not worth the fight.
Photo: Polina Sergeeva at flickr.com