I was riding my bike from my mom’s house to my dad’s house the day that I got beat up in front of other people for the first time.
My parent’s had divorced when I was 7, and my mom retained custody of my brother and I. We moved a few miles down the road – from the single family home we shared with my dad, into a townhouse. I found myself routinely making the ride – on my $69 mountain bike from Walmart – between the two abodes, back and forth, several times a week after school.
By the age of 13 I had fully adjusted to my new life. On the day of my dust up, I was making the trip from Mama Dukes’ to Papa Dukes’ home. I had decided to avoid the enormous hill on Sydenstricker Road (Springfield, VA STAND UP!) by making my way through the labyrinth of cul-de-sacs and side streets that infest Northern Virginia.
Sitting on the stoop of one particular townhouse was a group of kids a little older than I was. I recognized one as *Isaac* – a guy that I knew only from his reputation at school. He was usually in some kind of trouble. Well, trouble was relative. The kind of trouble that could be achieved in small town that could not have been MORE suburban and devoid of any real skullduggery.
He yelled something derogatory at me about my weight (yes, I was fat then, as well) and I yelled back at him. Something petulant and biting, like, “that’s not what your mom said,” and continued on my way.
A minute later I saw that young Isaac had jumped on a friend’s bicycle and begun following me up the road. Through my own naivete, I slowed my bike to a stop and waited for him to catch up.
I had a small idea of what could happen, but definitely not what would happen.
Isaac started yelling in my face – his friends remained about 15 paces behind him. He knocked off my hat (brand new), so in turn, I knocked his off as well. Then he hit me twice in the face. It happened so quickly and unexpectedly for me that I had no idea how to respond. I’d never been in a fist-fight before. Elementary and middle school was filled with nothing more than pushing and shoving, and the infrequent rock being tossed in someone’s direction. At that point I’d never even SEEN someone get punched, at least in real life.
He hit me in the face, twice. His cohorts sounded off with their support. I remember not being scared in the moment – just ashamed. I had been “beat up” in front of people, and would need to live with that.
I said very little after it happened, just got back on my mountain bike (that HAD to weigh as much as a Buick LeSabre), and finished the journey to my old man’s house.
I was a wreck after that. I felt like a loser. An emasculated pariah. I’m telling you all of this just to have an audience as I masturbate butt-hurt onto my laptop.
There is no reason for me to be pitied 25 years later. I don’t feel like I was bullied. It was something that happened, and I didn’t handle it well. It messed me up for a very long time. I didn’t know how to use the experience and do better.
Getting beat up in front of others is humbling. It’s humbling when you’re 13 and it’s in front of three cackling nincompoops. Can you imagine what it’s like in a building filled with 20,000 people? On pay-per-view? In front of your friends? In front of your wife?
I’m not comparing what CM Punk did in Cleveland to what happened to me. You can’t compare what a 37 year old man does by choice to a what a pubescent ball of acne and emotion does on a side street in suburbia.
What I’m referring to is how a person reacts when they are at their lowest moment. When their underbelly is exposed, and there are no excuses. CM Punk trained for 2 years and didn’t make it out of the first round. He could have blamed injury. He could have called Mickey Gall a punk and a poor sport. He could have left the cage without speaking to anyone. He could have…
Instead, he used what had just happened to him to cut the most important promo of his life.
The frustration, the pain, the regret, the shame? I’m sure it was all there. He rose above it. The most primal, basic, lizard brain measure of a man is his ability to physically dominate another man in a fight, and Punk was dominated. And in the moments after that, he showed his true character.
“I know that sounds preachy and kind of weird from a guy that just got beat up, but fuck it.”
For Punk to say what he said in a situation like that is something to be admired, not mocked. To be able to fail, and not only give it perspective, but find value in it the way he did? That’s something to be aspired to.
I thought about screen-capping some of the horrible, moronic, inane tripe being spewed by twitter eggs to include in this post. That seems to be 90% of what the “content” consists of on the sports blogs that I read on a daily basis.
But you know what those fools are are saying. They are saying what they always say to people more successful than us all. The irony that is lobbing garbage like that from the safety of one’s own home while the biggest name in an industry stands there bare chested and beaten up in defeat is palatable.
Punk could have done anything he wanted, other than fight. Write comics. Act in movies. Go back to pro wrestling. Hell, he could cash royalty checks and sign autographs for the rest of his life and still make more money than any of us.
Instead, he went to the gym for 2 years and got beat up so that he could go on television in front of all of us and get beat up. And it was the “second best night of his life.” That’s grit. That’s enlightenment. That’s doing SOMETHING in real life instead of criticizing EVERYTHING on the internet.
I’ve never got over taking my beating in front of 3 people. I certainly didn’t bother using it to better myself in any way.
CM Punk got beat up in front of the WORLD. The way he handled it is what the WORLD should be focusing on. We’d all be better for it.