Sadly, that day is one of the only positive memories I have of my relationship with my father. We’ve both tried to get to know eachother, but failed miserably. I dont think either of us have the energy to try again, we’ve relegated ourselves to the occasional text and speaking only on birthdays and fathers day. Not only did I give up on my father after that day, but I gave up on MMA for a long time too. I got tired of begging my father to buy more “ultimate fighting” tapes for us to watch together and I moved on. Every once in awhile my brother and I would talk about Royce and try to figure out how he was choking all those people out, but eventually I forgot about MMA. For years my obsession with metal carried me. I spent all my time on internet message boards discussing the merits of black metal and debating whether or not one could look past Varg Vikernes views on race and just enjoy the music he made (the answer is no, in case you where wondering).
That obsession carried me through life until about 3 years ago when I came across the all Anderson Silva episode of UFC Unleashed while bored and flipping through the channels at 1 o’clock in the morning. I thought to myself “They’re still doing this?! How can it even be on TV?”. To my surprise the sport was almost completely different than I remembered. I started to think of my father and thought about changing the channel, but the more knees Anderson Silva threw into Rich Franklins body the more into it I got. After that fight, I was hooked. I stayed up all night reading about all the fights and fighters I missed throughout the years. I spent hours reading about Frank Shamrock, Rich Franklin, BJ Penn, Jens Pulver and Matt Hughes. I couldnt believe I missed so much. I hated that I gave up something I loved for what felt like nothing. Because I was older I was able to look at these fighters with more respect. It was no longer about the blood thirst or seeing someone get KO’d. I got into the technical aspect of grappling. I learned to appreciate a good submission or takedown as much as a well placed punch that leads to a brutal KO. These fighters are no longer super heroes to me, they are hardworking and talented human beings who often come out on the losing side of things despite working hard and “leaving it all in the cage”.
I dont just get entertainment from these fights, I find MMA to be extremely inspiring and beautiful. Its one on one. In a fight you’ve got no one to depend on but yourself, no team to fall back on during a fight. To me, MMA mimics life. You train, work hard and prepare to risk everything for a win. Whether you win or lose, sometimes you leave bloody and hurt. But you leave knowing you tried. You walk out with your head held high. And although the relationship between my father and I feels like its ended in a draw, I tried. If these fighters have taught me anything its how to lose gracefully. I’ve learned not to let the loss of my relationship with my father define me. Through my fathers mistakes I’ve learned how to be a better father to my future children. I’ve learned to make sure they’re better prepared for their fight in the cage of life than I ever was.
Again, thanks for taking time to read all the stuff I put it. I cant describe to you how awesome it is.
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