My father had a small stack of free promo tickets to a Grand Rapids cage fight and he passed them out liberally in the parking lot, and so it came to happen that I had a seven year old companion and his mother, also from Muskegon, sitting next to me and my wife. The boy's father was a cage fighter and it seemed the boy knew everybody in the place: the ring girls, the referees, the fighters. Men dressed in T-shirts with the word MEDIC in red block print gave the boy a high five as they passed by the table. In fact, the boy's father was paired with the boy's uncle in the first match. We could not have asked for a better companion.
Stocky, rosy cheeked little boy with a spiked up mohawk and a front tooth missing. Much like my own son. Surely the tooth fairy had been kind to him.
I joked with him "Wow! Look at that tooth! Looks like you got into fight yourself!" HA HA HA!
He laughed too and nodded, "YEAH! It was on the SCHOOL BUS! My friend and I got into a fight and he KNOCKED my tooth RIGHT OUT!"
"OH! So you DID get into a fight?"
"YEAH! It HURT! I'm not gonna get into a fight with HIM again! HEY! I THINK I see my DAD!!!! SEE! He's over THERE! He's got the....the....YEAH! It HURT like HECK! My TOOTH! It was DANGLING by a tiny piece of SKIN and the DENTIST just PULLED it off and that HHHHUUUURRRRT!!!!"
"Geeze...well...so, are you thinking maybe it wasn't a good idea to fight?"
"I don't know...but not with him! He's huge! HEY LOOK! It's my DAD!"
A huge man strode out into the ring, a gigantic pink mohawk spiked up high, with a bright pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon tattooed onto the top of his half shaven head.
"YEAH DAD! GET UNCLE M!!!!!!!!"
I cheered too, clapping for the boy's father. He won. The fight ended extremely fast compared to all others with the father lifting up his brother and squeezing...and the brother "tapping out" to indicate concession. It seemed, more than anything, a display for the boy...the one audience member who mattered in the audience of hundreds. A 5 second fight that involved merely lifting and a Tap Out and cheering from one...just one...very tiny section of the audience. But the section that mattered.
The boy and I cheered together and exchanged a high five.