When I was in junior high and high school, I was really into lacrosse. So much so that when summer came I would go to several lacrosse camps where you would basically wake up, play lacrosse, eat lunch, play lacrosse, eat dinner, and then play some more lacrosse. I can't even remember where they all were. I know one was at Rutgers University, one at Lehigh, and another at this dumpy vacation spot in the Pocanos that was a bit like Kellerman's in Dirty Dancing, except 30 years later -- and showing. I read several years after that it burned down by a vicious strike of Italian lightning.
Then there was the camp at West Point which was definitely the burliest, just for the simple fact that it was West Point. Even though you're not a cadet, they aren't afraid to treat you like one when you're staying on their campus. In fact, I think they know of no other way. It was the first and last time someone ever made me run stairs in a stadium.
Back in the 80s, there were two types of towns on the East Coast that played Lacrosse. Half were super preppy, and the other half most definitely not. In New Jersey it was usually metalheads, but when you went to the camps there were a ton of Long Island rocker/guidos too. Even though I'm Italian myself, that doesn't count for anything when you threw a collared shirt on, which they viewed as the anti-christ of clothing. So the lines were drawn by what kind of shirt you wore to the cafeteria and if your mullet was visible out the back of your helmet. So it was, and probably still is. At the time, I could care less who was into what, but these dudes always wanted to kick my ass, or someone like me.
The specific guy that wanted to kick my ass this time was this little guido from Long Island. I don't know why he zeroed in on me, but he did. Maybe I was the lone prep. It started with toothpaste on the pillowcase followed by him trashing my stuff and continued until the day he confronted me in the hallway with his muscle shirt, mullet, and future-beer-bellied body and tried to fight me.
I wouldn't do it. I wasn't scared of him -- I don't think-- I'm just not a fighter. He tried to get me to start but I just pushed my way past. A day or so later I saw him struggling while attempting to fix the netting on his lacrosse stick, but failing miserably. Given that he was a total meathead idiot, it wasn't surprising. What was surprising is that I laced the whole thing up for him correctly and better than he'd ever had it. Afterwards he did a total 180 on me and tried to bro' down from there on out. I didn't go out of my way to accept but didn't tell him to f@$k off either.
Now here's the thought: I think about this time in my life often, and looking back I wish I had kicked his ass instead. I regret that when he confronted me in the hallway I didn't just punch his face in. I'm not sure if I would have won, but I definitely would have surprised him. I was small, but quick, and also playing a ridiculous amount of lacrosse all summer. I think I could have beaten the crap out of that asshat.
So the question is, which would have been better? I figure in his mind the lesson ended up being, "If I push dudes around and intimidate them, they do stuff for me." Where if I had just pounced him right there, it might be more along the lines of, "That'll teach me to mess with dudes, that preppy kid just creamed me." So, was Jesus right on this one? Or can you actually beat hate out of someone? I'm not so sure anymore. I'm not religious by any means and believe Jesus was just a man, but that doesn't stop the fact that he had some decent ideas about how to live and treat others. So I still can't help to think, W.W.J.D? I mean, really do? Not the Disney movie version.
In reality I know that if I could go back and do it again, I'd still be me and go about it in the same way. I just used to be more confident that hippy Jesus actually had it right, and these days I'm not so sure. Because when I look around our society and see a bunch of douchebags that act like life hasn't punched them in the face enough I seriously begin to wonder if I let my community down by not doing my share.
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