In the youth of Pre-Columbine, when being tormented by a bully was considered a normal boyhood rite of passage, the Richardson brothers exerted their power in the world by punching me in the stomach and face after we got off the school bus for several months. The brothers were spawned from the same mutant gene pool of Shaquille O’Neal and Godzilla and I was a scrawny kid so the only question was whether both of my eyes would be swollen shut or just one.
After several weeks of this my dad decided it was time to take action. He bought two pairs of gloves and taught me how to lead, jab, feint, and how to throw a punch from the hip. I’d fight back, and, as the old story goes, bullies always back down when you stand up to them.
One day after getting off the bus, one of the brothers did the usual knocking my school books out of my hand. I turned to go toe-to-toe, armed with the Sweet Science, and threw a couple of jabs. I took one of the worst beatings I’ve ever had. I still have a scar on my forehead from one of the punches.
The brothers must’ve gotten bored beating me up and they didn’t bother me for another three years. Then, on my first day of High School, one of them nailed me in the ear.
They were both star linebackers on the football team and I learned that the coach had a training schedule that he stuck to religiously. Mondays were the days he worked his team into the ground. Tuesdays weren’t as bad. Wednesdays even less. On Thursdays they watched game films. And Fridays they played.
The next Monday I hid behind a bush with my wood baseball bat. When the brothers came off the bus, dragging from a tough workout, I jumped the closest brother and hit him as hard and as many times as I could. I walked home with a broken bat and crying. A few days later I sat in the stands and watched them play.
Seven years later and over 1,000 miles away from that little town, I was in my second year of military service and decided to go to a little pizza place off base. I had ordered and was waiting when I hear someone call my name. I turned to see one of the Richardson brothers, also in the military, and of higher rank, sitting at a table and eating pizza with several friends.