I went to Spanish Camp when I was a kid (shut up), and there was this one kid named Dave who was always a dick to me. I spent pretty much every waking moment ruminating on how much I hated Dave, until one day when I couldn’t take it anymore, and I walked up behind Dave and sucker-punched him. Total cheap shot. I am a coward.
The cool thing about a fight is how quickly a circle will form around it. Even before the first punch has landed, the other kids instinctively know … FIGHT! Dave turned around and wrestled me to the ground as everyone watched and cheered. When we were finally broken up, Dave said to me, “I’m a lot more popular then you [NOTE: true], and I have a lot more friends than you [also true], and I’ll kick your fucking ass.”
Anyway, after the fight, half the kids told me I was a cheap-shot artist, and half the kids were like, “Good job sucker-punching Dave. Dave sucks.” I spent the rest of that year deluded into thinking my cheap shot was the bravest cheap shot in history. I never did make any more friends that year.
Anyway, with that in mind, here are your lamest, most awkward fight stories.
One of my best friends and I were in gym class during the final period of the day, and we started arguing. Side note: He and I have always been the type that would get into fights ... punches thrown, noses bloodied, etc. ... and then be friends again the next day.
Anyway, we mouthed off at each other long enough that my friend eventually said, “Meet me in the park at 4 o’clock. It’s going down.” At that point, I had no other option but to accept his invitation to brawl after school.
So a couple of friends and I hung out at school for a while after class let out, then we eventually drove together to the park at 4 o’clock for the bout. When we drove up to the top part of the park parking lot next to the softball fields, there were about 200 people ready to watch us fight. “Holy shit,” I thought to myself. “Half the fucking school is here.”
I wasn’t scared of my friend, but he could certainly throw a punch, and I was afraid he was going to knock me out in front of the whole school. But adrenaline kicked in, and after I parked I didn’t waste any time. I darted toward him as he threw a punch that I ducked, and then I grabbed him to wrestle him to the ground. We wrestled on the gravel for about 30 seconds (in hindsight, we should’ve moved to the grass) before we were both tackled to the ground by off-duty police officers who were strolling through the park. As we were pried apart from each other, my friends shorts slid off his body revealing his dick to the hundred or so onlookers who hadn’t run away yet. Everyone laughed, and I couldn’t resist making fun of his penis. And then I looked up from my seat, and there was my mother. The principal of my high school. Who had heard about the whole ordeal just in time to keep the cops from arresting us.
Jail would’ve been better than that grounding.
I missed my first day of 7th grade because of the chickenpox. When I returned, I ignored all the seat assignments, which wasn’t a problem until my last class of the day, and the teacher was late for it so I sat near my friends. One kid had an issue with this and told me to move; I said no, but when he kept fighting me on it, I proceeded to get up and shove him to the ground. This is not a story of how I won the fight.
The next day, I was feeling cocky, and my friend and I teased the kid for the first two classes of the day, because kids are the worst. By the end of third period, he is sick of hearing us chant “tossed” at him relentlessly, and I guess he had decided that I would pay for the initial humiliation and the teasing that followed it as soon as class was over.
The bell rings, and I see him standing in the hallway, I should mention he is much bigger than me, and looks calm, yet ready to kill. I start heading in his direction, and things go blank. He struck me so hard on the side of the head that I crumpled almost to the ground, but was caught by a short kid who was able to drag me to the nurse’s office.
I ended up with a huge bump on the side of my head and a one-day suspension. Never fight people bigger than you.
In kindergarten, I was sliding down the cool fire-truck-themed playground slide, but I didn’t realize that the last kid hadn’t cleared it, so I accidentally slid into him. The kid starts pushing me down and swinging at me at the flat base of the slide. So I do the only thing I know how to do in kindergarten and go Jaws on this motherfucker by biting him, maybe on the arm? It was 26 years ago, I don’t remember that detail. He retaliates by biting me on the face, drawing blood. I’m a goody-two-shoes kid, so at this point I realize as a 5-year-old that I’m in over my head, and I scream bloody murder. The teacher comes over aghast at the dental imprint on my right cheek. Forensics would have had a breeze determining who bit me. Anyway, because his bite drew blood, he got the rap for the entire thing, and I got off scot-free, even though I’m the one who initiated the chompfest. Though to be fair, he attacked me first.
And yes, there are still (barely discernible) scars on my face. I’m 32, and it’s still to this day the only physical fight I’ve ever been in. My mom still brings it up and thinks I was a saint, and I have never cared to correct her.
One day, I was standing around talking with some not-really-friends after school got out. Then all of a sudden, this kid (who I didn’t know) ran out of nowhere, smacked me in the side of the head, and ran off.
I stood there for a few seconds trying to figure out what just happened, when all of my not-really-friends started yelling, “Who the fuck was that kid? You gotta go get him, man!”
Now, I was 16 and had never been in a fight before, but I was not about to back down in front of this group of people I barely knew. Masculinity at stake, and all.
So I (wisely) decided to follow their advice, and I ran after this guy. I caught up to him after about 50 yards, then he turned and threw a punch that split both my lips and quickly introduced my skull to the pavement.
Thus begins my weirdest concussion ever.
My brain did not yet realize that it was concussed, so I (apparently) fully consciously walked to the nurse’s office, gave a report to the school security officers, and waited for my mom to pick me up so I could go get some stitches.
Then my brain decided to take a break.
My mom still sounds uneasy when she talks about our 20-minute drive to the hospital. Our conversation apparently went something like:
“Mom, am I bleeding?”
“Yes, you were in a fight at school.”
“Oh. I might need stitches.”
“We’re on our way to the hospital, honey.”
[Thirty seconds of silence]
“Mom, where are we going?”
“We’re going to the hospital.”
“Okay, good. I think I might need stitches.”
I “came to”—I had never been unconscious—roughly four hours later. I couldn’t figure out whose blood was on my pants (it was mine, obviously). I couldn’t figure out why my piercings weren’t in (I had had an MRI that I didn’t remember).
While I was “out,” my mom and the doctors had been asking me questions to determine my mental state. I hadn’t known what month it was (I deduced from the winter coats lying around that it was probably December; nope, it was February). I hadn’t known what year it was (this was February 2004; I insisted it was 2003). I couldn’t remember who I was dating (we had only been together a few weeks). And I couldn’t tell the doctor who was president (though this was just because he insisted on asking *which* Bush was in the White House, and I don’t tolerate smart-asses).
I eventually regained memories of the weeks and days leading up to the “fight,” and I have a vague recollection of the fight itself. But I have no idea how many of those memories are just constructed from the stories other people told me. Or from what I had told people in the 20 or so minutes between getting knocked down and when my brain finally started acting concussed.
I was in my junior year of college, and my friends and I went out for a night of bar hopping. It was me, four guy friends, and my girlfriend who all went. After several close calls of fights going on in various locations (my friends are angry drunks), we finally leave the bar and start heading back to the dorm. On the way, we pass three guys on the street, and my friend makes a comment that they don’t care for.
Now, my friends are standing and staring down these guys with about 10 feet between us when a random passerby walks up behind us, walks around, and continues down the sidewalk towards the other group. These guys (I’m assuming they believe he is part of our group) unload on him, and for some reason my friends spring into action to assist this stranger. My one friend, who used to train in kung fu, decides to throw some spinning roundhouse kick that ends with him blowing out his knee and getting his face stomped in. I rush in and grab him and pull him to safety, then return to help my other friend, who is now being attacked by multiple people.
It turned out that the random passerby was part of a frat house that witnessed the assault and jumped into the fray, attacking everyone they didn’t recognize. I noticed a friend who, while bleeding from his face, was fine, and managed to make his way out of the melee; I stopped and began to scan the crowd for my other friend, when suddenly I got popped right in the eye. My vision went black for a second, and then I couldn’t see, because I was bleeding so bad from my eyebrow. Out of my good eye, I saw the guy who hit me, and in one of my wimpiest and most embarrassing moments, yelled, “I’m not even fighting—why did you hit me?” Then I left to get stitches. At least I didn’t have the Timberland boot mark embroidered on my forehead for a week like my roommate.
I was in fifth grade, and our school had one kid who was like three times the size of everyone else. I guess every school has this kid, but Jee-zuss he was big: tall and wide and thick and … fucking big. Anyway, at recess, some typical kids playing grab-ass and calling each other inane things led to Huge Kid getting mad, so I told him to not eat any of the other kids. He proceeded to basically bum rush me and tackle me into the hard-packed playground outfield area. We rolled around like WWE pre-card guys for what seemed like an hour, but was really only about 30 seconds. After our required trip to the principal’s office, I returned to my classroom … WHERE THE KID’S MOM WAS MY SUBSTITUTE TEACHER!!!. She wasn’t mad; instead, she pulled me aside and asked if I was okay, since her son was sooooo big and strong … thus removing any shred of coolness that I may have earned from being in a fight.
She then proceeded to call my mom to tell her about the fight and have her take me to the doctor, just to make sure her son hadn’t hurt me too badly.
So that pretty much sucked.
So it was my freshman year of college, and I was drunk heading to some party with a bunch of friends. As were passing by a house, the people on the lawn start jawing at my buddies and I, and we yell back while keep walking. For some reason, which escapes my memory and anything resembling reason, I go to approach this group of five or six guys and a couple girls by myself, without telling my friends, who just kept walking.
Next thing I know, one of the guys tackles me, and I, being the drunk asshole I am, start spewing about a “fair fight” and “This isn’t how real mean hockey players do it” (we’re in Minnesota). So the guy lets me up laughing, and his buddies make a circle around us while the girl yells.
I miraculously manage to land a hard hook on the guy, who goes down, and then I immediately get pummeled by four of the guys, who start kicking the shit out of me while I’m on the ground, still throwing wild punches at all of them.
Then the girl comes in with some pepper spray and unloads a can into my face with the guys all on top of me. Luckily, the spray forced the guys off of me, and I ran blindly into the street. I then collapsed on a bench, crying my eyes out for I have no idea how long. Eventually, some girls from my dorm recognized me and brought me back to the dorm.
So I get back to the dorm, and the security monitor was obviously horrified and appalled by the drunk kid who was bleeding everywhere and couldn’t see. So I spent an hour or so pouring milk in my eyes and still not being able to see when the security monitor called a supervisor. Now feels like a good time to mention I was also employed as a security monitor. Needless to say, I was suspended a great deal of time for the incident.
Lastly, the worst part was when I finally had rinsed the spray off my face, it ran down onto my chest, then my stomach, then my dick. Pepper spray is truly the worst thing on the face of the earth.
Fuck pepper spray, and that girl. Like getting the shit kicked out of me wasn’t bad enough. Ah, freshman year. (Also, I realize the whole thing was my fault for being an idiot.)
So this fight doesn’t involve me, but I witnessed it from about 10 feet away. Anyways, I went to a very low-class high school, so fights were a pretty normal thing. This particular fight occurred in the cafeteria, at the table directly behind where I was sitting. Started off pretty normal: two girls arguing over something, insults are thrown, one throws a punch, and the other one grabs her hair, and they both start randomly throwing punches. Two of the school cops come to break it up, one grabbing each girl. The smaller cop grabbed the bigger girl, which wasn’t a great idea. The big girl gets her arm free, somehow manages to GRAB THE COP’S PEPPER SPRAY, and sprays him in the fucking face, before turning around and spraying the other girl and other cop right in their faces. So now there are two cops coughing and struggling to see, a crying girl on the ground, and this angry big girl. The best part of this entire incident, the part that made it worth getting pepper spray all over me, is that the girl accidentally sprayed herself when the principal and more cops showed up. Seriously. She tried to spray someone, realized she wasn’t close enough, and walked right into the cloud of spray.
Back in high school, me and my girlfriend at the time had been dating for about four months. At the time, there was a kid who sat on the same bus as me and her, and had supposedly been infatuated with her since before me and her started dating. Infatuation, in his case, meaning he very audibly would proclaim to everyone on that bus, myself included, how he was going to “fuck the shit” out of her, and how even though I was dating her, “Just because there’s a goalie in the net doesn’t mean you can’t score.” For a while, I let these comments pass, partly because nobody who heard him took what he was saying seriously (myself and my girlfriend included), but also because as frustrating and angering as it was to hear him making these comments, I wasn’t a kid who could easily confront others if it meant it could lead to a fight (meaning that I was too chicken-shit to fight anyone).
One day however, these became more than just lewd comments. He actually was now grabbing her and shaking her, saying how she should just ditch me and fuck a real man already, and why she was being such a bitch by ignoring him. Having long gone past the point when I should’ve said something already, I finally turned to him and told him if he laid another finger on her, I’d break it and all 10 digits off of his hands, and proceeded to lay into him about how much of a fuck he was for making such disgusting comments to anyone, let alone someone with a boyfriend. This went on for another five minutes, and when he sat back down, I thought that was the end of it.
We finally make it to my stop, I kiss my girlfriend goodbye, and I get off the bus. But I wasn’t the only one to get off at my stop. HALF of the remaining people on the bus get off at my stop with me, and as confused as I was, it wasn’t hard to see what was going on. This kid had apparently spread the word to everyone else on the bus that he was gonna fight me, and would ambush me at my stop to do it. Being in it now, I decided I couldn’t just turn and run. I also figured I had at least some kind of advantage on him, mainly because he was tiny kid, and If nothing else, I had him on weight.
I’ll skip the finer details of the fight, but I got my ass handed to me. Hard. Apparently he took Jiu Jitsu classes. I ended up with a noticebly broken nose, a concussion, and a face so bruised and swollen I couldn’t even open my mouth to talk.
Oh, and I had broken my ankle a week prior to this, so the whole fight transpired with me in a boot cast, on crutches. He actually took one out of my hand at one point and beat me with it.
In my elementary school, when you made the leap from K to 1st grade, you had recess with the 2nd and 3rd graders. It was a big deal for the 1st graders to get in with the cool older kids. So first week of school, one of the bullies decided to pick on me in the middle of the soccer field. (I use the term “field” loosely; it was a public-school-quality dirt patch that we played 20-vs-20 soccer on). I had no idea how to fight, and the kid was bigger than me, so I absolutely should have been pummeled. But I went into one of those little-kid fugue states, and flipped out and beat the kid up. I was the coolest 1st grader, for about 5 minutes. As the entire schoolyard gawked at the “tough” kid, the monitor put me on the curb for fighting; I started bawling, and continued to cry for the rest of recess. Thus began a school career of not being cool.
In 1993, I was in 7th grade, and we changed clothes during P.E. class. After the class was over, I was getting my school clothes back on when I realized that I couldn’t find my Shaq Diesel T-shirt. I ended up wearing my funky P.E. shirt for the rest of the day. At the end of the week, one of my friends pointed out a kid named LeRoy who was known for being light-fingered, and noted that he was wearing my shirt. And he was, as blatantly as you could be. So I walked up to LeRoy and asked him to give me my shirt back. In hindsight, I should have demanded it, but it was my first true confrontation, and I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to use manners in a confrontation.
I asked him for the shirt back, and he said no and started to walk away. At that point, goaded on by my friend and my 10th-grade brother, I pushed him in the back. He kept walking, and I pushed him in the back again, demanding my shirt. He turned around and that’s when I realized I had made a horrible mistake.
LeRoy knew karate. He was a black belt, as I later found out, and had extremely quick hands. This was my first fight that wasn’t against my brother, and I was a lummox. He kicked my ass up and down the block, and the only reason the fight didn’t stop after five minutes is because I kept getting back up after each knockdown. At one point, I actually grappled him and had the opportunity to power slam him (he was 5’5” and I was 5’11”), but being the nitwit that I was, I ended up actually slamming him into the grass. My brother would later tell me that I actually laid him down in the grass, lovingly, like a father placing a newborn into a bassinet. LeRoy immediately sprang back up from my savage assault and kicked me in the face. At that point, I asked my brother why he wouldn’t jump in and save me, and he said that this was a fair one-on-one fight, and he wasn’t going to get involved. I told on him later, and he got grounded.
We fought for 20 minutes, and I only got the one hit in. I got the shirt back, but not because he gave it to me; rather, he got sweaty whooping my ass and took it off and my friend, my one true friend, grabbed it and ran into his house. Yes, we were fighting in front of my house when this happened. LeRoy lived down the street from me. We actually ended up being friends after that, because he said anyone who could get up that many times was not someone that he wanted against him.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter@drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also order Drew’s book,Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Illustration by Sam Woolley.