Friday, November 12, 2010

And in This Corner . . . Li'l Champ!

As I was preparing to write the next installment of "The Groomsman Chronicles," it dawned on me that to put certain things into context, I should probably talk a bit about one of the key players who hasn't gotten much coverage here at CoIM:  TopGun's son Li'l Champ, a.k.a. The Coolest Kid in the World*.

I met Li'l Champ last year when he came down to stay with his dad for about a month over his summer break.  He was really shy when TopGun first introduced him to me -- wouldn't say hi or shake my hand or anything.  Think that shyness last a whole, oh, hour, hour and a half tops before we were fast friends. And, as with most of my friends, the majority of our interactions consisted of picking on one another**.

The best thing about Li'l Champ's visit was the floor show I got to watch daily as the then-6-year-old wrestler and budding MMA enthusiast would challenge his dad to a match; and then, after TopGun would get tired of rolling around, Li'l Champ would then saunter up to me and whisper "Hey, Todd . . . wanna fight?" And then, when both his dad and I were through letting him beat up on us for the evening, he would grab one of the pillows off of TopGun's bed and practice his ground-and-pound on it.

But the best part of it wasn't just watching this scrappy little kid picking fights with guys 3 or 4 times his size; no, the best part was that every single match was a gigantic production narrated constantly by the pint-sized ringmaster. 

"Okay, now, dad, you and I have to go out of the room and do our entrances . . . and now, here he is, ladies and gentleman, the one the only . . .GSP! [mimics crowd noise and runs around the room before coming to stand before me]. Okay, Todd, you're my coach, give me a pep talk . . . DAD!  It's your turn to come in! No, Dad, you have to run around the ring! Okay, Todd, now you're the ref, you have to say 'Let's fight!' . . . say it!"

The running monologue would die down slightly while he was actually wrestling around with us, but not a lot, as he would often interject instructions to make our actions fit the narrative in his head.  "Okay, then dad, you hit me in the jaw -- not really, stop it! -- and it rocks me, and I'm wobbly, and you try to take me down -- try to take me down, dad!  But I recover, and I knock you down instead . . . dad, go down!"  Needless to say, TopGun and I both indulged in quite a bit of contrary behavior to get Li'l Champ's goat; good times, good times.

Now, when Li'l Champ and I would be wrestling, it would be straight up grappling -- kid's got an impressive guillotine choke and arm bar, by the way -- but when it was him and his dad then Li'l Champ would pull out all the stops and fists and legs would go a-flying.  And although TopGun did have me stand still and let Li'l Champ demonstrate his pretty impressive leg kicks on me, during that first month he stayed at our place the little brawler never moved into striking territory with me.

That would eventually change.

All in all, I really enjoyed having Li'l Champ stay with us, and looked forward to his return trip for Thanksgiving and Spring Break -- although during the former he was directly responsible for me spending good money to go see Twilight: New Moon at the theater, and for that, I may never forgive him. Still, I have to say I was looking forward to getting to see the little punk again at the wedding -- little did I know that his tiny little fists now had my name written all of them . . . but that's a story for the next installment of The Groomsman Chronicles.

*For anyone out there saying "Wait, why isn't my kid The Coolest Kid in the World," well, all I can say is the day your kid gets a haircut to look like his hero Chuck Liddell and then manages to slap an arm bar on me, then we can talk about revising the ratings.
** I have to say, being an only child, I often take great delight in playing the role of "ornery uncle" to my friends' kids; I bet that info makes all of my own ornery uncles proud.