A Young Man’s Game

“MMA is a young man’s game.”

Jerry chucked an empty beer can across the room at the T.V. the moment the words left the commentator’s mouth. He was coherent enough to throw an empty can—this time—because it was the only working television in the apartment, and the last thing he needed was another cracked screen.

In Jerry’s drunken reality, neither of The Big Show’s commentators could have said anything right during the broadcast; one way or another, they were catching some tin across the chin. If I had been allowed in there, I could show them this old dog’s tricks

The chances of Jerry ever getting an opportunity in The Big Show had been locked away in a kennel, according to his Manager. Although Jerry’s Manager delivered The Big Show’s rejection over the years in creative ways, the news never hit him in the gut with any less power; the most recent denial, however, was the knockout blow.

Jerry dreamt about becoming a star in The Big Show, potentially a long-reigning champion, since beginning his trek through MMA nearly two decades ago. Just before Jerry turned thirty—the most promising point in his prizefighting career—a horrific car accident derailed his trajectory. A driver high on meth sent Jerry, for over three years, to the lowest point in his life: financial ruin, crippling depression, and a bum knee in need of multiple surgeries and countless rounds worth of rehabilitation. 

“Be straight with me, Doc. Am I going to fight again?”

The doctor dove within his infinite wisdom of mangled knees and said, “There’s a good chance you could.”

Those were the words that pulled Jerry from bed every morning like the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls; otherwise, he may never have left the safe haven of his sheets, stuffing his face, instead, with pizza and soda until surpassing the super heavyweight division.

Following several successful scraps opposite some of the sport’s bright hopefuls—thanks largely in part to his Manager’s creative matchmaking and promoting ability—Jerry, again, found himself as a blip onThe Big Show’s radar. 

“I just got word that The Big Show’s scouts will be on hand for your upcoming fight. Isn’t this great!” Jerry’s Manager was bursting with self-satisfaction.

It was great then, and it was still great as Jerry made his way toward the cage. The crowd’s wail of disdain for Jerry, the outisder, muffled when he noted The Big Show’s scouts seated in the second row. They came for a show, and they’re not leaving without one.

After the entirety of three grueling rounds, Jerry and Stevie “Sledgehammer” Cortez wore their effort in one another’s blood as well as bruising and swelling from head to toe. Who in their right minds would doubt either of their desire?

Jerry’s Manager approached the marred martial artist while being attended to by the physician backstage. He didn’t beat around the bush, “They passed. Sorry, man.”

“Did they say why?”

His Manager shook his head; the crow’s feet in Jerry’s eyes appeared as he forced a smile onto his weathered face, aware his age was a deciding factor.

Prompted from Fandango’s One Word Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/01/06/fowc-with-fandango-creative/.

Also prompted from the Word of the Day Challenge at: https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/wisdom/.

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