Thursday 29 September 2011

Old School MMA

MMA UFC all those tough acronyms these days.  I grew up in a town nicknamed Little Chicago.  Every Friday or Saturday there would be fights down at the Burger King, or out behind the Lee Hotel.  French was often challenged to fight at these little rumbles.  French usually tried to avoid these places: he disliked the chaos because these events often became all out brawls.  "Too many cops", he always said.

French was unstoppable one on one.  He was pretty good about it though.  French knew he could "whoop" anyone: to use Bruce Fish's favourite word.  Once a really big lad in our school gave French a shove in the lunch line.  French gave him a warning, but the guy said "fuck you dickhead".  French put both his hands in the air.  The big guy looked at them, French ducked quick and did a wrestling shoot.  He twisted him over backwards and started to wrench really hard on his leg and ankle.  The big lad yelled "stop" and looked like he was going to cry.  French let him up. Pancake wasn't reading the situation too well and smashed a lunch tray over the big lad's head.

French gave Pancake a dirty look and helped the now whoosy big lad up again.  They sorted it all out; they even shook hands, and parted friends.

This was French on a good day.  He didn't want to fight, but he wasn't going to get pushed around.

Another time French was having a big fight with his girlfriend in class.  She actually dumped him in the middle of math. This caused a big ruckus, and French got sent to the Vice Principal's office.  At lunch he was still seething.  Some dude came by our table and knocked his hat off.  French's hat fell into Pancake's gravy.

I'll always remember what Bruce Fish said: "Hey tough guy - you better be a track star".

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Bruce Fish Sr.

I asked French if he ever met Bruce Fish Senior?  He said that "he had once or twice, when I was a kid".  This is more or less what French related to me:

I was biking up the road, and saw a strange truck in Bruce Fish's lane way.  There were a coupla big lads out front.  I decided to check it out.  There was a guy at the kitchen table with his hair combed back in a pompadour.  He was drinking a coffee and smoking a cigarette.  Bruce Fish's mom wouldn't even look at this man.  Bruce Fish wouldn't take his eyes off him.

Bruce Fish Sr. was a professional wrestler, but he spent most of the time down in the States in various promotions.  There was a long awkward silence, but I eventually asked him about wrestling.  He said: "yeah I gotta story".

I was wrestling outta St. Louis.  I was hot, young and didn't know shit, but I thought I did.  I didn't respect all the dumb marks who paid to see our shows.  Worse, I didn't respect the older workers who had never made it big.  I was gonna be big.  I talked a lotta shit behind a lotta backs.  One night we drove to Fargo.  The promoter stiffed me, said that the "draw was short so no payday".  I was depending on that money to get back home.  I went into a diner to stay warm, and the oldest beat up worker; the one I made fun of more than any other was in there.  He called me to his table, we talked, he bought the meals, and lent me some gas money.  Being humbled....that's wrestling.

With that Bruce Fish's dad ruffled little Bruce's hair, kissed his wife and drove off to the next show.

Friday 16 September 2011


Bruce Fish is on Twitter.  Unreal...this is the same guy who still uses a rotary phone.  He was given all the gear: computer and wifi by French.  Who is no fan of modernity either.  Bruce Fish thinks it'll be cool to as he says "watch the youtube".  He also likes Twitter, or the idea of Twitter, so that he can follow wrestlers.

I asked him about the "Junior". He said that the username Bruce Fish was taken and the Bruce Fish Jr. was his real name.  He had never gone by this so I was surprised.  He explained that Bruce Fish Senior was his father, and also a wrestler and promoter.  His dad was rarely home, and eventually just never came home, because he was out working different territories.  I hope to dig a little deeper into this tale someday.

Bruce Fish is on Twitter, so if you want little updates from his world follow him: @BruceFishJr

Thursday 8 September 2011

King Nick

King Nick

Last May French and I were watching the Alumni Soccer Game with some of our students.  French was teaching Phys Ed to a class of students with Down Syndrome.  There was a light misty rain falling; everything was damp.  There was a broken chair in a tangled jumble by the fence.  The students all wanted to use it to keep them off the wet ground.

A couple of my students kept trying to put it together, but they all failed.  The chair leg kept slipping, and it would topple over with them in it...sorta funny; and maybe more entertaining then the game.  They heaved it back by the fence, and ignored it.

A few minutes later I took this picture of Nick from French's class.  He'd managed to fix it properly, and had the best seat in the house.  He struck this pose and said "I'm King Nick".

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