Sunday, May 1, 2011
UFC comes to Toronto
Though not an art post...and it's been some time since I've posted any...this is something that I felt strongly enough to blog about. Every event in our lives, shapes who we are as artists.
Last night, I was out to dinner at a local restaurant with my sons to celebrate end of exams and end of the school year. Playing on the television was the newly legalized UFC “event” in Toronto. While waiting in line for our table I was strangely mesmerized by the fights. My sons kept distracting me with details of historical photographs, of the local neighbourhood, hung on the walls of the restaurant. But I kept looking back at the television. Knowing way too many little facts and recognizing some of the fighters. While captivated, I was also somewhat repulsed by the image of two young men, in a cage, who likely have no previous disagreement with one another, wanting to knock each other out.
Once at our table, I was still watching the television and not bonding with my boys, which was one of my intentions for dinner (their sister, on a trip, bonding with their father). Then, it happened, the channel changed to hockey. Hockey!! Another violent sport which I won’t get into here. And it started, I began spewing some “did you knows” about UFC and not really knowing how I even knew these facts – surprising and disgusting myself! I grew upset with the fact the channel was changed and asked the waiter to “please put the fight back on.” At which point, my sons burst out laughing. What? Is it that strange that a 50-something mother would ask to watch a fight? Maybe.
I think I was fascinated not because it was enjoyable to watch (which it must have been on some level or I would not have watched) but I believe it was the disbelief of WHAT I was watching. Young men. Young, physically fit men pounding eat other with kicks and punches in a strange dance of boxing, wresting and martial arts. Hurting one another for no reason other than the audience’s pleasure. Young men, who will inevitably sustain physical damage that, if not immediately life threatening, is long term and irreparable. I felt sorry for these young men…many of whom were not much older than my own “baby.” I felt sorry for us that we would willingly watch such violence. And I feel sorry that we live in a world that violence is not perceived by everyone as wrong.
I understand and respect the training and the work these young men must do to perform with such strength and precision. Analyzing and delivering their blows at the right time, to hit the sweet spot in order to get the “knock out” or the “tap out” needed to win the match. What stands out in my mind this morning as I sit here, is the image of one of the fighters sitting in the change room before his fight. Looking tough, but something in his eyes registered with me at my core as a mother, he was somewhat scared…nervous of what he was about to do. My heart broke for him.