RING SIDE FASCINATION WITH A HINT OF GUILT
How do you think it’d be to watch a fight scene? A fight. Sorry, not a scene.
Look, I’ve watched plenty of WWF and other wrestling on tv. I’ve watched Cinderella Man and The Fighter. Although I’ll admit that Rocky never really got my attention. I tried watching it a couple of times, I just somehow didn’t see the draw. I have also watched Lucky Number Slevin, which gives me this false confidence that I’ve complete understanding of how heavy betting works, the aggression it comes with and the relevance it has in people’s lives.
Now, we went to a Muay Thai fight. It was well in progress when we went. I think it was the third fight of the night. Two young skinny looking boys fighting. It was super crowded, us, being foreigners, we were ushered towards the ring side seats. We’d done our research. We were warned that the stadium has separate entry fees for the locals and the foreigners, and that they insist that we all sit ringside and leave the other seats to the locals. We knew there was to be a lot of betting and shouting and the locals might not like some outsiders around them.
Boom! It started, exactly like the movies, I remember thinking. It was fascinating and captivating. I couldn’t stop watching, the punches and kicks weren’t controlled, neither sides were holding anything back. That match ended with a knockout. Everybody cheered for their chosen sides, the betting was in full swing. People yelling and making number gestures with their fingers, well I wish I had more knowledge of this so I could use better words to explain what went on with the crowd. Oh but, man! What a rush the whole thing was! The adrenalin, the sweat, the noise had our hearts racing! It was hard not to feel for the wrestlers! I saw people eating popcorn and peanuts, and I told Karthik that there is no way I could eat watching somebody get beat up.
Well, after the fifth match there I was, I was munching away, cheering loudly, taking pictures and rooting for sides. I don’t know how this happens, I didn’t think of myself as someone who would be okay with violence. Well, I do like cult movies and watch-re-watch Tarantino films but somehow I didn’t think I’d ever be okay watching it in person and yet here we were. Im still a tad bit shaken up, still remembering the thrill of watching those fights. I guess I can now say that I understand the fixation. I think it is a very human thing to be excited with violence.
How strange we are. How predictable and strangely similar to each other and everybody.