Back in the Day Music 4/21/17
In the early 90’s there was a meeting place at the Tasty Freeze. In the late 90’s they’d meet at the Illinois River. In the early 2000’s they’d be at Gould Park? What did all of these places have in common? This is where the fighting occurred in Morris. If you were looking to settle a score, these were the places. Not for me though. I have never been in a fight in my life. I always think I will fight like I do in my dreams, where my fists are as slow as the old guy from The Wedding Singer and I will just get my butt beat.
I was definitely born without that genetic as it was not passed on from my dad to me. He was definitely a fighter. Me, ehh, not so much. I remember one story growing up that I heard while eavesdropping where my Uncle Andy, the oldest Niewinski child from my grandparents, got into it with my grandpa and took him behind the woodshed, so to speak. I thought this was interesting and when I was about 17 I jokingly asked my dad if he wanted to go out back and duke it out. He responded with, “How about we go out front and I beat you up in front of your friends?” This was not a game that I was going to win nor did I even want to play anymore. Needless to say, I held onto that seat cushion for the rest of the afternoon. I always envisioned my dad’s tenacity like Nicky’s from Casino.
The one time in my life where I regret not throwing down took place at Northwestern. I was going into my senior year of high school and we had a 7 on 7 tournament on the campus. While we rotated through a half number of schools throughout the day, we eventually ran into Hinsdale Central. Now, when I was in high school, Morris had a total school enrollment of about 900. Hinsdale Central was about 2,300. Needless to say, the size discrepancy should have been enough for the Red Devils to do what they wanted to us. Early on, it was a back and forth battle, with neither side being able to do much. When I was playing on offense, I usually lined up in the slot, which gave me a little room from the defenders to run my routes. Well, this guy from Hinsdale Central was a total jag. There were no refs during this game, so you just played. This guy would not though. We would grab on and hold me no matter where I went. It was hard to get him off for two reasons. One, I was/am not fast. Two, it is hard to do much when I am being tackled every play. I decided to line up further off the ball, just to give myself a little more room before he had a chance to grab me. So, I back up two yards. Guess what this guy did? He moved up two yards. He is now starting each play on the offensive side of the line of scrimmage. Ref or not, this really isn’t legal. His holding of me did not waver either. At this point, I was fed up with his shenanigans. On the next play, as he tried to make a play away from me, I ran as fast as I could and hit him in his back with my shoulder. He got right back up and pushed me in my chest. I had two choices at this point. The first one would be me punching him in the face and then probably getting worked over by him because he was definitely bigger than me. This would have also resulted in an all-out brawl that we were definitely outnumbered for. My second decision, the one I made, was to go back to my huddle, maybe look like a b****, listen to them talk crap to us, but play like a son of a gun.
In hindsight, I wished that I punched that punk in the face. But I always carried myself with a great amount of confidence and a swagger in football. What was originally a back and forth affair turned out to be an absolute drilling of the Red Devils. With a little bit of conflict, the Morris Redskins, being a third of their side, took the game and the beating to Hinsdale Central. I remember listening to their guys talking crap to me while I was on defense, then going up to get an interception and just staring at them look at me with silence. One guy returned a pick six all the way back and left the ball in the end zone for them to retrieve. I did not mind being the guy others disliked. Carrying yourself in a way that made others hate you made me feel like a classic wrestling heel.
Although I have never been in a fight, running down and trying to bust through four guys blocking you on a kickoff would seem similar to me. This could not be a stroll through the tulips type of jaunt. You better get your mind into a different state to be able to exert the aggression that is needed for this type of job. I would play one song in my brain for taking on this fifty-yard sprint into violence. And that takes us into today’s back in the day music.
Today’s song was released in May of 1999 by a nu metal band that burst onto the scene. I am not quite sure what they have done since the late 90’s, but I don’t think it matters. The music video won three awards and was retired on Total Request Live. Come on, you know how liked TRL! It reached number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for various Music Video Awards and a Grammy as well.
Maybe having to meet someone at the river, or the Tasty Freeze, or the bike racks for that matter, is a rite of passage that most men should have to cross. Perhaps it is better that we don’t? Either way, I know that if I end up in that predicament, a little help from Korn will get me through to the other side. Feeling like a Freak on a Leash just once may not be all that bad.
If you have enjoyed these on GRO, check out my past blogs….