The Canadian years, Catch as catch can, 23

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Saturday 29 November 11:40

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Archie

I got up a little earlier than usual that Saturday morning. I wanted to be ready and on time with the snow removal and install me in front  the TV to see the free fighting. My first course was to the garage, to get the broom and the snowplow. I walked next to the path so as not to ‘fasten footprints’ there, that you’d remove later with more effort. I was just left of the path on the frozen and snow-covered path. The door opened with difficulty, there was snow in front of it. With some difficulty, I shifted the door open  through some snow and squeezed myself in, your breath made transparent cones in front of you, even in the garage. Moments later, the only one awake from my family was shifting snow and sweeping, as if  it was a sheer delight. With some envy I saw the car of my brother, it was beautiful. Neatly plugged into the power pole, next to the krautcan of my sister, the miracle on wheels. It was a Ford Mustang on the side adorned with the number 289 cubic inch, on a steel vignette. Which meant that the cubic capacity was 289 cubic inches. It was a monster in force. It was yellow and only two years old.

My brother had bought it on credit and my father had been co-signer on the contract. If my brother would not be able to pay, it would become my father’s obligation. Therefore, my father also took out a life insurance on my brother, which would pay for it all, if my brother were to die, that seemed to me then, very logical. If actions are understandable, they are not threatening. He had quite a few years to pay off, but to be honest, I understood him. The temptation had been great, if such a thing was within your reach, then you must be very strong not to give in to the impulse of buying. He had given in to the impulse and I understood that. Now, even more so, but if I had been him I would have bought the same muscle car. I was 15 and I had no car. I would have to wait until I was 16 and would get my license. I needed his car the following Saturday with Shelly.

I sat in front of the TV and the announcement came, preceded by the sponsors. There was a header  where someone, it turned to be Archie,  pounded all kinds of figures to shit. He watched  in the mean while very focused and concentrated his opponents I understood that he was a very determined man. There were some unimportant fights of drunken cowboys and when the 'main event' came,  it was Achie Couldie against someone who was named the Lumberjack. The Lumberjack was a forester from outback, the underlying areas. He entered the ring with a 2 by 4, a beam of wood.

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He was the challenger. Archie had his cowboy boots on so why not let someone in with a 2 by 4? The assistant referees tried to stop the man but the lumberjack knocked them down with his beam. Archie came out of his corner with loud cheers and ducked when the 2 by 4 whizzed over his head. He stepped forward and planted his boot in the gut of the lumberjack who folded forward, Archie now raked his fingers through the eyes of his attacker. Who dropped his beam and brought his hands to his eyes. Archie grabbed the beam that fell on the ground and dried the lumberjack off with it.  Without stopping it was now raining blows on the man from the woods. He threw away the beam and buried the tip of his boot deep into the side of the unfortunate fellow, who was now gasping for breath, almost lifeless. He went to his head and put his mark on. He jumped up and let his boots slide along the sides of the forehead of his unfortunate opponent. Archie had put his stamp. The whole had lasted 20 seconds.

Then a large Indian was pushed into the ring by his friends. He had a single feather on his head and wore black moccasins, ‘Blackfoot’, I thought. Archie came out of his corner, looked in his hypnotizing way at his opponent, like a snake ready to strike. The Blackfoot did fit an imitation rain dance, within  a few pases before he got his feet back on the ground Archie was at him with an arm swelled up with muscle he picked up the pitiful Indian and slammed him against the ropes in the corner buckle of the ring. His head bounced back bleeding. The stomper wasted no time, he grabbed one arm of the Blackfoot, who was now half turned and kicked him with his boot full in his face. This was not to be laughed at. It was not meant for the faint hearted. This went for a purse of $ 1,000. The Blackfoot collapsed.

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  This third challenger was a giant cowboy who cautiously came into the ring. He typically had not been drinking. He was bare-chested and looked impressively muscled out. The stomper beckoned him, to come on ... the unfortunate one responded. He was kicked in the stomach and immediately got to handle a hammer blow in his face, then he found that the Stamper was at him and hitting him senseless. The cowboy could stand a good licking. He gave the stomper a blow that would have killed   any normal human being. The Stamper was knocked to the ground. He got up and shook his head in disbelief. And that to me showed the true champion in him, he did not hesitate but went straight to his opponent. Who was waiting for him. He kicked him hard in the groin and caught him with his right fist. When the man flopped over, he lifted him over his head with two hands, spun him around and threw him out of the ring on the concrete between the crowd. Moments later, a number of orderlies came running up with a stretcher. The cowboy had gone, it turned out later, into a coma.

Three fights that had lasted no longer than a minute. Stamper had the adrenalinenow chasing through him and now stood on the ring ropes and challenged anyone whomsoever, two men came to bring him water, and took him away. I had seen a phenonema. Archie Gouldie the Stomper, who for 20 years would remain the unbeaten champion. Twenty years times 52 weeks, a thousand and forty victims he would leave behind and I mean victims, men who needed restoration, until he would retire as the greatest fighter unmatched in all of Canada.

My brother came to watch as well, and was just like I was, very impressed. ‘Hey’, I said, ‘ you want to go there next week, I will buy the tickets. I could easily do so with the earnings of the pavements. He looked pleasantly surprised, ‘that appeals to me very much, he said’. ‘Then if I take someone with me, is that a problem,’ I asked? ‘No’ he said of course not. I had seen the stomper at work, I would not go to school, any  day without my cowboy boots on.

San Daniel 2014

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