Time for a much-needed break from the disturbing news world (now what — Tour de France winner Floyd Landis tested positive for medicating his ailing hip during the race)? Correspondent-at-large D Heimpel files from the ring in Iceland.
I’m in the ring and the borders of my vision rattle. Here I am, fighting a guy who is bigger, stronger, faster — the heavyweight champion of Iceland. I have no chance so I decide to attack. If I had been smarter I would have never chosen this fight.
My high school was fraught with racial tension. Funny in Berkeley, where hippies from all over rolled out west to fight the man and were stoked by ideals of racial unity. But that wasn’t the case with their mostly white progeny, the first generation Filipinos, the second generation Mexicans or the blacks who hung out on Berkeley High’s “slopes” with a huge map of Africa painted on the ground.
There had been a white party in black South Berkeley, and there had been fights. I was there. I saw white kids dragged out into the night to get stomped. My girlfriend, Janna, had stayed late to ice the eye of a black kid who was missing an eyelid. Because she was helping, I thought I was safe.
We left late and a group of black kids who had been waiting for me fanned out into the dimly lit street. Somebody yelled, “This is for my cousin!” from behind. I felt a thud and woke up back in the house where the party had come and gone. Janna told me I fell flat on my face and was humming on the asphalt.
Continue reading “Choosing Your Opponent”