“This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object…You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness.  And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun.  I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

The Joker, ‘The Dark Knight’

Life, I feel, is similar to the sports world in that rivalries can push you to a level you wouldn’t necessarily get to on your own.  The basis for any good rivalry is having two teams (or people) of relative equal stature pursuing the same goal.  They have to have enough similar qualities so one is not all out dominating the other, but at the same time they have to be different in some fundamental way that will always cause friction between them.

My rival and I are both die hard sports fans, and KU graduates.  We both fall outside of the traditional ‘black status quo’ and wear that outsider status like a badge of honor.  But I was born in Kansas City, while he comes from St. Louis.  I pledged Alpha, he pledged Kappa.  If I am ‘the Dark Knight’, then naturally he…

It’s hard to pick a single ‘event’ that turned our casual friendship into a rivalry.  I believe though it started with fantasy football, the first great post-college way for both of us to play into our competitive streaks (another similarity we share).  I will concede he may have won a title or two, which I know he’ll never let me forget in his trash talking ways…

But once the trash talking started, the floodgates really opened.  This cat decided to get married as I was entering the peak of my bachelor years, and Lord knows how many ‘marriage is for suckers’ cracks he got from me in the Musketeer’s glory days.  (This was obviously before Maria changed my entire way of thinking).  I still get a good chuckle thinking about the typical email he got from me during that first year or two of his marriage: “Well we’re heading to Miami this weekend.  I’ll be smoking hand rolled Cuban cigars and checking out this Puerto Rican bikini contest down on South Beach.  But please, let me know how that touring company production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the Starlight turns out.  Can’t wait to hear it.” Heh heh, I had nothing personal against his wife (Alexis), but I loved stirring this cat’s hash…

Without question, what really pushed our smack talk into borderline “You know this cat’s annoying to the point where I’m not sure I like him” territory, was the announcement of a new Batman movie to be directed by Chris Nolan.  As everybody in the crew could tell you, inboxes were getting flooded with emails on a daily basis from me hyping the movie, which had been renamed “Malik Begins” just to irritate fools even further.  Like most casual people, the Joker was more than skeptical after the damn near franchise killing Batman and Robin, but I knew man, I knew.  When me, him, and Beavis came out of that theatre, even he had to admit the character was back on track.  You couldn’t wipe the ‘I told you so’ grin off my face for a month.

Anyway, as you can imagine, we’ve become more friends now than true rivals.  Though make no mistake we know exactly what buttons to push to get the other riled up instantly, so I guess we are still rivals.  But honestly, he’s one of the more reliable and trustworthy people I’ve met over the years.

He just won’t be allowed to speak at my wedding reception…

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