By Brian McBride
I was 17 the first time I beat my father in an arm wrestling match. I don’t remember how many times I had tried before. But I remember the winning experience clearly: battling on the living room floor in our two-story house on Long Island with my brother filming us with the bulky camcorder of the era. It was a struggle, but when the back of my father’s hand hit the carpet, I jumped up in jubilation and mugged for the camera as my father laid there and laughed.
That memory snapped back into my head, when my own teenage son, Tyler, 15, said the other day, “Dad I want to challenge you to an arm wrestle.”
Tyler is an athlete. He’s getting taller everyday, not yet at my 6-foot-4 frame, but always claims he will be taller than me.
Tyler was in weightlifting class in high school this year and I could see the results at the end of the year. So, the pup wants to test the lion, I thought.
We sat at the dining room table and locked right forearms as my older son, Jacob, watched on. Jacob, by the way, had no interest in trying this. I asked my son, “Are you ready for this?” He grinned and nodded.
Jake counted, “1-2-3 go!” Tyler went for it. Now, my former sports editor, Rick Pedone, didn’t call me, “Big Man” for nothing. If you’ve run into me, I block out the sun when I’m outside.
I held Tyler’s arm straight, as he struggled, not being able to budge my own forearm, I said, “Anytime now Ty,” with a smirk and Tyler laughed.
I then went on the offense. But I was surprised about the fight he put up. He had some strength in that arm. I didn’t go full press, as I didn’t want to hurt my son, of course. But I just pulled enough to finally get his hand down to the table and yet, he refused to go without a fight. His hand remained just inches above the table for about a minute before it thumped onto the table.
I immediately praised his efforts, as I was genuinely surprised. The next two words out of his mouth were, “left arm.” The result wasn’t any different. But it was a great bonding experience for my sons and I. And there is no doubt in my mind that Tyler will beat me one day, like I beat my father. It just might take two more years.
In the meantime, I walked away with a victory and two sore arms.
Brian McBride is the editor of the Osceola News-Gazette.