>>> Against Your Will
By staff writer John Marcher

February 24, 2008

The other day I was trolling through the endless information orchard known as the internet, trying to see what had happened at UFC 81 last weekend. I usually try and watch ultimate fighting pay-per-view specials, but I had skimped on this particular event because the card looked weak. Tim Sylvia vs. “Minotauro” Nogueira and Brock Lesner vs. Frank Mir were the main draws. Sylvia is a disgrace to the fine state of Maine and it's proud lineage, and I couldn't give a fuck about the fact that Lesner “fights” in the WWE. I hadn't thought of that shit as cool since the days of the N.W.O. Wolfpack.

As I scanned the results, I began to feel vindicated. Sylvia had gotten whooped by an aging former Pride champion, and Lesner had come out guns blazing only to get submitted in the first round by a leg bar. Go fucking figure that some oversized circus performer knows how to throw fists but can't defend against a basic MMA submission move.

Then I began to briefly read through the results of the under card. Marquardt over Horn, Griffin over Tibau, Tim Boetsch over David Heat– My eyes stopped immediately. “Tim Boetsch? Why does that name sound familiar?” I follow the sport fairly closely, but to keep track of all the small time fighters is a daunting task for even the most loyal viewers. But I couldn’t get that one name out of my head. “Tim Boetsch…. Where have I heard that before?”

“It felt like I had been skewered by meat hooks in ten different parts of my torso.”

Oh, wait…. It couldn't be….

Suddenly my mind was flooded with a barrage of imagery from a different time and place. It was the 6th grade and I was at a wrestling meet in a musty old gymnasium somewhere deep in the heart of mid-coast Maine. And I was wearing a leotard.

To set the scene for you a little bit, I need to give you some background on MarinetheAss when he was 13 years old. The first thing you need to know is, I was fat. Really, really fat. I weighed 100 pounds by the time I was in fourth grade, and by the sixth grade I weighed 135. This trend would continue until I topped the scales at a whopping 265 pounds my senior year of high school.

Let's focus on the sixth grade for a minute though. I could fill you in on the incredible social ire that came with being grossly overweight during a time when cliques and crushes were just coming to fruition, but to do so would be to assume that you're actually interested in my plight. Rest assured that my wholesome upbringing had outfitted me with a sincere sense of empathy for all those around me, and that this facilitated itself by making me a pussy in the eyes of all those around me.

I'll round things out by explaining that on top of being a fat pussy, I was incredibly un-athletic. I didn't get the slightest semblance of athleticism until I hit high school, and it wasn’t until college that I would truly come into my own as an athlete. So there I was, a fat un-athletic pussy strapped into a red wrestling leotard like Kelly Osborne getting ready for the Grammy's.

Wrestling season hadn't been going very well for me that year. I was 0-7 and had been pinned in every match I had up to that point. My one true skill within the paradigm of wrestling prowess was my ability to prolong being pinned after getting taken down. Simply put, this skill had come from spending the vast majority of my time, both in practice and in matches, on the mat.

So I walked into that day’s meet somewhat unnerved at the prospect of facing the best team in our conference. Man-beasts adorned the HAL Middle School wrestling team bench, many of them with facial hair, and girlfriends cheering them on. I can remember it seeming so unbelievably odd that only a year or two separated me from these kids who surely embodied all the characteristics a grown up might have, what with their tales of after school fellatio and weekly need for fresh razor blades.

The 135-pound weight class was the second heaviest on our team, which meant I had to sit by and watch all the slimmer, faster, and better members of our squad finish their matches before my turn came around. I am reasonably sure that if anyone else on our team had been in the same weight class as me they would have been first string ahead of me. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and by default I was the number one contender on our team for this weight division.

When it was my turn to wrestle, I walked out to the middle of the mat and waited for the referee’s instruction. Then an HAL coach began to make his way out to the ring’s center. “This is great!” I thought to myself. “They don't have anyone on their team in my weight class, so I'm going to win by default!” I cracked a small grin and glanced up into the stands to see my father chowing on some popcorn.

My father always had an innate love of fresh popcorn that I could never begin to understand even when I tried. Later on in life, when I was old enough to drive, I would often use the excuse that I was “going to the movies” as sort of a generic get-out-of-the-house-on-the-weekends card. Without fail, he would ask me to get him a jumbo bag of popcorn from the theater on my way out. I never understood why he couldn't just pop some Orville Redenbacher in our microwave to satisfy his cravings. Nonetheless, swinging by the movie theater for a bag of popcorn to facilitate the façade of actually having been there became a part of my weekend ritual.

The coach came to the center of the mat and began unzipping his warm-up suit. Confused, I glanced up to my father again, just in time to see the same befuddlement, evidenced in the slowing down of his popcorn inhalation. The thought slowly began to wash over my head that this guy I had assumed was a coach, standing six feet tall with a full grown beard, was in fact to be my opponent. The suspension of disbelief quickly crumbled when, in the grizzled voice of a 50-year-old chain smoker, he said to me, and I quote: “You're dead, fatboy.”

With eyes as wide as saucers I looked up at my father again, hoping with every aspect of my being that he would be able to provide some sort of reprieve from the heinous circumstances before me. Focused on the lumberjack across from me, he shook his head as if coming out of a daze, and then made eye contact with me. Sensing the futility I was no doubt projecting not only to him, but to everyone in the stands and on the bench, he cocked his head slightly, raised his hands to his sides, and shrugged in a manner that suggested, “Oh well. What can ya do.”

This was the last lateral image I had as the referee blew his whistle. My viewpoint quickly shifted to the ceiling of the gymnasium as I was taken down with lightning fast efficiency.

I've never been attacked by fire ants before, but one time when I was a small child a single fire ant bit my toe and the pain was excruciating. If it were possible to be sexually violated by a colony of fire breathing insects, I am convinced it would feel very much like it did that day to wrestle Tim Boetsch. The pressure he put on my body was indescribable. It felt like I had been skewered by meat hooks in ten different parts of my torso and all ten were all trying to pull me apart at the same time.

After five seconds I gave up trying to resist; after eight it hurt so bad I just wanted it to be over; and by the eleventh second I was actually attempting to contort my body so as to pin myself and end the match. Those eleven seconds felt like an hour on that day—an hour of the most excruciating pain I could possibly imagine at the tender age of 13. As I hazily got to my feet I was overcome with several different emotions at once: relief at the pain being over, bewilderment at what had transpired over roughly the last two minutes of my life, and most of all embarrassment at the sudden realization of how pitifully I had performed.

It was then I remembered my father was still up in the stands. I looked up at him to see popcorn flying everywhere as he convulsed with laughter, limbs flailing, shaking his head in utter disbelief at the hilarity of what he had just witnessed. That was the day I had met Tim Boetsch, who would go on to win four state titles and take nationals before becoming, apparently, a UFC fighter. Suddenly, I regretted not ordering the pay-per-view fight last weekend. If for nothing else than to see the look on David Heat's face while he was violated by fire ants.