Get Into The Game: Fighting Female


By Kristy Barry

Photo by Kristy Barry.

In 7th grade, I entertained a short stint playing basketball, and often fouled out with the referee reminding me that this wasn’t the WWE. Middle school can often feel like a wrestling match and the contentious school we played against was actually named Waterloo… but amidst the flying elbows, bloody noses and clothesline attempts, I wasn’t cut out for this petty chick battle. I either took jabs personally and blew a gasket, or watched as girls pushed past me for easy layups… and seethed.

As an adult, I watch UFC’s Ronda Rousey physically fight other women and still don’t know how she keeps her cool or how other women don’t bite her when their elbows are twisted back.

In Chessboxing, I knocked out my sister Katie in a bout of well-placed hits, but only after she declared “no face shots,” we agreed, and she broke the rules by bopping me in the nose. She fell to the mat and I felt an inkling of regret until I remembered how she nearly suffocated me at the Pillow Fight Championships.

I can play well with females who respect the rules; I just don’t have empathy for this belligerent woman knocking into me at the Belmont Stakes last weekend to get a closer look at the dirt.

She’s trying to push past me and I calmly let her know, “It’s not happening.”

Name-calling, especially in big crowds, is for chumps so I don’t impart any blame or mud-slinging.

I tell her, “Walk away.”

She continues to shove into me, telling me I have “no right” to block her from going in front of me. She whines at me to move, to let her go ahead of me, and keeps barreling into the blockade my sister and I formed standing beside each other.

She could go around us, but insists on moving forward, trying to break through my arms. I stand still, informing her that, “This isn’t a game of Red Rover and if it was, I’d win.”

As a New Yorker, you put up with people shoving you on the subway, shoving you at Terminal 5, cutting you off in taxis, or running in front of your car, often times, to no real advantage. Sound quality isn’t necessarily better as you get closer to the stage, a few seconds of patience on the road doesn’t set you back hours, and with the subway–chances are, we’re all probably getting out at the same stop.

With men, I’ve always admired how they can punch each other in the face repeatedly and share beers and bear hugs afterwards. Frankly, I feel like something is fishy when men can’t go from fisticuffs to friendship.

But women, we’re a bitter, bitchy species. We can be ruthless, relentless, allergic to reason, and while at times those traits favor us, other times we just look like idiots. What I loathe so much about this shove-y wench at Belmont, is her self-righteousness in pushing past men because she predetermines they won’t touch her. After she penetrates that layer, she must presuppose that she can easily dominate females.

Though I happen to be impervious, I’m not blocking her to fight her… I’m standing in front of her because I don’t want this yappy, aggressive beast in front of me for the big race that I came all the way to see. In big crowds like Belmont, which hosts over 100,000 people, you can’t go track down cops or complain to anyone about an unruly reveler. You just have to take care of it. Her mouth is spewing nonsense, she’s not as tough as she pretends to be but my only real problem with her is that she keeps ramming into me.

She’s probably 24 years old but acting like she’s 14.

Then, she grabs me with one hand. I yank her hand off my dress, and proceed to hold it there. Her other hand is holding a Coors Light can and her cell phone. She’s been drinking, clearly, and the only beer I had that day was the one she then threw in my face.

With beer still dripping down my hair and over my lace dress, I gripped and twisted her wrist around until she squealed. Inspired by Ms. Rousey, I jerked her elbow over, took two steps, and put her down.

Her female friend finally convinced her to walk away and a man in the luxury boxes next to us brought me over a stack of chocolate chip cookies and congratulated me.

Two males nearby were wrestling each other like wound-up puppies, ripping each other’s shirts, slapping each other, yelling names at each other—until “it” happened, then they stopped, hugged, and toasted each other with their $10 Coors Light cans.

Maybe I should’ve asked the beer-flinging wench to play “The Slap Game”, where two people face-off and take turns slapping each other until someone shows teeth. Sometimes the slaps are hard and other times, slaps are actually wet willies and finger-flicking, and you can frequently get someone to laugh by acting like you’re going to pick their nose.

No one gets mad in The Slap Game, because the rules are established and respected: only face shots.

She probably wouldn’t have played but she could’ve walked away with a clean dress and learned a little something about not playing dirty from someone who has often seen an opponent like her–petty and unrewarding.

Though a lady ought never find herself eager to battle—if we must, we should fight like men.

For more, check out Kristy in conversation on the BTR Sports podcast, every Sunday on BreakThru Radio.