Mortal Kombat: Knitting Battle

Mortal Kombat was a fighting game that first came out in the early 1990s. It became one of the most popular games ever, and, because of its bloody violence, one of the first targets of those kinds of parents who don’t like taking responsibility for their child and blame video games instead. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve decided Street Fighter was actually the better game series, but I owned neither as a child and my friends preferred Mortal Kombat, so that’s what I grew up playing. I never loved the game, really just because I was awful at it. My slow fingers could never master the combo moves, and the game’s voice-overs just mocked my futility as I died repeatedly.

Which brings me back to knitting. OK, not really this time. I haven’t been knitting much lately because of school and some illness, and I even missed the most recent knitting class Wednesday. So this is just a slightly exaggerated account of my Mortal Kombat-style encounter with an elderly woman.

At the last knitting class I actually attended, which was a week and a half ago, there was fairly light attendance. I had finished my washcloth, and decided not to add on to my light blue scarf; now that I was able to knit better, I wanted to do a scarf from scratch, one that wouldn’t have all the many mistakes I made when first learning on the blue scarf. So I spent a while looking at unappealing patterns, then finally just decided to use some orange yarn I had to make an OSU scarf, hopefully in time for Bedlam. But I haven’t gotten far enough on the new scarf yet to really make posting a picture worthwhile.

So as I lackadaisically started my new project that day, I talked to Victoria, my 90-something-year-old mentor. I steered the conversation toward sports, and we ended up on baseball. The league championship series were still going at the time, and she expressed her hope that the Cardinals would pull through. I told her I wasn’t really a St. Louis fan, but would root for them if they ended up in the World Series against Texas (which is what has happened). When she asked who I was a fan of, I responded that my favorite team is the Atlanta Braves.

Victoria gave me a look of disgust that I imagine most senior citizens reserve only for people who talk bad about the Hoveround, Life Alert, eating dinner at 4, or Murder She Wrote.

“The Braves?” she said distastefully. “The Braves suuuuuuuck.”

I was dumbfounded. Victoria had already shocked me once by being a sports fan at all. Now she was turning out to be the kind of sports fan who would talk smack in the middle of a knitting class. Suddenly, it is on, Mortal Kombat style.

“The Braves have as much talent under the age of 30 as any team in baseball,” I say. “Enjoy being the beneficiaries of our collapse this year, because we’ll be a force for the next decade, while St. Louis fades away once Pujols signs with the Cubs.”

Shadow Kick, Johnny Cage style.

Solid opening movie. But Victoria rolls her eyes.

“Since when has talent ever meant the Braves win anything? You had your ‘Big Three’ pitchers and won all those division titles, but you only got one championship, and that was in the strike season.”

Holy crap she’s good. Ice Blast from Sub Zero.

She keeps on the offensive.

“And even if the Cardinals do lose Pujols in the offseason, we can count on Atlanta to just make another bad trade, like giving us Adam Wainwright for a washed-up J.D. Drew.”

Air Throw from Scorpion.

I’m off my feet and the game won’t let me move. Somewhere deep inside me, an eight-year-old child screams with a horrible sense of deja vu.

“And it’s not like the Braves have been any better historically,” she continues. “You had Hank Aaron for 20 years and only won one World Series then, too.”

Lightning Blast from Raiden.

My health bar is low.

“Though it’s not like Aaron was ever as good as Ruth, even if he did break Ruth’s record,” she concludes.

Wait a minute. That combo missed. Suddenly I have an opening.

“Um, yes, Aaron was absolutely better than Ruth. Sure, Ruth had more pure power, but Aaron had 1,000 more hits. 1,000. Seriously.”

Spinning Takedown from Kung Lao.

I’m back in the game.

“And Aaron was an elite defender, winning multiple Gold Gloves. Ruth could barely waddle around out there.”

Acid Split from Reptile.

Victoria squirms in her chair and prepares her counter-attack.

“Yes, but Ruth had a shorter career than Aaron. He would have accomplished even more with a couple more years.”

I block her attack. I’m ready for this one.

“He had a shorter career because he was fat. Part of Aaron’s greatness was his ability to have such longevity. A major aspect of the game is just being able to be out there, and Aaron was better than Ruth at that, too.”


“And let’s not forget that Aaron played against much better competition. Ruth got to play in segregated baseball. Aaron’s era had the best athletes in the world, and he was better than all of them.”

Dragon move from Liu Kang.

Fatality registered!

“Well, OK, but I still don’t like Atlanta,” Victoria murmurs.

Eight-year-old David can’t believe he finally won. Sure, the opponent was nearly 80 when Mortal Kombat first came out, but it’s still progress from indignantly claiming I only lost because my controller wasn’t working.

Next week: Actual knitting. I hope.

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