2018-07-11 / Editorial


Diana Royal

I knew I was going to marry him the first time I saw him. He was tall and lanky, tan and pretty, with dark hair, dimples and friendly, honest eyes. He and his mother moved from New Jersey, his former life packed up in a single suitcase with a bicycle for a traveling companion.

His first day at a brand new school was preceded by an encounter on the beach with a bully that resulted in a black eye and a bruised ego, yet he pushed forward, even after coming face to face with that same bully on the soccer field.

I’d soon learn that he’d lost his father at a young age and assumed that was part of his built up aggression; he was close to his mother and took on the role of man of the house but still needed attention like a child as well as a sense of belonging.

The one constant in his life was the group of boys who ridiculed him. It seemed that as soon as one injury began to heal, they were hovering over him again. He wanted to learn how to fight to defend himself, but his mom couldn’t afford to pay for lessons, so he tried teaching himself martial arts from a magazine.

He found solace in hanging out with a short old man from Okinawa who taught him the art of bonsai and helped him make the most amazing bathroom shower Halloween costume. That evening, he found the confidence to stand up to the bullies, but of course they chased him home, ready to give him a real beating. This time, however, the old man stepped in and I watched as Mr. Miyagi whipped some tail.

Wax on. Wax off.

Obviously I am talking about The Karate Kid. Y’all know I’ve never been married, and most guys have never really stood out when compared to Daniel LaRusso, more affectionately known as Daniel-son.

I made my nephew watch the old movies with me last week and was shocked he’d never seen much less heard of the originals. The Hilary Swank and Jaden Smith remakes really just suck. There’s no other way to say that.

Oh dear people of my generation: do you remember that final scene in the first movie with the crane kick? Or how about the trip to Japan when everyone starts shaking those paddles to help Daniel focus? “Wrong answer. Honk!” There were some valuable lessons to be learned in this film series, and we got to do so while witnessing one of the most natural, nurturing cinematic relationships of all time.

I always wanted more Karate Kid movies. I wondered what became of Daniel-son and even those punks who trained under that dojo with the death stare.

We are getting those answers.

Yes, this week I am using this space to tell y’all there’s an entirely new television series titled “Cobra Kai,” starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka (who played Daniel and the notorious Johnny Lawerence). That’s right you eighties kids – we are getting a continuation; we get to see what’s happened post tournament, 30+ years later. Normally, sequels are super cheesy and don’t do much for a franchise, so I was hesitant that a TV series had much promise. I was pleasantly surprised and instantly hooked. Y’all have got to get YouTube Red and watch this. You can even do the free trial and binge watch if you don’t want to give up the $10.

If you’ve ever jokingly went into "strike mode" or gotten goose bumps hearing Peter Cetera’s voice, just take my word on this.

P.S. I’ve still got dibs on Daniel-son.

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