If scientists had the time, by now they would have concluded that somewhere on Earth, somebody gets punched in the dick every 11 and a half seconds. I’m no mathematician, but that equals a pretty staggering amount of crotch violence on a weekly basis. But this week was a good one for blows to the genital area, and two in particular stood out from the crowd. Were they the most important dick hits that happened this week? Who knows? As anyone who’s been hit there can tell you, the crotch shot that matters the most is always the one that just happened to you.
Sometimes a punch to the dick is just a punch to the dick- immediate and painful, but ultimately meaningless beyond the moment. And sometimes there is a larger, more metaphorical meaning that lurks beyond, where a broken heart hides in the shadow of swollen balls.
The first type happened to Spain’s Juan Carlos Navarro in the waning seconds of his team’s win over France in the quarterfinals of the Olympic basketball tournament. Nick Batum ran in at full speed, fist balled, and used all of his momentum and leverage to deliver an overhand haymaker to Navarro’s groin that caused the largest shockwave since the Krakatoa explosion of 1884. When asked about it after the game, Batum was still angry, and very candid: “I wanted to give him a reason to flop.”
It should be noted that basketball is the easiest sport in which it’s possible to hit an opponent in the crotch with disguised intent, as Rajon Rondo once demonstrated on Anderson Varejao.
A casual glance would tell you that Rondo was just trying to save the ball and the groin shot was unintentional, but keep in mind this is a guy who routinely hits teammates in stride from 25 feet with behind the back passes at full speed- he knew damn well where that ball was going when he threw it.
Batum’s punch was so deliberate and intentional it immediately went viral in the traditional way, by actual word of mouth, which is now usually reserved for those moments which unnerve or offend our sensibilities so much that we can’t bear to have our feelings about them bared on Facebook. Plenty of people made jokes about Ron Poppo getting his face gnawed off, and plenty of people felt very sympathetic and earnestly bad for him, but not too many from either camp were willing to have their comments on the subject left out there for posterity.
This is all to say that the shot was so pointless and savage that there was something shocking about it, but not in any sort of lasting sense. For better or worse, it’s a simple fact that alot of people carry a taboo about discussing their own or other people’s sex organs in public forums, regardless of the reason. Not only that, but unlike Ron Poppo and his face, Juan Carlos Navarro still has his dick and balls, and when they re-descend from his body it won’t be long at all before he’s back to working his Spanish fly on the groupies that I can only assume must flock around a reasonably good looking European former NBA player.
The other telling crotch shot of the week was actually a double-dick punch, by two young siblings at Friday’s Cubs/Reds game. The camera rests on them for just a few seconds while they playfully fight in the bleachers, but that’s enough time for them to trade crotch shots in between grappling. Deadspin was there with the obvious angle, that being a Cubs fan goes hand in hand with getting punched in the balls. And sure, two kids playing in the stands and punching each other in the groin seems like a funny demonstration of that, plus the Rockwell-esque timelessness of the image of sibling rivalry makes it instantly identifiable. But isn’t the point of having a brother supposed to be that there’s someone else there to watch out for you- someone who shares your blood and background, someone who never, under any circumstances, should deliver an intentional shot to your sensitivities?
The real wrinkle, the subtlety that’s being missed here, is that something about the Cubs seems to breed in the psyche a willingness to punch people you love and supposedly trust in the groin. What’s worse is that there is usually a laugh and a wink involved, and an assumption that you or your victim stick around to be a willing recipient for the next shot.
The impact of the blow Navarro recieved will ultimately be brief, and nobody assumes that Nick Batum is going to be a serial dick puncher from here on out. His overhand right flew on the wings of a moment of frustration and anger, and when it landed, it elicited a collective gasp, but it’s nothing that’s going to keep anyone up at night. But for those two young Cubs fans, and for the millions of others out there, those few seconds are a window into the lifetimes of both giving and recieving shots to the groin that await them.