Like anything that matters, most people don't understand it.
It's deviant. It's antisocial. It's ugly. It's incomprehensible, neanderthal, irresponsible, unnatural, wrong. It's violence for violence's sake. It's pain to know pain, sweat just to sweat and blood because sometimes a life lived cries out for blood. If nothing else, it's just plain dangerous.
My ribs are bruised. My elbow keeps popping. My back and calves are sore so I can barely stand. This headache could drop a man half-again my size. The five inch slash down my right forearm is luckily not infected. Hopefully my ears will stop ringing by the end of the weekend.
That was the best time I've had in months.
If you don't understand the pit, if you've never gone to a punk or a metal show and been drawn into the surge of humanity, towards the tussle of unbridled aggression, into the the throng of flesh and pain and joy, then you're probably just not ever going to.
There are few other comparable experiences in modern day life. I can think of nothing else so visceral, so communal, so organic. From the far walls it's simply pandemonium, a riot. But, from within it's something else entirely. It's a conflagration of human emotion, a place that is simultaneously treacherous as a minefield whilst safer than family Christmas. Where else are there so many so desperate to knock you to the floor yet so eager to bring you to your feet again? Where else does the threat of harm turn so swiftly to the embrace of brotherhood? Where else can you find yourself amongst a teeming, breaking wave of humanity and know, if only for a second, that you are all feeling precisely the same thing?
It's a community that exists almost nowhere else, the violence, the challenge, the athleticism of team sports but without the ego, without the brass ring of victory and the false consolation of defeat. It's common cause and spiritual unity without the complications and manipulations of politics and religion. It's exercise and exhaustion without the preening and pretension of an organized workout. It's one of the fastest educations you can receive.
You keep your feet wide, preserve your space. The crowd presses, protect your midsection. The crowd heaves, protect your face and breathe deeply. Push forward hard - slide left when overpowered. Straight arms mean broken elbows. If you don't scream or sing, you're fucking up. When you go down come up fast; help others do likewise. Take no shit and stride proudly 'cause most people don't have the balls for this.
Scream and lust and sweat and make battle, nothing beats it.
Go forth and bleed.