In Freak the Mighty, what behavior earned Max the nickname "Kicker," and why did he behave this way?

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Maxwell Kane went by many nicknames: Mad Max, Max Factor and Maxi Pad, "until I persuaded him otherwise." Because of his size and temperament--not to mention the notoriety of his father with the fearsome nickname, Kenny "Killer" Kane--it was inevitable that Max would have another moniker pinned upon him. "Kicker" was yet another of the nicknames he received. It was the name he went by when he first met Kevin in day care. Unsurprisingly, Max was called "kicker" because he liked to kick--and hated sympathy.

I had a thing about booting anyone who dared to touch me. Because they were always trying to throw a hug on me, like it was medicine.  (Chapter 1

He was proud of his nickname, and he "invented" different kicking games that included "kick-teachers and kick-the-other-day-care-critters." He believed the "hug stuff" was a "rotten lie"--a way to show sympathy for the big kid whose mother had just been killed before his eyes.

Of course, there was one later nickname that he loved above all else: "Freak the Mighty."

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