Every January – usually just after we’ve all taken down our holiday decorations – “wrestling season” kicks in to high gear. Football is nearly over with, hockey and basketball fans have decided wether their teams are worth continuing to support, and baseball fans start to countdown to Opening Day. Wrestling was made for this time. The ironic thing is is that wrestling has no official “season”. It’s one of the only sports that go year round. Championships can be decided at any time – sometimes multiple times during one event. It’s the ultimate “die hard” sport to follow.
“Wrestling season” is the only time of the year fair-weather and “closeted” fans speak freely about the sport to their non-fans friends and family. They’ll say it’s all about the spectacle, the celebrities, the Hall of Fame – things that elevate it above it’s normal “white trash” reputation. It’s OK in polite society to be a fan, just as long as it’s between January and early April. Any time before or after that, you’re lowbrow to the hoi polloi. You might as well have a car parked in your front lawn and a toddler clad only in a diaper wondering aimlessly on your property 24/7.
While I’ve never been ashamed to be a life-long wrestling fan, it’s cute to see the above mentioned “casuals” try to play off their passion for the sport. What most of us (especially those reading this piece) wear proudly on our sleeve, these folks just follow it when it’s the “playoffs”. It’s funny to watch them jump in the conversation excitedly and contribute their opinions with the same enthusiasm as you or I. You feel like having the “birds and the bees” talk with them so they know they’re not alone and stop hiding what they really feel. “Lots of people feel just like you, Timmy. It happened to me when I was just a boy…” Wouldn’t that be hilarious?
Back on topic, if you’re a real fan, you can’t help but be excited during this time. Even though, logistically, you know where things are likely headed at the “big show”, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it and savor it’s impending arrival. It’s just like the days leading up to Christmas – the anticipation and curiosity it instills are the best parts. I’ve been a fan for 30 years this year and I still get that way. Sure, it’s not like it was in the era I grew up in, but it’s still exciting. Being in the business, a lot of people within the industry get jaded over the years. I can understand that. How many “lifers” in any business still have that same youthful enthusiasm that they did when they first started? I may feel somewhat burnt out at times with the sport, but if I didn’t love it why the hell would I be involved in it as my vocation? I may not watch dozens of hours a week of the sport on TV any more, but I still feel that same excitement talking about it, dreaming about it, trying to find a happy medium with our product. Wrestling is whatever you want it to be. Something different to all who love it. It’s your “drug of choice”. If you don’t want it in your life, let it go and quit complaining about it. I might not feel as passionately about the national products as I did when I was younger, but a lot of folks do and that makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. That same feeling I get when a couple hundred of our fans feel the thrill our talent provides at every show.
The “season” lets me be a kid again and not have to worry about putting out a product, just enjoying one. While some parts are more enjoyable than others, as a whole I’m satisfied annually. I felt the same way when I was younger, even before I got involved in the business. I have memories of watching scrambled PPV feeds on cable because our family couldn’t afford ordering the event. Or how Jacques and I saved up our cash to buy a “black box” back in the late 90’s to be able to watch 3 PPVs a month for free (akin to torrents nowadays, I reckon). Having parties with WAY too much food (and booze) with friends and relatives enjoying the show hooting and hollering the whole time. That sense of community and pride in what we all love with other people. It meant (and still means to me) being able to let go and live in the moment of the “Granddaddy of them all”. It’s, dare I say, “fun”. That’s what wrestling is supposed to be. Like a Michael Bay movie, it’s a big, loud, over-the-top spectacle that exists purely to entertain. There might be some drama and pathos during the show, but it’s ultimately mass produced megaplex-mentality pop spectacle. What’s wrong with that?
While it would be great for people not to feel socially threatened to hide their love for wrestling nine months out of the year, at least we can all share that common bond openly the other three. Those of us brave enough to be “outed” are looked upon less curiously and even appreciated for our knowledge. Step out of the shadows and shine while you can.
This is our time. This is our passion. This is our glory.
This is WrestleMa……
Eh, you know the rest. Enjoy it before it goes back in the closet for another nine months, ya’ nerd 🙂