I used to have a membership at the local YMCA when I was in grade school. It was great, especially in the summer when I could use the pool during the hot 100+ degree days, there was a game room with a couple of foosball tables, and of course the indoor Gym for shooting hoops.
Being a latchkey kid I would get up early in the morning and ride my bike across town to the Y and shoot baskets for a few hours then jump in the pool to cool off, Though some days I would just hang out with other kids I would meet.
I must say this, I do have a guilty pleasure, and that is I do enjoy wrestling. My grandpa was a big fan of wrestling and would watch it with him often. Growing up on Gordon Solie and the NWA, and later WCW programs, and the WWF with Gorilla Monsoon in the 1980’s heavy gimmick hey day, I really appreciated the production, story lines, promo’s and athleticism that went along with the larger than life characters. Now I was certainly a mark for the white meat baby faces of the time like, The Von Erich’s, Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., and of course Hulk Hogan. However, who doesn’t watch a western and think that the antagonist like Lee Marvin isn’t cool? So, there were a few heels that I loved to hate, but, thought were pretty darn cool too. Guys like the methodical and psychological Jake the Snake Roberts, Kevin Sullivan and Rowdy Roddy Piper. But the one the stands out the most is, “The stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealin’, wheelin’-n’, dealin’ son of a gun! Yes, Ric Flair.
On a lazy summer day while at the Y, I ran into a boy and we began talking wrestling, not too far into the conversation the boy, (I don’t recall his name) said, “Hey let me put you in a figure 4 leg lock?” Having seen Flair apply his finishing move many times I knew something that I thought this kid didn’t, You can reverse the hold! I had seen a match were someone, maybe Sting or Ricky Steamboat had turned onto his stomach while in the figure 4 by Flair and instantly after doing so, Flair was writhing in pain, essentially reversing the pressure onto Flair by turning over.
So with this knowledge, I agreed to be put in the figure 4, I mean, how bad can it hurt, right? Well…I’m here to tell you, it makes you think that you quad is going to burst through your skin. But I had an ace in the hole, I knew how to reverse it! This dummy wouldn’t know what hit him. I began to attempt my turn which didn’t work so I tried to trick him by trying to turn him one way than quickly switch to turn him the other way. After a few minutes of doing this I finally got him nearly over and with a little jerk of my body I had him! I was surprised to not hear my new friend holler out in excruciating pain, I was also more surprised that the pain that I had been feeling was not going away. Yeah…that turning over b.s. doesn’t work. Not long after, the kid released the hold. We talked a bit more about wrestling and then parted ways.
Now I new wrestling was pre-determined and staged, but that day revealed to me that there is some actual pain involved, and it solidified my suspicion that some of these holds and reversals are also b.s. to an extent.
I don’t watch wrestling and longer, busy parenting and school and work keep me from it, plus I don’t know half the roster any more. But I loved the time I spent watching matches with my Grandpa, and hold the sports entertainment industry close to my heart because of it. I still enjoy seeing old clips and listening to the great intro music with my 4-year-old son while we drive to preschool. So in a sense, the legacy of wrestling still continues in my family, though I my son every asks to put me in a figure 4 leg lock in the future…I will cut an incendiary promo on him then run away like a cowardly heel, because that pain is real.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it.