Sunday, July 28, 2013
Dear Wrestling: A Love Letter
I love you.
I've been looking for you my entire life, ever since my dad took a tiny seven year old me to a hockey game, and that tiny seven year old me ended up stood on a chair and screaming for the players to fight. I did not realize for many years that wrestling was really the thing I was looking for.
You have given me a place to belong, something I never really had before. I was always the loner, the outcast, the loser. But now, I belong. I have a group. A place where people know me and welcome me with big squishy hugs. A place where I am missed when I'm not there. A place that is always waiting for me, a place I can always come back to. A place that feels an awful lot like home.
You have given me such great friends, and such great adventures. I have seen things and done things that I still to this day have trouble believing happened to me. Me! Little old me, from nowhere Ohio, has found herself in the most amazing situations. These are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
You have given me a self-confidence that I never had before. I was the girl who never spoke and tried to hide behind my hair all the time, or in a book. Now I'm the girl standing on chairs and shouting at the top of my lungs, or looking to my right at a bar in NYC and saying "Oh hey, it's Eddie Edwards."
(And to which he responded, "Why yes it is. I like your hat." This is the best wrestling memory I have. He probably doesn't even remember me anymore, but I remember, and that's enough for me.)
I'm the girl whose writing is on a variety of different sites, sites that reach more viewers than I even care to know about, in more countries than I can even think of. This site alone, my wienery little blog here, has done almost 6000 views since inception, and almost 600 this month alone, which is an all time high. It has views from something like two dozen countries around the world. That probably isn't that much, in the grand scheme of things, but it utterly boggles me. These words, that I wrote, are being read around the world. These words I write from my couch in Ohio, when I'm probably not even wearing pants. (Or trousers, for those of you who may be reading from the UK.)
You have given me a voice and a platform. I am so unbelievably passionate about this weird sport thing. I have had other "passions" in life, things I've enjoyed doing, but none of them has stuck so hard and for so long. I've always enjoyed writing, and wrestling has brought out the very best in me in that regard. That is another reason I love you, wrestling.
You gave me myself, you gave me my words. You brought out this strange loud version of me that I never imagined existed (although perhaps a shade of her was there, at age seven, at the first and only hockey game her father ever took her to).
I don't know why all this should be. I don't know why I should be so passionate about men and women wrestling each other in spandex tights. It sounds incredibly weird. It's incredibly hard to explain to people who aren't wrestling fans.
(And the amount of times I have to dispel the silly notion that wrestling is fake, ugh)
I just do. I love it. I keep trying to find words for it. The sound of bodies hitting canvas, moonsaults, dragonranas, suicide dives, near-falls, title matches... but it never feels like enough. Perhaps to someone who isn't a fan, it will never be enough.
Perhaps it's because wrestling itself is a sport of passion. For every wrestling fan who finds it hard to describe to normal people why they love it, it surely must be ten times harder for someone who just wants to become a wrestler.
"You want to put on underwear... and roll around... with another dude in underwear... in FRONT of people?"
But still, they go for it. They train and they put their bodies on the line, day after day after day, and they get back up, and they keep going. They fight for every inch and every angle, every little handhold in the business, just to make a name for themselves.
I remember reading in an interview once -- I think it was the Miz -- who said something along the lines of "Everyone gets into wrestling imagining they will headline Wrestlemania."
You have to respect the kind of passion that takes for someone to work so hard for that moment... and be so utterly thrilled when they succeed. When you see someone go from the indies to ROH, from ROH to TNA, and TNA to WWE? That's fucking amazing. You see this person living their dream. Living their passion. And it gives you hope, that if they did it, so can you, whatever your passion happens to be.
My passion happens to be this. I have dreams for someday getting paid for this... whether it's writing or reporting or even writing for one of the big companies themselves. (I think I'd be great at storylines, I'm just saying.) I don't know if that will ever happen for me. I want it to, more than anything. I hope so. I feel it in my heart, in my bones.
Wrestling has given me so much already that I feel so selfish asking for more. Even if this ultimate dream, my personal Wrestlemania, doesn't happen for me, I can only hope wrestling will always continue to feel like my home, to bring me new stories and more great adventures, more wonderful friends, and the ability to reach people all over this big gorgeous world of ours.
For giving me even the smallest bit of opportunity, the tiniest presence I have in this crazy business, my words and my whole, actual, greatest self, I have absolutely nothing but love and humility and joy. I am so thankful just to be a part of this thing. To have had the opportunities I've already had. The adventures and the memories, good and bittersweet.
Thank you. Thank you so much.