Wrestlemania, and my love of Professional Wrestling.
Sitting here watching Wrestlemania once again. I have never missed a Wrestlemania, even in the days that preceded at-home pay-per-view service. I saw the first two in the Civic Arena on closed circuit tv. This is one of my earliest memories I will always hold, sitting at center ice, with two big screens showing the action, one on either end of the arena.
I remember the years of my mom driving down to the cable company and renting a box so we could get the new "pay-per-view" and watch it at home. And finally came On Demand, and with that watching became as simple as hitting a button on the remote control.
My love of wrestling comes from years of going to live events with my dad and maternal grandfather. Sitting in the "cheap seats" watching the golden age of WWE (then WWF) with Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Mr. Perfect, Undertaker, Andre the Giant, Big John Stud, King Kong Bundy, The Ultimate Warrior, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ted Dibiase, and many, many more. During my childhood innocence/naivety, this is when I believed wrestling was "real".
Loss of innocence
Then came the era of "sports entertainment". Learning that wrestling was “fake” and that I was actually watching a scripted show did cause me to sour on watching for a while... but I still never missed my annual early spring ritual of watching Wrestlemania.
Fan for life
My final evolution came through both friends with a similar interest in wrestling, and the internet. My friends and I attended several local shows, actually became friends with some of the wrestlers, and had a brief peek "behind the scenes". I learned that while the winners and losers were scripted, a majority of the match itself was not. That's what made me appreciate, and come to terms on my own, with the "sport" of professional wrestling. I do consider what I am a fan of to be a sport; just like competitive cheerleading or dancing is sport, albeit those winners are not predetermined (supposedly). It takes a level of athleticism that I do not possess and therefore admire. Sure it is done in a way that makes it appear to hurt more than it actually does, but it still does hurt. Most people who are not fans will either dismiss that completely, or laugh it off, with sayings like "they know how to fall". That's true, they know how to fall... but no amount of training can make a two and half story leap off a steel cage, through a wooden table, onto a concrete floor not hurt at all.
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