Love and Magic: Finding the Magic of Professional Wrestling

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Love and Magic: Finding the Magic of Professional Wrestling

"Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart and can capture the imagination.

                                    ~ Nora Roberts

An Act of Kindness

By now I can tell you that I am in no way shape or form a fan of professional wrestling. I find it silly and elementary. A chauvinistic, barbarian form of entertainment designed to allow those that seek escape to shut their brains off and cheer everything that is culturally wrong with our society. From the promenade of scantily dressed women whose sole purpose is to garner the lust of sheltered males; to the wide array of "beefed" up males who flaunt, flex and ripple their overdosed drug-laced bodies for these same males who, along with the "performers," play together in a complete fictional world of make believe.

While I understand that each breathing individual has their own vices, passions, hobbies and loves; I find the world of professional wrestling to be the equivalent of the hardest drug one can find to satisfy an addiction. It is an industry built on lies, sex, drugs, bullies and false bravado. It is a disease. A disease that seems to inflict those who are too, for a lack of a better word, stupid to see the unscrupulous, disgraceful and despicable acts, culture and principles that will leave each "fan" morally bankrupt.

It is an asinine endeavor for me to comprehend this "magic" that these people see. There is magic in books, film, art and architecture. There is magic in life, not the pretend. There is magic in the eyes of my youngest son, seven years old, who is full of wonder, amusement, joy and hope. He is everything in the world to me...He is my source of magic.

And that is why, the moment he fell in love with the man dressed in yellow who rips off his shirt, I had a very powerful decision to make. Do I take away the joy, albeit everything I hate, from my son? Do I impose upon him my views, opinions and desires? Do I follow the same path my parents took with me?

Do I smother his obvious passions because I deem them an ill fit for my child? Perhaps if someone as so young, pure and joyous as him can become enthralled by this world...could it be that bad? 

Every once in a while, when he sneaks away to the family room, turns the dials and sits anxiously in front of the television; I follow and secretly watch him. So young and excited, I can see his passion pour from his soul as he screeches in joy, turns away in fear, laughs, cheers again and then quietly sneaks out the back door after getting his weekly fill of this "pretend" world.

Every once in a while, I catch a glance at him mimicking the "man in yellow" as he waves his finger, shakes his fists and shakes his head. He reminds me of myself when I use to pretend I was a famous princess. Perhaps we all pretend. When did I stop pretending?

While I still harbor all of my personal feelings for this world of professional wrestling, I will do something my parents never allowed me to do. Follow, enjoy or share my passions with them. Whether or not I am allowing this because I harbor ill feelings towards my own parents is not the issue. This is for my son. My love. My magic.

His face, at first confused, lights up the whole house when I present him with his birthday present. All of the long months of saving money, researching the venue, event, seating and waiting in line has been completely redeemed when he lurches towards me and embraces me. I can feel his heartbeat. I can feel his excitement. I can feel his passion.

 

The Moment the Magic Touches You

The present? Two front row tickets to a professional wrestling event. An event called Survivor Series.

"Will the man dressed in yellow be there?" I asked the young man selling tickets. He laughed and pointed to a poster. The poster displayed not only the man in yellow, but another man. A dark, sinister man that childhood and adult nightmares are both built upon. What is this character? Does this obscene fantasy world also include its own devil to worship? What have I allowed my son to become a part of? 

All of those questions, concerns and fears are quickly laid to rest when my son releases his embrace and immediately runs outside to galvanize his friends with his newfound treasure. While my head is screaming "No!", my heart is racing with the joy, passion and energy my son currently feels. I feel alive.

The experience of getting to our seats once we arrived at the arena can only be explained as a whirlwind. From the drunk teenagers fake wrestling each other, to the fat, old bald men arguing over something about an undertaker, to the grungy females who have filled the streets, I feel utterly terrified for my son. My motherly instincts have now taken over as I herd my son like a sheep left amongst wolves. What have I allowed my son to be a part of? What was I thinking?

As I continue to shudder and race past all the sights and sounds, my son continues to pull and tug me in multiple directions as he wants to chase after every man wearing yellow. As my impatience grows so does the smile on my son as he observes all the spectacle that surrounds him.

His laughter towards full-grown adults wearing the costumes of those "beefed" up monstrosities he sees on television is the first thing to make me laugh. His innocence has hidden the truth from him. I know he believes this pretend world is real and while the thought of that scares me, I see a little of the joy he sees in it. 

From the moment the event starts, I'm surprised how easily it is to become so wrapped up in all the lights, sounds and spectacle that is professional wrestling. The people in attendance are all crazy. My son is going crazy. The atmosphere is an amazing blend of sounds, music and adrenaline. These "beefed" up performers are riling up the crowd (my son) into such a frenzy I find it hard to not crack a smile at the whole thing. Is this the magic everyone talks about?

Have I become so conceited by my parents' desires for a mature, hardworking real world that I can no longer pretend? Can I no longer enjoy moments like these without feeling inferior to those around me? While I may not be the famous princess I once pretended to be, can I not see that same passion and magic in my little prince's eyes?

As the lights went out and a dense smoke filled the arena air I glanced down at my son who was now cowering behind me. Why is he frightened? Why is he crying? Has this barbaric, cruel pretend world finally gotten to him?

Then from behind the veil of smoke, among the darkness, came the sinister man I remembered from the poster. As he slowly walked by my son, still cowering behind me, all of this; this pretend world made sense. And as my son, wearing the yellowest t-shirt I could find him, came out from behind my legs and pointed his finger at this dark man and shook it a wave of excitement and passion ran through me . With that wave of a finger I understood the magic of professional wrestling.

Just like in the real world there is good guys and bad guys. Cops and robbers. Good versus evil. This pretend world not only shares these same traits, but epitomizes them. And as the music erupted along with the thousands in attendance, my son being the loudest, I felt the magic. 

My son's "man dressed in yellow" had finally made his dramatic entrance, but in his eyes he came to save the world.

As my son, along with the rest of the crowd, poured their heart and soul into cheering for this hero I understood what this world was all about. I no longer saw the "beefed" up males who flaunt, flex and ripple their overdosed, drug-laced bodies, but instead I saw magicians who through illusions and magic entertained thousands into a frenzy of pure emotion and passion. My son's eyes glowing within the spectacle of professional wrestling.

When his hero was surprisingly defeated, I knelt down expecting to wipe tears of sadness from his eyes, but was instead greeted with the biggest smile I have ever (and would ever) see. 

"Thanks, Mom," he whispered to me. I felt tears swelling in my eyes.

"Don't Worry Mom! Hulk will win next time... You know this is fake, right?"

Magic. Perhaps it's around us all if we do not always concede to this "adult" world all the time. This pretend world may not be so bad after all.

 

Epilogue

Just after my mother passed away, me and my wife gave birth to our first child. When people ask me about my mom I always, instinctively, talk about the time she took me to see my one time idol Hulk Hogan battle the Undertaker at a professional wrestling event. I knew she hated it and always would, but I'll never forget those moments we shared. Moments I'd like to share with my son some day.

My son, now eight years old, has that same passion I once had towards the world of professional wrestling. I catch him mimicking his favorite character as he stands in front of a mirror and waves his hand in front of his face.

While I've lost a lot of my passion for the spectacle throughout the course of adulthood, I find myself once again feeling that same magic I once felt was I was his age, every time I see the reflection of wrestling in his eyes from the TV.

It reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of the magic it can contain. It reminds me of my mother.

For his ninth birthday, I presented him with tickets to something, as a child and adult, I always wanted to attend. I had presented my son with tickets to WrestleMania. All of the long months of saving money, researching the venue, event, seating and waiting in line had been completely redeemed when he lurched towards me and embraced me. I can feel his heartbeat. I can feel his excitement. I can feel his passion. I have an overwhelming feeling of deja vu. 

Being back within the comfortable confines of a wrestling event immediately bring out all of my passion, love and excitement for professional wrestling. My son beside me displaying the same emotions is something I will never forget. If only his grandmother could see us now. What would she think of her grandson at the epicenter of an industry built on lies, sex, drugs, bullies and false bravado?

As my son's hero finally arrived to battle the evil Hollywood movie star, his eyes were filled with insane wonderment and fascination. His hero had come to save the day...Just like mine did.

And while evil once again won that day, I knelt down expecting to wipe tears of sadness from his eyes, but was instead greeted with the biggest smile I have ever (and would ever) see. 

"Thanks, Dad" he whispered to me. I felt tears swelling in my eyes.

"Don't Worry Dad! Cena will win next time... You know this is fake, right?"

Magic. Perhaps it's around us all if we do not always concede to this "adult" world all the time. This pretend world may not be so bad after all.

This "pretend" world is what binds generations together. Will it bind yours?

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