Sitting back in his maroon recliner and sipping on his sweet tea, my Daddy never saw it coming. As I watched "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair finish off Dusty Rhodes, I let out the trademark "Whoo!" as loud as my 8-year-old lungs would allow.
Looking up from his newspaper, he gave me that stern look that said to be quiet or else. Back in the days when the NWA would televise wrestling on Saturday nights late, I would sometimes get to stay up and watch. That look meant that I was dangerously close to being sent to bed.
I was one of those wrestling kids that spent hours in the floor of my living room or bedroom making up storylines and matches with my little wrestling men. I knew all the wrestlers and their moves long before I learned about common sense.
I used to tell my Dad that I could beat him in a wrestling match. He would laugh it off and tell me I was "getting too big for my britches" while continuing on with his newspaper.
The truth was, I had some serious passive-aggressive feelings towards my Dad. I loved him, but even at that young age I felt that I was more of a hassle to him.
Later in life, I would not enjoy a close relationship with him, as he and my mother divorced. It seemed that he divorced me as well, and we just never did hit it off in any real way.
He has since passed away, and though we made sure to let each other know we loved and forgave one another, it still bugs me sometimes.
Regardless, those wrestling memories are the best memories I have of my Dad. He would occasionally take me to house shows and those were the times where I felt we were pals.
I love wrestling because of that to this day.
On this particular evening, I issued the same challenge that I did every week. I challenged my Dad to let me get a wrestling move on him and I bet that he could not get away.
He turned me down as always, and that was that. The next morning was a Sunday like any other, but my Dad had slept in late.
I climbed onto his bed and woke him up begging for a little bit of time together on the ball field. He declined as usual.
I remember feeling very angry with him, and then he said it.
"I don't feel like playing ball, but I will take your challenge. Go ahead and put a move on me, and I will try to get away."
Now I do not know if he was just that arrogant, or he was clueless about my knowledge of professional wrestling, but that was a huge mistake.
Instantly, I was transformed into Slick Rick himself. I was styling and profiling all over his bed as he lay there arrogantly looking up at me and laughing. I remember his laughter just made me that much more angry.
I let out another pitiful Whoo at him and grabbed his grown up leg. For a little boy, I had long and bony legs. I wrapped him up in the best figure four leglock you have ever seen and cinched it in.
For those that do not know, the figure four is no joke. With just a tiny bit of pressure you can literally break a man's leg. With a ton of pressure from a pair of bony, sharp little boy legs, the move can be especially effective.
Immediately, he came up off the bed and started screaming.
I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, he is really getting into the act. My Dad has never played this real before."
After what seemed like hours but in reality was about 45 seconds, I heard a slight little snapping sound over his screams.
I broke my Daddy's leg (okay, fractured it, but broken sounded more dramatic).
Slick Ric would have been proud and to this day, I have never seen his face without thinking of that day.
My Daddy lost that challenge and he never took me up on it again. His little boy was a little bit smarter than he thought.
In spite of our troubles through the years, and our separate lives, the memory of that morning and our wrestling shows together gave us both something to think back on with good memories.
Broken leg or not, we were together. That had to count for something, and I can thank Slick Ric for every bit of it. He taught that little boy everything he knew.
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