I witnessed a mother’s love recently. It was one of my colleagues, who, for Christmas, had Santa promise to bring her son really, really good seats for the World Wrestling Entertainment show this spring. The first day tickets went on sale, she was on the phone making sure her son would be front and center. Overhearing her conversation made me feel happy/sad because I remember being there once, too.
So if you don’t mind my taking a walk down memory lane, I’ll share with you my own WWE story. It’s a rather nice fit for Valentine’s Day.
I’m not sure how my son’s passion for the WWE got started, but I have a sneaking suspicion watching Friday night matches at his Dad’s house had something to do with it. Not that it mattered. He was, at age 11, a rabid fan. So it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that when he learned The Show was coming to Memphis, he wanted to be there. Thus, he started his campaign to warm me up to the notion. I ignored him at first, fairly certain he would eventually give up. But he’s smart, my kid. He instinctively knows what scientific evidence has borne out, that with persistent pestering, even the most well-intentioned parent will … eventually … break down.
At 5 o’clock on the day of the show, I finally cave.
“Thank you, Mom, you’re the best. I can’t believe we’re actually going!” he says breathlessly, wiping away brief tears of joy. I had no idea he was this smitten. That evening, we find our way to the Pyramid and join 15,000 other eager wrestling fans.
The WWE Supershow comes fully loaded — with flashing lights, pyrotechnics, babes in spikey heels, and hunky, mouthy dudes like Kurt Angle and John Cena. These are the bad boys you’d advise your daughter to avoid, which means she’d likely ignore you and date one on the sly. Suffice to say, the crowd eats it up. Even my boy, who hoots and hollers on cue as grown men hurl their bodies onto the mat in wild, choreographed abandon.
As luck would have it, we sit next to our very own play-by-play announcer, 26-year-old Ely, a FedEx ground worker who tells me he’s been an avid wrestling fan since he was 6. I don’t doubt it; this guy’s knowledge is deep. He’s seen the WWE Live like, eight times. He knows the backstory on every character. It’s all my son can do not to grab my pencil and start taking notes.
He tells me he’s still into wrestling because of the story lines, of course, and that they’ve improved over the years. My son nods in agreement. “See Mom, I told you this was good,” he says, just as one of the guys in the ring knocks another player out with a chair. I cringe. My son continues to rattle off way more stuff than I thought he could possibly know about wrestling. I try not to get too freaked out.
Hey, I’m at The Show, right?
Our conversation gets cut short periodically as Ely yells down to the players or my son leans over me to compare notes with our expert about the wrestler Triple H. And then another one comes on stage whose chant is “You suck. You suck. You suck,” and the crowd really goes wild. I’m left to wonder momentarily whether our society is in significant decline.
But I’m reminded that historically, mankind has always gravitated to spectacle of some kind, and at least here, I know the blood is fake and the crowd is good-natured. It’s a family affair, after all. The folks around me have two and three kids in tow and dropped $25 a head to bring them here (even in the nosebleed section), on a school night no less. All in the name of this crazy passion play.
Maybe we all need that delineation from time to time; the knowledge that the good guys do triumph over bad. Or maybe we just need to be able to yell at the top of our lungs and release whatever demons have built up inside. I can’t say I understand it completely.
But for now, this is my son’s passion. So I turn back to watch the show and occasionally glance at this child beside me and smile about the fact that we’re here, together. What can I tell you? I’m a mom; it’s what we do for those we love.
And it is, after all, The Show.