Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Two Saturday nights ago my wife and I turned on the TV in hopes of a catching a creepy episode of Dateline featuring yet another typical, captivating story where a seemingly normal husband or wife murdered their spouse and tried to cover it up.
Instead, we happened to catch the very beginning of Wrestelmania 28, which for some random reason was airing on NBC. And we couldn’t turn it off.
We were reeled in by the mini-documentary profiles of both The Rock and John Cena. Before the match began, we were already rooting for John Cena, dressed in his token jean shorts.
Yes, professional wrestling is fake. Sorry.
No, not every single move is choreographed, but the basics of each match are predetermined, as I assume the wrestlers practice with each other for hours before their televised event.
Sure, certain parts of the physical wrestling are real, like slamming each other down on the stage.
But if all those “punches” to the face were real, there would obviously be some instant red marks and/or blood to prove it.
Why is it important that professional wrestling is fake? Because that’s what draws a crowd. People love exciting entertainment, even when they know it’s over the top and less than realistic.
(Ever heard of a show on TLC called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?)
This concept was also part of the story lines to boxing movies like Cinderella Man and Rocky, where the fight planners and promoters acknowledged the need for not only an underdog the people would root for, but also the need for a good long fight.
That’s not to say that Mike Tyson biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear wasn’t exciting, but there’s only so many times fighters can bite off their opponent’s body parts before it hurts the integrity of the sport.
Therefore, professional wrestling is fake. It’s much safer that way; not only for the well-being of the wrestlers, but also for the faithfulness of the spectators.
My 21 month-old son is at least subconsciously aware of this fact, too. On a daily basis, we wrestle in our living room. And every weekend, at the park.
He knows I won’t actually hurt him, yet he screams as I straddle him like a hungry lion tearing into a delicious zebra.
All of my growling and barking and shouting “Jack, come back here!” as I chase him across the room has to be perceived to him like being in the middle of a WWE wrestling match.
Even my toddler knows that wrestling is fake. But that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
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Thursday, August 5th, 2010
It’s not so much that I will relive vicariously through him as it will be that I will raise him according to what I know boyhood to be; therefore, Jack’s youth will in certain ways resemble mine. And not only will I influence him regarding what it means to be a boy, but also by what it means to have a dad, based on how my own dad influenced my life. Looking back, I can see that my dad was extremely patient with me and willing to spend his free time with me doing whatever goofy thing it was that I was into.
Whether it was helping me make the perfect Pine Wood Derby car for Cub Scouts, going exploring out in the woods, playing “Ninja Turtles” with me (I still have an impressive collection of those action figures at my parents’ house), or playing Nintendo for hours at a time.
Being a dad to a son also means confronting potentially dangerous situations and keeping him safe through it; whether because he has to, or for fun. And in the process, the son learns to trust his dad to take care of him, knowing his dad wouldn’t allow him to get hurt.
Like when he was leading our family in a 5 mile hike in Mentone, AL and he encountered a Copperhead snake- he killed it by throwing a huge rock on it. Then when we got back home he skinned it and displayed it for all of us Cub Scouts.
And like when I was really young, my dad would put me in a pillow case, hold on to the open end, and sling me around the living room. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
I also would sit up on his shoulders while he stood under the ceiling fan, in front of the mirror, so I could see that my head was just inches away from the spinning blades. He called the event “The Head Chopper-Offer”. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
And I always liked to wrestle my dad. Obviously, it was impossible to beat him. He was way too strong and way too big for me; not to mention he had a black belt in karate. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
It was about testing those limits of danger with someone whose job it was to keep me safe. Ironic, yet necessary. My dad and I wrestling on the brown shag carpet represents what being a dad to a boy is all about. The typical “play fighting” allows a boy to test his own strength and power against his own protector and guardian. And it’s a very natural way for a father and son to be physically close- without even realizing it.
Dads and sons are close in their own unspoken ways. And as a dad, part of my job will be to initiate some of these weird ancient rituals. Even if it means confronting danger- it’s part of the journey of becoming a man. And these types of adventures are a rite of passage meant to be passed down from father to son.
Baby Jack is the size of an eggplant.
Here’s what The Bump says about Week 26:
Let your spouse put an ear to your belly — he might be able to pick up baby’s heartbeat (no stethoscope required). Inside the womb, the formation of tiny capillaries is giving baby a healthy pink glow. Baby’s also soaking up your antibodies, getting the immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and baby will soon perfect the blink — perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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adventure, baby, blog, blogs, boyhood, Cub Scouts, dad, dad from day one, danger, eggplant, Mentone, Nintendo, parenting, pregnancy, protect, ritual, safe, snake, sock monkeys, son, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, weird, wrestling | Categories:
Nostalgia, People, Storytelling, The Dadabase