So when I was in eighth grade my aunt thought it would be cool to take me somewhere special. Now that could be almost anywhere for me; a Denver Broncos game, to go see The Clash live, a giant mud puddle, out for ice cream….blah blah. That list could go on and on but when she meant special she really meant it. You see there was one event that I was really dying to see. Much like a baseball game when you get to actually see your favorite players take the field and spit stuff on the fresh cut grass. But instead of seeing the greats like Ken Griffy Jr., Randy Johnson, and John Mattingly, my event involved names like “Hillbilly Jim”, “Leapin Lanny Paffo”, “The Junk Yard Dog”, “Mad Dog Jim Duggin”, and “Jake the Snake Roberts”. And there battles did not take place in the great open diamond shaped ball field but in a small ring bound by turnbuckles and springloaded ropes.
We stepped foot into the darkened Tacoma Dome arena. The smell of musty sweat and fog machines competing for first place against the electric light show and glam rock overloading the central nervous system. A half an hour of chaos and two hot dogs in the chamber and then it began. “LADIES AND GENTELMEN WELCOME TO THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION TONIGHT WE BRING YOU INTENSE WRESTLING ACTION! BLOOD, SWEAT, AND BROKEN BODIES! WE BEGIN OUR EVENING WITH A POEM FROM LEEEEPIN LANNNNNNYYYY PAFFOOOOOOOH!” And then everyone boo’s and this skinny guy comes out reads a poem from a frisbee and then gets hit with a folding chair and the madness begins. It was 2 hours of huge muscles popping out of small spedo’s, cut foreheads and foreign objects in the ring. Even the ref got throttled a few times. And then, the moment we have all been waiting for, with a momentary hush accross the dome, the lights went dark, the fog machines working over time, one lone spotlight suddenly beams to a corner and the song signaling our hero’s entry fills the arena….” I am a true American, I fight to…..” the crowd erupts with excitement and our hero emerges from the fog. Hulk Hogan, the tannest, most shirt rippingest, body slammenest man of the WWF.
I sat in awe. Watching in disbelief as the man who inspired all of my back yard brawls systematically dismantled Kamala the Ugandan Warrior. I couldn’t believe what a priveledge I had, to witness a combination of over 600 lbs get thrown, tossed, slammed, airborne, and eventually flattened. The raw power of these men was over-emphasised by their drama and summed up with a simple count of three by a balding man in a striped shirt.
This was a moment burned in my memory and often encourages me in times of intensity. I share this story with you so that when you see me slightly tap my elbow before I slam it into something, you will know the moment I am re-living. That Hulk inspired moment.