Call to action: My first match.

So it’s been a little over 3 months of training at this point and the text comes through that I’ll be wrestling in my first match the very next day.  I’m ecstatic, excited, elated and….of course, terrified! My first thought was…“what am I going to wear?” I’m not a girly girl AT ALL…but that’s sort of an important question when you are going out and doing something in front of people. You gotta find something that looks good, is functional, and frankly, that you aren’t going to fall out of (yes, I said it).  So I decided on my trusty hot pink tank top and black boy shorts. Why hot pink? Well, for 2 reasons:  as a tribute to one of the greatest families in Wrestling history…and well…ever see someone in hot pink and NOT notice them?  Wardrobe: done.  Next Up:  the string of self-doubt questions that pop into my mind.

I’ve been working really hard in class to learn as much as I can so that things start to happen more fluidly with less thinking. Going to class twice a week hasn’t been easy, especially with all the other stuff I have going on in my life: working a full time job that is never just 9-5, working out at the gym as much as possible, SRO band rehearsal, maintaining my house…cooking…cleaning (boring!) as well as other social activities and commitments that come along the way.  The school is about 45 minutes from my house which adds to the time commitment.

Learning the art of professional wrestling is unlike anything I’ve done before.  It’s not just about having the athletic aptitude and learning the technical skills. There’s so much more!  Class aside, you have to work out on your own to get in shape enough to do this. You have to attend classes to learn not only the technical skills, but the psychology of this sport. You have to become a character who dresses a certain way (hence the panic over what to wear – who am I? do I even know?) acts a certain way while executing everything you are learning…all while thinking for yourself,  for the other person (or people ) in the ring with you, anticipating what they are thinking and going to do, what you need to do…while taking care of your own safety as well as theirs…while entertaining and stimulating the crowd of people cheering…or booing you (and NOT let that get in the way).  You have to focus on all that, at once, and in a split second ANYTHING can change or go awry…but you have to just keep on going. That could all result in one big cluster-F*ck if you ask me! I can practice the technical stuff until its perfect, but if you don’t have the mental wherewithal to put it all together safely in an entertaining manner…that will make sense to the crowd…you are not going to succeed at this. I won’t even count up how many dimensions that is because I’m sure there’s more that I’m not even aware of yet.  There’s nothing like this on earth that I’ve ever experienced.

So the day has come.  I enter the IWF Camp around 5pm to prep, stretch, review the plan for the show and the time comes.  I’m nervous as hell, the adrenalin pumping. I can do this. I know I can. I have to. I will.  There’s no turning back now. The music starts.  Names are announced….and now I’m out there feeling a little awkward.  I realize just then that I hadn’t done a real entrance before.  (Great time to think of this, right?)  Sure I’ve seen them on TV a thousand times, but when you’re actually out there doing it, 10 seconds seems to last 10 minutes…and you’d never imagine the crazy things that go through your head.  “Hey look at that kid, I’ll go over to him and slap his hand” “oh, he’s not paying attention (FAIL)”  “ugh… totally missed that high 5” “Oops, smacked that kid’s hand a little hard” “Ok, is it creepy that this adult is trying to high 5 me?” All in all I was pretty numb throughout this whole process, but I think they call that adrenalin.  I’m waving at people, shaking hands/high 5ing with kids and the crowd, smiling ear to ear…yet I’m ready for a fight.  People were cheering.  The nerves were there, but I really had no time for nerves now.  It’s show time.  My team was strong. We really thought we could do it, but the guys on the other side were sneaky. They really were! They didn’t deserve to win, they cheated, but in wrestling, I guess that happens sometimes when you have sneaky people distracting the ref. At one point all hell broke loose and the idea of this being a 6 person tag match went out the window. I saw all our guys in the ring and once Jess decided to get involved I had to stop her. I ran in and started a beat down in the corner. She got some shots in too, but then the ref pulled us apart and as I was walking back to my side unfortunately one of our guys got pinned because of the melee…but that’s when it happened…I heard it.  I heard a kid yell “come on Michele, go get her” and that was the moment I officially became addicted to this.  It wasn’t perfect, I know I still have A LOT to learn, but I got out there and conquered the fear of the unknown. Next time and every time after will be better.  It was a tough lose, those guys on my team (Johnny Angel and Jarrod Murray) gave it their all. If we meet those 3 in the ring again, we will revel in victory! 

…’til next time!

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