Sunday, October 18, 2009

Teen Ink Article

I Am Pro Wrestling
By LuchaDoll

Heroes and villains, good guys and bad guys, people you love and people you loathe. Whether you are watching a movie, your favorite television show, a soap opera, or a cartoon, a variation of opposing forces are present. Professional wrestling is no different. Sure, there’s spandex, referees, and title belts, but that’s part of the appeal. It takes you out of reality and into a perfectly put together performance. If there’s one thing in life that I love more than life itself, it’s professional wrestling. I tell people that I love pro wrestling and the reactions don’t much vary between, “Wrestling’s fake,” and “Why?” My responses: “No, it isn’t,” and “Because I can.”

“Wrestling’s fake.” I hate those words more than any others. Wrestling isn’t any faker than the movies you watch. Ask any wrestlers, as I have, if wrestling’s fake, and you will illicit the same response from each of them. A look of disappointment and the longing to be elsewhere. I’ve learned, throughout my life and more so in recent years, that wrestling isn’t fake. They, unlike your action movie heroes, do their own stunts. I’ve seen first hand the damage professional wrestling can do to a person, both mentally and physically. I try to keep the fact that I’m a wrestling fan to myself, because otherwise, one of two things will happen. Either the person I’m talking to will try to talk wrestling with me, and not succeed because they think that the WWE is the only wrestling company on the planet, or they will go on about how girls should stick to dinner and laundry instead of pro wrestling. I don’t think that whatsoever. Yes, I’m a girl. Yes, I cook and clean, but I can do it while watching wrestling. And if I cook and clean, then I’ll watch whatever I want and don’t need a man’s permission to do so. No, I am not a feminist, but I do believe in gender equality. Sexism and double standards will never dissolve, but they will not affect me if I have anything to say about it.

Like any other wrestling fan, I’ve been to many live wrestling events and have seen many matches in person. One match, in particular, stands out in my mind. Alex Shelley versus Sonjay Dutt, September 29, 2006, The Siegel Center at the Alltel Pavilion in Richmond, Virginia. I was 14 years old and standing in the front row. “Shelley Sucks” and “Sonjay Dutt” chants were more than noticed and more than necessary. Shelley was the heel, the bad guy, and Sonjay was the babyface, the good guy. Go to any wrestling event and there will be, more often than not, a heckler. On that crisp Fall night, there were 3 of them, standing directly across from me on the opposite side of the ring. There weren’t that many fans in attendance that night. We barely filled up half the floor a college basketball court, so the hecklers were louder than normal, in order to try and steal the spotlight from the wrestlers. I’m a loud fan, I yell, I chant, I cheer, I scream at the top of my lungs, but I do it for fun, not to belittle other fans.
The 3 Musketeers, I mean, hecklers, were giving me the 3rd degree for enjoying Alex and Sonjay’s match. Alex Shelley and Sonjay Dutt are two of the rawest, most technical wrestlers out there, and to sit there and not enjoy a match of theirs is virtually impossible. Or so I thought. Hecklers are usually funny, can get the rest of the crowd laughing, and aim their jokes at the wrestlers. The 3 Amigos, however, weren’t funny, made the crowd mad, and aimed their jokes at one person: Me. “Go home and do my laundry,” “Shouldn’t you be doing your algebra homework?,” “Bring me a beer,” and “What’s for dinner?,” were a few of the comments made to me. Not because I was 14, not because I was an easy target, not because I am a girl, but because I actually enjoyed the match, as well as the rest of the show.

When it comes down to it, you can hate wrestling and you can hate me for loving wrestling, but I don’t want to hear about it. You may be against wrestling, but I am pro wrestling.