Cleat Geeks

The Live Experience

We were a football family.  I grew up relatively close to Michigan State University, therefore I was trained to be a Spartan (Go Green!) and would inherit a few tickets to the throw-away games against Central Michigan.  Sometimes the games were blow outs; sometimes the spoils went back up to Mt. Pleasant with the Chippewas.  Regardless of the outcome, I could feel the difference between watching my beloved team in a living room versus the intensity and camaraderie that came with sitting in Spartan Stadium.

Right about the same age I attended my first live football game, I was introduced to professional wrestling, let’s say age seven.  I viewed this sport with the same mindset that my dad had while watching the Spartans; well not the same because my favorites would win from time to time, even bringing home championships (mind you, this was not the same Spartan Athletic department it is today).  My uncle was the one responsible for fertilizing my need to watch the then WWF, picking a favorite wrestler like most little girls picked favorite Barbie dolls.  “I like this one because he wears pink and that’s a pretty color.”

I loved watching VHS copies of Summer Slam 1990 and Wrestlemania VI over and over again.  We didn’t have cable, so my only resource for sports entertainment was a little video store that had no more than thirty WWE videos, which allowed me to memorize each match, each finishing move, and each promo.  There was nothing more magical in my mind.  Soon came the subscription to the WWE magazine and requests of WWE action figures.  Occasionally, I’d play with dolls and tea sets, but that’s only because I was the only person, aside from my uncle, who knew who Dino Bravo or Koko B. Ware were.  But like any other addict, I would need bigger, stronger fixes to keep me satisfied.  I would need to experience my beloved professional wrestling live.

In the later summer of 1993, I finally attended my first live event: Summer Slam 1993 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, MI.  My parents allowed me to miss middle school orientation to go, and even though I now look back at the calibre of the wrestling and storylines at the time with a half-hearted attitude, you couldn’t have taken away my smile for anything on that night.

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That Sunday, sitting practically in the last row on the floor, barely able to see, I made a vow to myself (yes, at age 12 you can do that) that I would never forget the feeling of watching a live WWE event, and some day, when I was grown up enough to make my own decisions and money, I would buy the best possible seats to as many shows as possible.  And that’s just what I have done.

PicMonkey Collage

As a 33-year-old, married adult, I have found myself in the financial position to be able to purchase two or three sets of excellent seats per year.  They aren’t all pay-per-views or headlining events, but they are to me.  The synergy in a live crowd that I experienced for the first time in 1993 remains just as strong today.  The choreography of the entrances, whether fans are about to cheer or boo the noted competitor, is mesmerizing.  Lights flashing, music booming, fireworks screaming from one corner of the arena to the other, and BAM!  You’re on your feet!

 The experience of being a fan at a live event quiets the cynics and awakens the inner child who wants to show off their homemade sign, hoping their favorite wrestler will see and appreciate the effort.  There isn’t a computer screen or twitter handle to hide behind.  Voices are lost and foreheads glisten as highlight reels are made in the ring.  We all become marks as the “HOLY SHIT!” and “THIS IS AWESOME” chanting begins.  The guys next to you become friends as you dissect the previous Raw’s card, the misuse of Ambrose’s heat, and who would have made a better Mr. Money in the Bank.

Sure, you can experience the same love/hate relationship with sports entertainment, tune into the same matches from the comfort of your LazyBoy for less hassle and money, and even interact via social media with your favorite wrestlers, but there is something so special about seeing a professional sporting event live.  It’s worth the hassle, it’s worth the drive, it’s worth waiting in lines for over-priced beverages and memorabilia, it’s worth the sacrifice of saving up for nose-bleed seats.  Creating a multi-sensory memory is something you can never recreate in any other environment.  And who knows who might show up and swerve the pre-made card.

Rock Bo Dallas

(Photo via @CoreySantiago)

 

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