Trying This At Home

A Teacher, Doctor, Police Officer, Fireman, Actor, Veterinarian or Computer Programmer. Those are the answers I heard last week when I asked my students what they wanted to be when they grew up. Ambitious and impressive no doubt, but I was a little disappointed by the practicality of their dreams. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was 13, there was no question: I wanted to be a professional wrestler. Of course, things have changed a lot since then and kids are encouraged not to try ‘this’ at home. While I surely agree and understand, I can’t help but remember the good times I had and how it made me the guy I am today…

Every Friday night, my friends and I would gather at my house or in someone’s basement and put together 2 hours of wrestling. We’d spend Monday’s dissecting our last ‘event’. Tuesdays we’d go to the woods and gather these bamboo like pieces of wood(?) that would later be turned into ‘kendo sticks’. Wednesday night we’d walk around the neighborhood looking through trash cans for things we could throw each other through. Thursday we’d go to the dollar store for aluminum dishes that worked wonders for illusions of hardcore. Then Friday was all about pooling our allowances to buy VHS-C tapes and finding rides to whoever’s house we were wrestling at that night.

My first match ever was for the Extreme Hardcore Wrestling World Title against F5. F5 was the leader of the Storm Squad which featured wrestlers like Lightning, Thunder, Monsoon and Typhoon! F5 was involved in a feud with former EHW champ Jin but I owned a nice video camera so I got a title shot upon my arrival. I’ll never forget sitting in my buddy’s laundry psyching myself up for my debut like I was backstage at the ECW Arena or something. The lights turned off, the black light from Spencer’s flickered on and Kid Rock’s ‘First of Rage’ crackled from the tape player. That was the birth of Ryan Rage.

Rage and F5 went on to feud for months. Our final match happened at EHW’s Battle Royal when we wrestled in a Dry Wall Death Match. F5 piledrivered me off of a couch through drywall. The tape instantly became a hot commodity in our neighborhood. I went as far as to fake sick that Monday and convince my mom to let me stay home from school in an effort to sell my injuries. Our federation continued each and every Friday for the next year…until we discovered girls. It was dangerous to do some of the stuff we did, but without that time I wouldn’t be who I am today. EHW made me fall in love with wrestling and working in front of/behind a camera. Guess what I do for a living now? Make films. So despite the warnings, I’m glad I tried it at home.

Quite honestly, I still want to be a pro wrestler when I grow up…

Botching A Moonsault Last Summer

So I ask, were you a backyard wrestler? Feel free to share some of your memories, gimmicks and story lines in the comment sections!

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