Seeing the magic of Wrestlemania through their eyes

There are few things in life as touching as sharing firsts with your children.

In January I decided that this was the year I would finally share one of my favourite events with my two daughters — the extra bonus being that my stepson had been deemed old enough to partake as well.

Our tickets were purchased without hesitation because finally, I said FINALLY… the WWE has come BACK…to Van-cou-ver.  Okay, Abbotsford, but stick with me here.

I first got into wrestling in the furor and glitz of Hulkamania — just prior to Wrestlemania 1. Now, 31 years later, almost to the day, I am chair dancing my way through my day waiting to load the van with kids and show them what live wrestling is truly all about.

I’ve seen these untelevised events many times, been on road trips to Monday Night Raw, made signs for PayPerView events in Rogers Arena — even flown to Texas and Toronto to see Wrestlemania itself.

I have seen spectacles and classic encounters, and watched almost every major star in professional wrestling ply his or her trade in the squared circle live.  I remember that first event in the Pacific Coliseum. Our seats were near the guard rail of the entrance aisle and we four kids would jam ourselves next to it reaching out for the high fives of our favourites, cringing at the glares of the villains.

The only girl out of the four of us and the youngest would run across the chairs as we stood up and cheered or booed and get to the rail lightning quick. Though I cant remember the main event, I do remember that The Hart Foundation and The Rockers went to a 20-min draw in a match that would remain my favourite “I was there” match for nearly 15 years.

When I left the house 12 hours before the event started, the three kids were well behaved and extremely excited.

On the drive down, I kept wondering ‘will they enjoy it?  ‘Are they expecting all the glitz and glamour of the TV show?” Will the lack of costly pyrotechnics or stagecraft disappoint them, or will they find a new level of enjoyment?’

The WWE is in the final stages of preparation for Wrestlemania as they roll through our Valley, so I expect the bell-to-bell action to be both insightful and topnotch, and maybe… just maybe, the lights will dim and the bell will toll, or the crow will caw and these children can get a taste of two performers they may never get to see live as they taunt their opponents for March 29.

That is my wish for them, or maybe just a pipe dream for myself.

From the instant I had all three kids with me I could feel the excitement radiating off of them.

There was absolutely no chance of a surprise appearance by The Rock, but these first-timers were completely electrified with two hours to go before the opening bell.

For the kids, it was six weeks of waiting boiled away to mere moments. For myself, it was nearly eight years.

Jerry Swiatek, Flickr

Jerry Swiatek, Flickr

Our little slice of South Coast is not a hotbed for professional wrestling– the chance to see the larger companies is limited to once a year or so. And since my girls were too young, I stopped going.

My stepson had discovered this peculiar hybrid of sport and stage show from me only a few short years ago, and has since found it entertaining, though not as obsessed as I was at his age, he too has his favourites– he was definitely the most outwardly excited of my three kids.

Once we worked our way through the crowd and found our seats I was surprised to see we had a great view.

We all saw friends as we waited and took a stroll to the merchandise stands to get our souvenirs. Four t-shirts later, we were in our seats as the first bell rang.

From the first entrance the kids were memorized by the spectacle They screamed and yelled, booed and cheered and bantered with others around us.  They fully suspended their disbelief and went on the ride with the show.

We saw a dynasty diva in Natalia Neidhart, the Intercontinental champion and his contenders. We also saw long-time favourites like Kane, the upstart Roman Reigns, the top talent in the company Daniel Bryan, newcomers yet to make the main roster, veterans, upstarts and future Hall of Famers.

After the main event, the four children were exhausted and voices were raspy and weak. I had a few dozen pictures and the kids had t-shirts — okay, I had one too.

We all shared something that meant a lot. For me, it was a generational bridge to my girls and a bonding moment with a little boy who attached himself to one of my favourite things, simply because I turned it on one night while he was there.

Time will tell what it means to them, what it means to me is that come Hell or high water,  I spent a few hours at live pro-wrestling with my children. Of course, they may never want to see another, but I have that one special day to cherish until I die.

So here’s the point I’m trying to make Valleyites, we all have special things in our lives that we have loved and hope to share with our children.

Whether it’s a concert,the Grey Cup, play-offs or finals, Globe Trotters or bands, what ever it is, once they are old enough to handle the crowds, the show, the late nights or long days, take you kids, share what excited and enthralled you with them.

See how it goes — you may get a traditional outing, or you may get just one memory. Either way, you will not regret it.

For a very special moment, you will see through their eyes and they will see through yours.

I have two more events on my list to share with my younglings. One is just a matter of time and one may involve a family vacation… can you guess? Do you care? Does it matter, or has my point gotten through?  No matter what it is, save the money, buy the tickets, make it special and for a few precious moment see through each others eyes.

[box type=”bio”] matt and daughter bio picKnown as “Big Daddy Cool” to his two ‘wee ladies,’ his eight and nine-year-old-daughters keep him on the hop and surprised constantly. A Valley resident since 1996, this 30-something from Aldergrove has seen the growth and expansion spring up around a sleepy suburb that he used to avoid in favour of the more happening areas of the GVRD. He can and will quote Simpsons, Seinfeld and his beloved WWE at the drop of one of his many hats and is at his happiest with a mic and a crowd. A single dad since 2007, Matt keeps in shape in his home with the YRG/DDP Yoga program that has infected his friends and family and can be found in his few spare moments sweating it out with anyone who will join in or get up early enough. With a philosophy stolen from an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie he’ll tell you without reserve “There is no fate but what we make.” [/box]

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