How wrestling made me … me again

Paul Soucy and his daughter, Charlotte.

Paul Soucy and his daughter, Charlotte.

It’s a tale as old as time. Good versus evil. Superhero versus villain. Babyfaces and heels. And yet somewhere along the way, the idea of scripted wrestling matches has been dubbed as silly or juvenile and probably a lot worse. Even though we live in a world where apparently even our news is fake.

But, once you get past the fact that yes, the outcomes are predetermined, the feats of strength and athleticism displayed by these men and women are unlike anything else you’ll see anywhere else – even traditional sports. Where else would you see someone lunge from five feet in the air and somehow manage to get one-and-a-half rotations while landing on top of someone, or run full tilt toward the ropes only to vault themselves right over top of the ropes and onto someone even further below.

And what if those displays of athleticism were also tied go compelling storylines, which even I can admit aren’t “award winning” television? But still, they are entertaining in their own right. When they are meant to be taken lightly, they can be on par with any juvenile, slapstick comedy, and when they are meant to be taken seriously – as well as written and executed properly – they allow you to suspend disbelief and forget, for even a brief moment, that you’re watching a scripted event.

For years, I’ve been “sports entertained” by the best: Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Randy (Macho Man) Savage, Ric Flair, Bret (The Hitman) Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Triple H and The Rock. The list goes on. But for a good portion of my life, I had lost touch with pro wrestling and forgot how happy it made me. Recently, I’ve begun watching WWE regularly for the first time since I was about to leave home for college – some 12 years ago.

This time around, I have kids of my own, and my oldest, just like when I was her age, has favourites of her own. Bayley and Becky Lynch are to her what Hogan and Warrior were to me. Lately she’s even warmed up to “Mean Charlotte.” My daughter is also named Charlotte – she says Charlotte Flair is “too mean to be a Charlotte.”

Nothing makes me happier than seeing her excitement when Bayley or Becky’s music hits. Even more so since bringing her to a live WWE event last fall. That night the only ones she really wanted to see were Bayley and Becky. When the time came for Becky Lynch to run down the aisle, we got our Charlotte as close to the barricade as we could, and sure enough, the “Irish Lass Kicker” chose my daughter as the lucky recipient of her steam-punk goggles that night. My wife happened to be recording the entire thing and Charlotte must have asked to watch it a hundred times over the following week. She wasn’t sure what to expect heading to the arena that night, but I’m pretty sure those 30 seconds made her a wrestling fan ‘4 life’. I can only imagine how much I would have “marked out” if I was given Bret Hart’s iconic shades when I was younger.

The WWE is coming back to Kingston soon and she’s very much looking forward to it this time around – especially now that she knows what to expect. The hardest part has been trying to explain to her that she was very lucky to get Becky’s goggles the first time and that odds are she won’t get them again this time.

But it makes me happy that she’s excited to see her favourites again, and now that I’ve been back on my wrestling routine for almost two years, I can say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

I’ll admit I can’t fully give pro wrestling the credit for it, but it’s played a part. I’ve reconnected with something that brought me much joy as a child, and I get to watch from a different perspective as my daughter, and maybe my twin sons when they’re old enough, make memories of their own.

And I think that’s just “too sweet.”