Wrestling is niche entertainment. I know this and am well aware of it. It probably explains why wrestling website traffic in no way equals that of legitimate sport such as baseball or football. It probably also explains why my fascination with wrestling was very much a private affair until recently.
No, I did not have the wrestlng life you imagined. I didn't have the father taking me to shows and talking about the good old days when Bruno was king. I didn't come home to discover a new Ultimate Warrior pillow on my bed and I didn't stay up late watching Wrestlemania with my family and friends.
For me, life as a wrestlng fan was exactly the opposite. I came across it because of one friend, but outside of him, I largely hid my infatuation. Other than my small collection of wrestling figures, my house was devoid of anything wrestling. In fact, when my father found out that I was watching at my friends house, he quickly told me that it was fake and I shouldn't bother with such a thing. Talk about ruining a 7 year old's day.......
As I got older, I came to accept that wrestling is an acquired taste and I did not proselytize it with anyone. If anything, I actually hid the fact that I watched it from most people that I knew. Largely fearing that I would face ridicule for being into "a kid's show" (ironic given the TV-14 rating at the time and the profanity-laced, sexually charged, violent programming being offered), I never talked about it with my high school friends. Even worse, I would lock the door to my basement when I watched a wrestling tape as if it was pornography that I was trying to hide.
I've talked about the rest of the story before and I stopped watching for years and came back around 2007. By this time I was 22 years old and an adult. You would think it would be easier to simply be a fan. You would be wrong. Having girlfriends in college is essentially a roadblock to becoming a wrestling fan again, and uninterested friends are the cops that lay out the blocks. Even still, I made the conscious decision to watch again.
It's funny, but it took launching this site to come to terms with anything that will be thrown at me as a result of being a wrestling fan. Months before this development, I started a blog with blogspot for fun. I figured I'd start to write about wrestling as a first step in my journalistic endeavors. Faster than I ever imagined, I was discovered by FanVsFan and the rest is history. Latching on to a major network, it was finally time to come clean.
To be honest, I was nervous. I didn't know if the preconceived notions that have plagued everyone I knew would still hold true even now. That said, I was proud to be covering the WWE for FanVsFan and I wanted my family to support me. Sometimes, the stars align for you.
Perhaps I am very lucky, but my family embraced me and accepted my website. In fact, some of them visit the site on a fairly regular basis. However, nothing validated this more than a gesture just yesterday.
As I was working on the MVP piece, I got a call from my Uncle in Tampa. Having just visited there for Thanksgiving, I figured he was calling either to tell me I left something or to give me some Gator news (we are both huge Gator fans). I was wrong on both accounts.
"I'm sitting next to Brian Knobbs"
"The Nasty Boy?"
"Yea, you want me to talk to him?"
"What would you say?"
"That my nephew loves wrestling and would think it's cool that you are here"
"Um, ok. Do what you want. Makes me sound 7 but ok."
I did think it was cool that my Uncle was next to Brian Knobbs, but this was nothing new for him. Many active and retired wrestlers live in the Tampa area and my uncle has seen plenty around. This time, he took action.
Minutes later I received the picture you saw at the top of the page of my Uncle with Brian Knobbs.
Now, my Uncle could care less about Wrestling and has never watched a match in his life, but he took the picture for me. My family has finally come to accept that wrestling is important in my life. Well, important enough to write about. Maybe next time he'll take it a step further and get me an interview. At this point, I believe anything is possible.
I guess sometimes it just takes a little courage to face the truth. Or a website on a well established sports network...........