When Will It End"
August 1, 2005 by Serafin Santiago Jr.

Blaming someone for certain things is very easy to do. Just pick a topic, and a victim, and go off on them. Usually when this happens, a huge fight ensues and then the chips fall where they may. Now who are we to blame when it comes to Backyard wrestling" Man, is there a long list of potential prospects in this argument. It goes from large sports entertainment organizations, to individual wrestlers who have put their bodies on the line for your joy and hard earned cash. No matter how you present it, you will find that, almost always, everyone on that list will be implemented in the accusation. Yet why are so many parents willing to support their kids in such an outrageously stupid and dangerous activity" Oh, there is so much to ponder and oh so much to point out.

Where can I begin" Well let's start with the obvious "offenders" shall we. The WWE, in all its glory, has been around since the dawn of dirt. It has brought us so much in terms of entertainment and memories. It's the more recent history of this company that has been a target for much of the hoopla about backyard wrestling. The Attitude Era back in the mid through to the late '90s was when this phenomenon began showing itself to the general public. Now because of the fact that Vinceworld was such a high profile entity, it became an automatic bull's-eye to those who went through the horror of seeing their sons and daughters end up injured through idiotic means. What fascinates me is that when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, we did the same thing these guys were doing! We did all of the same play fights that any kid does mimicking their heroes. Only difference was that if we really got hurt, we'd have to get hurt all over again cause mom and dad would have at us something wicked with our belts. Hey, what can

I say"! We had strict parents back then and we didn't want to have to add to any misery we put ourselves through.

More instances of laughter, in a sense. There was a small yet highly popular group in Philadelphia that made a huge impact on the wrestling world. ECW was such an obscenely huge change of pace for wrestling fans that we gravitated towards it like bees to honey. The amount of violence was something that no one this side of the Atlantic had ever bared witness to. It was Japanese-style Hardcore wrestling that just made eyes pop out and jaws drop. They, just as well as the WWE and even WCW, fell under the microscope of citizens rights groups. To such a degree that everyone in the wrestling community had themselves a good time really. Everyone was in the spotlight, but for all the wrong reasons. Why did they have a good time with it, you ask" Easy, because each one of those individuals knew that these outraged parents had not a foot to stand on. I know it sounds cruel to say people had a good time. But when you're on the crap end of the stick, it's funny to see the person holding the stick has a little bit of crap on themselves.

Now no matter how much you looked at these organizations, you couldn't, as a concerned parent, expect much from a large company with high priced lawyers to back them up. So what is the next possible course of action" Don't pick on the house; pick on the people inside the house. So that's exactly what was done. So many wrestlers were singled out and used as fodder that it almost seemed like there was a third inquisition on the horizon. The innocent were looked upon as guilty. Guys like Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, and Sabu just to name a few were singled out and openly crapped on for their irresponsible actions as entertainers. Newsflash folks.....they are wrestlers, not freaking Smokey the Bear. They have a persona that they use to bring their storylines across as vividly as possible. In as much, they are actors who have lines, sacrifice their bodies and bleed real blood. All of it done for the mere purpose of entertaining the public and earning their keep in society. So once again, all of these performers sorta just shrugged it off their shoulders and safeguarded themselves further by not condoning these backyard wrestling groups or what they do. Furthermore, WWE began putting disclaimers on all of their shows and home videos. You know those annoying little tidbits you get at the beginning of your WWE DVDs that you can't skip over, "Bodies have been broken...". God they annoy the crap outta me!

So what are these parents to do"! They just can't sit there and let their kids watch this stuff! Then let them go unsupervised to their buddy's house and let themselves get mashed into concrete and grass"! How irresponsible of them as parents to do such things"! C'mon folks, get with the program. Don't blame these other people for something that your kid did or still does. Why don't you do what our parents used to do to curb a teen's stupidity" Put the fear of god in them...or better yet sit and talk with them about what they want to accomplish. Then let them know that by doing these things, they risk the chance of not being able to do what they want to do in life. I don't know about many wrestlers in WWE or elsewhere but if there is a kid that wants to go into wrestling, they should first avoid a pro wrestling ring like the plague. There is nothing like a green guy in the ring who has done backyard stuff that many guys would want to get their hands on him big time. At least that has been my experience. It's done with the pretense of seeing how much this kid can take and dish out. There is no rest for the wicked as they say, and in wrestling the wicked barely blink.

If I had advice to offer any parent about how they should encourage their kids to stay away from this type of situation, here it is: I know it would be hard to do in some places and cases but try to get your kid involved in team sports. There is nothing like that kind of atmosphere to give him/her the necessary tools to begin to understand the importance of teamwork. You see, what happens inside a wrestling ring is not really an individual effort. Usually there are three people inside that ring and each of them are 99% of the time on the same page. You are just as responsible for the safety of the people in that ring as they are for your safety. Next, if wrestling is something they really want to try then see if their school has a wrestling team. That can help them greatly if this is a path they wish to follow. They'll get a better understanding of teamwork in an environment that's as close to pro wrestling as they could possibly get. Plus, the upside to it is that they at that point have begun the basics for mat wrestling and that is always a good thing. At the same time I must stress this one thing. It's not because of what's going on currently with the debate on steroids, but because it can hurt them more that they'll ever know. Make absolutely sure that your kids, while doing all of these things to help them get into wrestling, stay off of any kind of performance enhancing drugs. Or for that matter any kind of drug that isn't prescribed and/or monitored. Most of the time while all of this can be good for them, as to instil discipline and such, they will decide after sometime as to whether or not they want to pursue wrestling as a career. With school always being the most highly stressed priority, support for their decisions must always come.

There really is a lot more to this than what I have gone over. This is more than just a passing fad or the ever apparent excuse of "kids will be kids". The difference in this whole situation boils down to this: are you willing to let your kid leave your house and come back in a wheel chair never to walk again" Or is this something that you can work on as an adult and responsible parent to avoid such horrible thoughts from coming to life. As a parent I can tell you, I am never going to let my kid walk out the door without them knowing how much something that looks like so much fun can actually hurt them forever.

Till next time folks! Catch you on the top rope.

by Serafin Santiago Jr. --- [View Serafin Santiago Jr's Column Index]..





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