AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
The column below was written in 1999. The place was Columbine High School, Since then, there has been Binghamton, NY, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech.
Now, Aurora, CO will be known not for being a quiet suburban town, but for being the site of the largest mass shooting in American history. This time it wasn’t a school, but a movie theater, a place where people go to escape their lives for a few hours, little different than hundreds of wrestling shows we’ve all been to over the years.
Instead, there was no escape…not for 70 who were shot, with 14 killed.
What I wrote on April 24, 1999 in pretty much true today. Change a few names and wrestling references…and it could have been written about Aurora.
Please take the time today to think about how we can deal with those in our society who are in need of mental health care, screening, and rehabilitation.
And don’t forget to live each day as if it were your last. For too many people, July 20, 2012 was.
Of mountain tops
with him on top…
Lemon yellow sun…
Arms raised in a V…
Dead lay in pools of maroon below…
Daddy didn’t give attention…
To the fact
that mommy didn’t care…
King Jeremy the wicked ruled his world…
Jeremy spoke in class today…
Jeremy spoke in class today…
Clearly I remember
pickin’ on the boy…
Seemed a harmless little f$#k..
But we unleashed a lion…
Gnashed his teeth
and bit the recess lady’s breast…
How could I forget…
He hit me with a surprise left….
My jaw left hurt
And dropped wide open..
Just like the day…
Like the day
I heard Daddy didn’t give affection…
And the boy was something mommy wouldn’t wear…
King Jeremy the wicked
ruled his world…
Jeremy spoke in class today…
Jeremy spoke in class today…”
(c) Jeremy, Ten, Pearl Jam
I will be writing about Rick Rude, apparently another death in the wrestling industry from somas, according to a ESPN report. But that will have to wait until the next AS I SEE IT column.
This isn’t a day for writing about wrestling, or anything associated with it. This article is for Fritz Capp’s Danny; Jessica, Jordan, and Joey Chimel, the children of Tony Chimel (the ring announcer on RAW and HEAT), Greg and Patty Farrell’s Mikeala; and the many children of friends of mine I’ve met over the years.
The deaths of 14 children and one adult this week at Columbine High School in suburban Littleton, Colorado overshadows anything in wrestling.
The names of Cassie Bernall, Steven Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Kechter, Dan Mauser, Dan Rohrbough, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez; and Dave Sanders, a heroic teacher who saved the lives of countless students while mortally wounded, as well as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (the suspects in the murders)…all are a part of an American tragedy that needs to remain a part of our minds for a long, long time to come.
15 lives ended in a matter of a few insane minutes.
Do you think such a tragedy can’t happen to you?
Let me get personal. Let’s take the day I’m writing this article…. where I work.
I work as a counselor for a local campus of a national chain of computer schools. Today we had a situation between three students, involving a romantic triangle that the counseling staff had to resolve. What’s to say that if the husband (who came into our school to deal with the matter) had been armed, a similar tragedy might not have occurred?
Who’s to blame for the Columbine killings?
It’s not just the music of Marilyn Manson, or KFMDM, or Ministry, or any other group. It’s not that easy.
Nor it is just violence on TV, “real life” or cartoon style. It isn’t just TV/movie dramas, professional sports, or sports entertainment. It’s not that easy, either.
Nor is it teenage children dressing up like Goths, or wearing black lipstick. That’s not it, either.
What is to blame? A society that doesn’t listen to its children. A society that ignored the fact that a group of children were clearly alienated from their peer group at school…and found no outlet for that alienation.
What is to blame? A society that doesn’t provide support services within its high schools, its neighborhoods, and communities for those with this degree of alienation…for those children who feel alone and without a way to express their depression, fear, and anxiety.
But it isn’t only the school systems of communities that are to blame. So are parents.
I can remember as far back as my own time in high school in the 1970s in a upper-middle class suburb of Philadelphia, when parents routinely gave their children $20 (the figure is much higher today) and told them to get lost. I know of cases where parents seemed shocked when their children later became addicted to drugs, alcohol, or became involved in criminal activity.
“I don’t understand this…You must be wrong. It can’t be my child.” they’d always say. The fact is that they had NO idea who in hell their own flesh and blood were. They’d never listened to them. They’d never set limits for their children. They’d never put forth value systems for their children to live by.
For all of you reading this article: Take time for your children. Take that time today. Take it tonight. Tell them you love them. Make it a priority in your life to make damned sure a day doesn’t ever go by when they don’t know that. The killings at Columbine High School once again tragically prove the truth that we and those we love aren’t promised tomorrow.
Most importantly, LISTEN to what your children are telling you. Find out what they think. Find out what they are experiencing. tell them what you think. Communicate to them what your own religious, personal, or moral values are. Don’t assume, however, that if their values are different than your own, that they are wrong.
Begin the process of communication, if it hasn’t been going on already for years. Because it’s only through changing the life of one child at a time that we will have any chance in preventing future Columbines from happening.
“Try to forget this…
try to erase this…
from the blackboard…”
Until next time….
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