I was taught that story is metaphor for life. I was told that wrestling matches tell stories. I've gone looking for that metaphor.

I've said about myself, "Like an X-ray on our innermost feelings, I look inward to the soul...Where wrestlers find the will to pursue their desire to the end of the line, to the human limit. Where lives are lived in intense states, and wrestlers struggle with how they feel as we all do. From inner contradictions springs passion and complexity, urging me on... to go the distance, to reach the end of the line, until wrestling says something to me about my life."

If I'd known then, what I know now... You can't know wrestling that way. I used to think wrestling was about feeling so much you couldn't keep it in, because you had to get it out. Wrestling isn't about testing yourself. It's not about pushing your capacities to feel, or making life hard for yourself. When I was a child, I knew love. I didn't try to understand it, or myself. Somewhere along the way, I lost that sense of acceptance. I think my journey as a wrestling fan has been about finding it again. Like a young man who's never been in love, I wanted to feel everything. When love peaks, burns and is over, a young man finds out who he truly is. You wonder what it is you really care about. You need to be still and know.

Some wrestlers taught me how to care about something I love. Hokuto, by having her baby. The Destroyer's simplicity. Jumbo's "OHHH!" to the crowd. Ohtani's comic performance in 3/16/96. Santo/Casas' 7/87 celebration, still the most perfect match I've seen. Momoe's smile and pervasive joy. Ozaki and Kansai hugging at the end of THUNDERQUEEN. Joshi, through teaching me about love, friendship and camaraderie. Bull Nakano for being sincere and honest. Akira Taue for becoming a great wrestler. They were the wise and the strong... Wrestling isn't about finding something new, or making a difference, it's about what you've always known, since you were a kid, that it's good to laugh, smile and be happy.

These wrestlers are great. They're ordinary and no one special. They'd like to be modest. They want to be common. I consider them extraordinary, because they've made me feel great things. What they've done is stir the passion in me. There's no point feeling such great emotion if you don't do something with it. These wrestlers taught me I need to pursue my desire with greater will, care about my friends and family with greater love, find more of a voice in my own work, and do so with great confidence. Not because life can only be felt at the end of the line, but because that's the person I am.

Wrestling is about the better part of our nature. Sometimes the worst, but I'm here to say one last time, when wrestling makes you feel good, it's an appeal to the better part of you. The best thing about wrestling is talking about it with friends. That's the part you play. So I would say, do your part and make everyone feel good about wrestling. Give others enjoyment, too. That's when you've really learnt something.

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©2001 by the author