Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Impact of The Ultimate Warrior

I woke up this morning to seven text messages, a missed call, and a Facebook message, all communicating the same message: The Ultimate Warrior died last night. Honestly, it is kind of a surreal moment. Wrestlers are this weird mix of actors and professional athletes, and despite wrestling being fake, they seem more real than either counterpart. When Tom Hanks dies, he'll be remembered for iconic roles like Forrest Gump. When Derek Jeter dies, he'll be remembered for playing the game "the right way." We will remember the things they did, but not the people that they are.

Wrestlers feel different. Wrestlers are different. Steve Austin has said that the best characters are just are guys' personalities turned up to 11, and that's what makes wrestling feel so real. It's not like being a fan of an athlete or actor, it's being a fan of a person.This is incredibly lame, but I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had where I have remarked that I think I could be friends with such and such pro wrestler, because he seems like a good dude. Writing that sentence makes me feel like an idiot, but it's honest, and honestly, I have never thought that about a professional athlete or actor.  Those people are fake; wrestlers are real.

The Ultimate Warrior was a hero to me growing up. Looking back, nothing he said made any sense, but all I cared about was that he had big muscles, face paint, and did everything with 100% intensity. He was basically a comic book hero who came to real life. For kids, it is damn near impossible to be any cooler than that.

And up until a couple years ago, The Ultimate Warrior had faded away. He was one of the few guys who stayed in the shadows despite the fame and fortune that he made through wrestling. But he finally decided to reemerge through a blog, Twitter, and most importantly, YouTube videos. I'm glad he did, because I found out that The Ultimate Warrior was not mild-mannered Jim Hellwig (or Warrior, due to a legal name change) in his time away from the ring. This guy was The Ultimate Warrior 24/7. Every time he came up with an Injection of Inspiration, my brother and I would immediately talk about it with each other, because it was always one of the most amazing things we had ever witnessed. I get an adrenaline rush every time I watch these videos, with these two being my favorites.

We got to see inside The Ultimate Warrior. It wasn't always good, but it was always real. I am happy that Warrior got one last chance to address his fans; after being gone for nearly 20 years, it was good that he and his fans had one last moment before he passed away. His words will live on and inspire me every day. With that being said, it's time to strap on my running shoes and go kick some ass.

Wrestling may be fake, but his impact on people's lives is very real. Thanks, Warriorman.

1 comment:

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