There’s a joke from South Park that says there’s only one road through Canada. If you get on this highway, it will take you from province to province, hitting every major city. I found this idea loopy, until I found myself hearing the same directions repeatedly from my comrade.
“You’re going to take the 17, and when you exit, make a slight left…”
If seventeen wasn’t my favorite number, I’m sure I’d be pissed when Jordan bellowed it from his lungs. Yes, Thursday, we set sail from Los Angeles to the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix. Six hour drive there, numerous speed traps, and an abundance of Burger Kings and payday advance places. One would think I wound up in a nightmare, but this was home for me. A comfortable room loaded with alcohol, cookies, and HDNet provided entertainment, although we were barely there. We saw three wrestling shows and attended three WWE AXXESS sessions. I have an assortment of autographs that I would have never guessed. Probably my fondest conquests would be meeting Jim Cornette and hearing Dusty Rhodes compliment my belt before affixing his signature. If I was the type who believed in eBay, I’d be $3000 richer at the moment, because, er, I was there. The only bummer I could think of is that I left with one shirt; WWE didn’t stock the merchandise I sought.
WrestleMania XXVI was my reason for invading the desert, and as a spectacle, it was on point. I could bitch that the show mainly got over in spite of the matches not living up to the booking, but I will not. I had a good time. I had my best friend and 70,000 other friends along for the ride. I’ve long wanted to visit a top-tier football stadium, and University of Phoenix Stadium fits that bill admirably. Speaking of which, all of the sports facilities in Phoenix were beautiful. Chase Field. US Airways Center. Jobing.com Arena. The Spaceship in the Desert. Never before have I been so mesmerized by architecture, but sporting venues have been my passion for the longest time. I couldn’t believe that I was standing at the place where the Yankees got crushed in 2001, or where my beloved Patriots were denied immortality. We took a drive to Arizona State, and I saw Sun Devil Stadium. I could see myself living in Tempe or Glendale.
My thoughts on the show are jaded by rose tinted glasses. It was my first WrestleMania, I was delirious from the excitement, and…it was good. Parking wasn’t fun, and I barely noted the timing when I heard the military do a fly-by. My mind was racing; I couldn’t miss this show for anything. Seats were closer than I expected, the stage was magnificent, and the roof couldn’t figure out if it wanted to be open or clsoed. Marks filled the site, people chanted, booed, and really made it fun to be a wrestling fan. My crowning achievement was seeing my favorite wrestler dance one last time in the main event. Shawn Michaels has been my favorite since I started watching sports entertainment, even though he was injured for the infancy of my fanhood. Seeing him wrestle the Undertaker in a rematch from last year’s classic was…refreshing. I didn’t care who won or lost, because I knew I was watching a good match. People around the world had to have felt what I felt, but I was there. I had my comrade standing next to me as history unfolded. Fireworks, majesty, spectacle, the stuff dreams are made from, along with dairy byproducts. At the end, Shawn was defiant and met his end via the Undertaker. If that’s the last image I have before I die, then I could give up on the committed life and die smiling. Only once in a lifetime can a person see a clear picture of the past, present, and future.
And with that, the happy part of my life came to a close, as I had to return home to California. The minute I got on the freeway, I became depressed. I thought about Pippa, Skylar, salsa, grad school, unfinished business, and a single tear left my eye. It’s like the episode of House when Amber died and he didn’t want to live because he knew Wilson would hate him. I would have given the world to stay in Arizona and avoid returning to 21/22. I needed an escape. Being a coward is much better than being a hero, because at least a coward can accept the status quo and live with the ramifications. Skibbedebebop. Much later.
Current Track – Shawn Michaels “Sexy Boy”