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Getting ready to lay the ‘Smack Down’

I was in the third grade when World Championship Wrestling visited Montgomery. I had always watched wrestling with my dad and was captivated by the music, the colors, the larger than life characters, the conflict and the sheer pageantry of the industry.

It was good against bad. It was right versus wrong. And if you were a little Hulkamaniac like I was, it was being reminded about training, saying your prayers and taking your vitamins. But more than anything, it was what I did with my dad.

We watched the old WWF Superstars and Saturday Night Main Event when it occasionally aired on NBC.

But we weren’t particular about which company. We enjoyed WCW Saturday Night just as much as we did the local Continental Wrestling Federation. It was just what we liked to do together.

On every show, I had my favorites. In WCW, it was Sting. And in the third grade, I was actually going to get to see Sting live. WCW was set to visit the Civic Center in Montgomery and my dad had decided to get us tickets. I was so excited. I even got a piece of white poster board and made my own sting sign. I drew him out on the board. Spiked blonde hair. Face paint. Big smile. It was Sting as best as an unartistic third grader could draw him.

On the day of the show, I had too much energy. I could hardly sit still at school from the anticipation. I let my mind wander all throughout the day.

Some time during the course of the day, I decided it was a good idea to tell a friend a joke I’d heard.

I knew I probably shouldn’t say it because when I overheard my mom tell it to my dad, she had whispered. So I knew I wasn’t supposed to hear it in the first place. But my dad laughed. So it had to be funny, even if I didn’t understand what it meant.

I wrote the joke down for my friend as best as I could remember it. I am pretty sure it was the first time I ever cussed in any form. And, because all third graders are just snitches looking for somebody they can flip on, he took the paper to the teacher. I begged him not to. I knew what would happen.

The teacher sent me to the principal. The principal called my parents. I remember that I got grounded from going to see Sting and the rest of the WCW stars at the Montgomery Civic Center.

Time passed by quickly as it always does. Over the years my dad stopped watching wrestling as the shows moved to weeknights at an hour that was way too late for him to stay up and watch given that he had to be up at 3:30 every morning. But I kept watching.

Still, I never did get my live wrestling show. WCW came and went that year. And my opportunity never came again.

But, barring unforeseen circumstances, it will come next year. I, along with a group of friends, secured a Wrestlemania ticket last weekend. Wrestlemania 27 will be in Atlanta.

And I plan to be there, making some kind of amends for the show I lost out on in the third grade. And, odds are, even the “Showcase of the Immortals” will do nothing to touch the experience of watching wrestling on a lazy Saturday afternoon with my dad.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times