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Precious Memory

Once upon a time, I was a huge sports fan. I grew up in the era of Joe Namath on the Jets, Lee Mazzilli on the Mets, Bucky Dent on the Yankees, and the Islanders were awesome. But I also grew up with a dad who had very definite ideas on what girls did and didn’t do, and girls didn’t take auto shop at school, and they didn’t go to ball games. Admittedly, football was not my thing, and if Namath wasn’t playing, I wasn’t watching. But baseball was a god in our house every summer, and I watched pretty religiously. I had deep crushes on both Mazzilli and Dent, and deep resentment against the Yankees and Mets for trading away both my boys. I forgave the Mets, eventually, in favor of loyalty to a Long Island team, but never forgave the Yankees. Yes, to this day.

Anyway, as a result of my upbringing, I never went to a sports event. Ever. Until last November, when I took Aneira to the WWE. It’s one of the few things we connect on. Both the girls and I are huge fans of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, the Usos, and the New Day. The PIP wasn’t happy, as he doesn’t like wrestling, but he okayed Aneira’s going to this with me. Because I subscribe to the WWE Network, I had advance notice on ticket sales, and got to order tickets a week before they went on sale to the general public. At the time, Roman was known to come to the ring through the crowd, and I messed around on the World Arena website until I got front row seats right where he would come down. Front row seats are expensive, and this wasn’t something I’d be able to afford to do often, so I was going to make it count in case it never happened again. Aneira was in seventh heaven. We both wore Roman Reigns tees, she had a Roman Reigns ball cap on her head, and we were set and ready to go!

Our seats were ringside, right next to the announce table. We joked with the security guards, and all evening they kept telling us that Roman wasn’t there, wasn’t scheduled to fight, we weren’t going to see him. That was a little discouraging, as he was the main wrestler we wanted to see!

It was an awesome night, and I was shocked at how much my daughter already knew about wrestling in general, and specific wrestlers, other than the ones we both liked. I probably shouldn’t have been. She’s in school, after all, and what do school kids watch? WWE. And then they discuss it in detail the next day. I know this. I was a kid watching the WWE once, too, except it was the WWF then, and the stars were Rowdy Roddy Piper (RIP), Hulk Hogan, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. So I shouldn’t have been surprised.

We had a ball. Despite the disappointment that we weren’t going to see the one person we wanted to see, his cousins, the Usos, were there, and so was his best friend, Dean Ambrose. We hollered and screamed like lunatics, danced through the Usos theme song, had a blast. Dean’s fight was the last of the night, versus Kevin Owens. When the fight was over and the taping stopped, the Wyatt Family came out and ambushed Dean, and who came running to the rescue? None other than Roman. Not through the crowd, but from the ramp, so we didn’t get that experience, but after the rescue was done and Roman speared Bray Wyatt, the fight was over, and Roman came right to the barricade and called my daughter and I over. Oh. My. God. I looked around, thinking he was looking for someone else, and didn’t move. He smiled, looking right at me, held out his hand, and said “Come here!”

Definitely an OMG moment. We walked over and he took my hand, thanking us for coming and buying his merchandise. This would have been the perfect time to ask to take pictures with him, but our brains had gone to mush and were leaking out our ears, and we didn’t think to ask.

I knew he was huge; we’d seen him on tv, but the camera doesn’t do him any justice. In person, he is massive. If I were an idiot bent on causing trouble, I would not want to meet him in a dark alley. He is 265 pounds of solid muscle…and he has gentle hands. I doubt that he knew who we were, although we send messages to his text account regularly, and he generally answers when he has time, but wow, did he ever cap the night for us!!

Of course, after he left was when our brains started functioning again, and we realized we should have taken pictures, and that was a missed opportunity, but we were grinning like we’d never stop as we trooped out to the truck, and once we were in it, we squealed like two teenagers.

Two days later, we were able to see ourselves on TV and grin at each other again. I see now why people go to games and get rabid over their teams. There’s a whole atmosphere that doesn’t convey over a tv screen, even if you’re having a tailgate party or something like that. You have to go, at least once.

I’d love to go to the WWE again, the next time they come to town. I doubt I can, but oh, how I’d like to! The night–and the memory–was worth every single penny I spent to do it. The joy on my daughter’s face is not something I’ll ever forget.

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