Thursday, 29 March 2012

Bobby Between The Ropes #2 - Accentuate The Positive

Well first of all I originally wanted to make this little entry a weekly thing, recording everything that happened during my wrestling training each week and then giving me a fun thing to look back on as I remember each and every detail. I did the same thing for my first year at college but then I remembered even I don’t have that much free time and I think I’d only just end up repeating myself. This entry has been in my head for a little while now and I seem to be reading an awful lot of online entries from Irish wrestlers such as Sean South and Danny Deans so I decided I’d offer up my own perspective. I haven’t accomplished anything yet so how about reading for no good reason at all?

I don’t know what it is about society these days but it seems that every day we’re being taught that negativity is the way to go. Accentuate the negative and bask in the dark shadow of cynicism. Nearly every day when I actually listen to the radio I’m hearing about all the tragedies that are happening every day and seeing the same headlines on newspapers and magazines. I don’t mean to mock these legitimate bad things that are happening all the time but there are some days I just want to say “enough is enough” at whoever is writing all these tragedies. It’s getting to the stage where I feel like I’m listening to recaps of every soap opera in the country whenever the news is on. Even when my parents are having dinner it’s always talk about who’s dying, who’s in financial trouble, who’s being a dickhead. I’ve actually gotten into the habit of training them to keep that stuff quiet when I’m around by sticking my headphones in my ears whenever they even mention something negative. It works surprisingly well just in case your parents are the same. These days we’re taught to accentuate the negative in every situation. If someone gives us a gift we always say “you shouldn’t have” or “I can’t accept this”, or if we hear good news we always brace ourselves because we’ve been taught that bad news can’t be too far behind the corner.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this but don’t worry, I’m getting there. As a writer who knows a thing or two about telling good stories, you know that stories do need darkness in them. Life without negativity would be boring. We do need something to fight and something to overcome so that the happy ending means something. Same thing with any half decent wrestling feud/match. But that also goes the other way around since life with all negativity in it would be even more painful and excruciating than if it was all sunshine and rainbows. And yet it’s like everywhere I look I’m reading the same sob story over and over again from different famous people about how they had to claw their way up from the brink of the abyss with no one supporting them, everyone telling them they’d never make it, how their life was so crappy, yadda yadda yadda. There’s thousands of people out there who literally tell the same story. Again, I’m not imputing what these people may or may have not gone through in their lives. I’m just rolling my eyes at how they’re actually where they are if every second of their pre-fame lives were as dark and angsty as they make them out to be. I have to laugh listening to “This Song Would Be Better” by Mike Aaron James who is a unique creature known as a non-angsty musician where he’s pretty much poking fun at the fact that he’s had a good life and a good upbringing and, by the laws of music, that means he can’t write good songs because he has nothing to angst about. I saw a similar thing in Krissy Vaine’s “Vainety Fair” column entitled “Who Believes In You”. I see the same above attitude in wrestling with constant stories where wrestlers talk about how people yelled at them they’d never make it, they were good for nothing and couldn’t do it. Perhaps these musicians and wrestlers are forgetting some of the positivity that actually went on in their lives in favour of all the dark angsty stuff that society has taught us all to embrace.

Now for my wrestling tidbits – I don’t believe in negativity. Well, at least not too much of it. In my book, you accept your mistakes, work on them and move on. When I was training, I never faced any severe negativity. I was terrified when I started that I’d have to endure some Bill DeMott clone yelling in my face calling me good for nothing and how I’d never get anywhere. Well, it’s been eight months at the Fight Factory and I’ve yet to have any kind of experience like that. There were times when I’ll admit I had a good training session and came out of it thinking I knew it all, then for the next one to completely quash that illusion. There was one session back in October that was probably the worst one I ever had to go through and I think my pet expression “biggest trainwreck since the Titanic” would be fitting here. I even strongly considered not going back because of how much of an ass I made out of myself there. But at the end of the crowner of screw-ups that day, Phil took me aside and said “everyone has a bad day. I’ve seen you when you’re on form, you’ve got good ideas so don’t let this get you down”, somehow I managed to be in a good mood when I left that day. And the next week I went to training on my birthday and got to have what remains my favourite match to this date. A guy on his first day then even came up to me and congratulated me on it. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

As training went on I managed to become a little more dependable in terms of working in the ring. To me, it didn’t matter how the first 75% of the day went and if I could finish the session off with a good match then I’d leave the Fight Factory happy. That’s the mentality I keep to this day. And I’ve still never had to endure a verbal smackdown that would probably cripple me for life. My trainers know how to teach, if we make mistakes they don’t punish us by ordering us to do it ten times over. They don’t teach us to fear what they’ll do if we get something wrong. One session we were learning how to do some proper acrobatic stuff and I got to show off the one or two things I learned from my one month in gymnastics. Myself and Bull Riley managed to do the first part of the springboard arm drag that you see Tyson Kidd and Kelly Kelly doing regularly and Jordan pulled us aside and told us we’d be something big one day. Another time came at the end of the year when we’d gotten into the habit of developing our own moves during the lunch break and testing them out on each other, and we got to show the trainers everything. When we were all done, Jordan looked like he’d slept with a wire hanger in his mouth. Seriously, it’s moments like that I remember when I think of memorable training sessions. I don’t think of the umpteen times I’ve botched moves or screwed up. I remember my first match with Oliver on a show where the poor guy worked with an injured knee and we were worried we’d put on a bad match. But people who had seen it came up to us and told us it was good. It’s stupid to expect us to be Punk/Cena or Rock/Austin on our first show (though I will say I was more entertained than by anything Triple H has done since 2004). At the end of the day we had our first match on a show and it went well that I can proudly show it to anyone who asks to see me wrestle.

So on my last note, I’ll leave you addressing all the “whatevers” in training right now whether it’s wrestling, music or anything else at all. Don’t dwell too much on the mistakes or screw ups. By all means recognise your flaws and mistakes but work on them, improve them and move on. Don’t mope that you can’t do a proper springboard moonsault DDT on your fourth training session. Focus on what you can do. On my first day the only thing I really did right was a flying crossbody but that was enough to get me pumped for my second day. Take criticism only when it’s constructive and allow yourself to be positive. Don’t go red when someone gives you a compliment (as I learned when Justin Shape told me I had a good training session once and I nearly fainted with the shock), take it graciously and look forward to the next one. Hope you had fun reading this entry for no good reason. Oh and you’re welcome ;)

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