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EP279: Finding New Purpose By Joining the Army in my 40's and Are Pro Wrestlers Athletes?

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2022 3:05 am

EP279: Finding New Purpose By Joining the Army in my 40's and Are Pro Wrestlers Athletes?

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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April 26, 2022 3:05 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Ken Scar tells us how he decided to join the army during the War on Terror and how he left with an appreciation for life and the art of photography. Riley Evans, sports writer and CEO of RealPodcasting.com, tells us the real story about professional wrestling. 

Support the show (https://www.ouramericanstories.com/donate)

 

Time Codes:

00:00 - Finding New Purpose By Joining the Army in my 40's

37:00 - Are Pro Wrestlers Athletes?

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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And that's how I would spend most of my afternoons, pretending and imagining that one day I would be able to tell our own stories. Listen to Out of the Shadows, hosted by Patty Rodriguez and Eric Galindo on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by Coca-Cola, proud sponsor of the My Coutura Podcast Network.

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Up next, a story out of Clemson, South Carolina. Today, the oldest a person can be if they wish to join the Army is 35. But for a short time during the War on Terror, one could join in their 40s. Our next story comes to us from one of these men who joined late in life.

Here's Ken Skar. My whole life I was an artist. I was the exact opposite of someone you'd think who would join the Army. And I grew up in the 80s and 90s, which was a very peaceful time for our country. We weren't really at war. The military was what other people did.

I never even considered it. I always wanted to be in the arts, be a writer, and I ended up working in theater and television for a long time. I was a scenic artist, like for Broadway plays and television shows.

We're the ones who paint the sets for plays, drops, and the murals that are in the backgrounds of television shows. Yeah, I was always the art kid in high school. I was the nerdy little guy.

This was back in the 80s, like I said. When I was in high school, I took art class like two or three times a day. That was sort of my refuge, because I wasn't one of the popular kids, and I got bullied by the football players, like all of us nerds did back then.

So art was my refuge, and so I was always artistically, creatively inclined. And that's not the typical type of person that joins the military. When I was growing up, the people that joined the military were like rednecks and people that couldn't get into college. At least that was the perception, and that was my perception.

I'm ashamed to say I had the wrong perception, like a lot of people back in those days in America. What happened was I was in show business. I lived in San Diego. I was working at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, and then I went into television.

There was a lot of television that happens in San Diego. And then me and I got married, and my wife and I had kids, and the cost of living in San Diego is so high that we decided to move back to our hometown in Colorado. And I started my own painting company, but then my marriage fell apart very suddenly.

What made you want to become an artist? And it kind of sent me off the rails, and I got to a really low point in my life. And I started looking into options basically to kill myself. You know, I looked into buying a gun and shooting myself. I even went to a gun store and looked at guns for the first time in my life. I never even thought of owning a gun until then. You know, the thought just kind of hit me of my kids moving on in life without their dad and knowing their dad had done something like that.

So I'm like, well, maybe there's another way I could go out that's maybe more noble. And so I actually looked into the foreign legion. There's still a foreign legion, believe it or not. And that sort of led me into the American military, looking into the military.

And at the time, this was 2009, so we were at the height of the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The army had raised its maximum age to 42. It's back down, I think, to 35 now.

They just raised it up to that for maybe a year or two. Most people my age that were 40 that tried to join back then didn't make it through MEPS, which is where you go to get analyzed if you can even be a soldier. You know, most people my age had back problems or knee problems, and they're like, you know, would get denied. But I passed all the tests, and so the army's like, come on in, be a soldier, Scar. And I said, well, I'd like to be a photojournalist. They're like, oh, there's only like a few of those in the whole army.

There's no spots for that. And I said, well, thanks anyway, and I left. Then they called me back a couple months later because I had scored really high on the ASVAB.

Sort of like the SAT that you take when you graduate high school where they sort of determine how smart you are and what you know and if you're smart enough to join and be a soldier. So anyway, I scored really high on that test, and so they called me back a couple months later and said, hey, you still want to be a photojournalist? You know, a spot opened up. I said, okay, I'll do it. So that's what led to me being in the army at 40.

It was basically a weird kind of half a suicide attempt. I like to tell people. When most people ask me, I say, I just wanted to serve, you know, and that window opened up for people my age, and I kind of jumped through it, and that was also part of it. When I went to basic training, they did give me a lot of grief. Old man Scar, you know, and my name itself, my drill sergeant just loved my name, Scar.

S-C-A-R is my last name, right? They were like, bring your pride over here, Scar. We know you just can't wait to be king. The whole Lion King thing, you know, when I first bussed into basic training, you know, they put you out on buses. It's just like in the movies, man. You're all a bunch of fresh-faced, you know, ignorant, don't know what you're in for in your civilian clothes. You get on a bus, and they take you onto the base, and the bus parks, and a drill sergeant jumps on the bus and just starts yelling at you, just like in the movies.

And this drill sergeant jumped on our bus with his hat, you know, and his uniform just completely squared away, yelling at us. And then his eyes locked on me, and he looks at me, and he's like, you look seasoned, he says. He says, how old are you? And I said, I'm 40, drill sergeant. And he says, 40? I'm 40, and I'm about to retire. He says, if I had to do this all over again at this age, I'd cut my own nuts off.

That was my first five minutes in the military. And you've been listening to Ken Skar tell his story, and what a story it is. For all purposes, he was just a meandering artist who struck up a decent gig in San Diego, doing production arts for TV sets and for theater. But his marriage dissolves, and then everything goes sideways, and he's contemplating suicide, but doesn't take it all the way. Praise God. And then he finds the military and that sergeant.

And what a funny scene that must have been for him, certainly not the sergeant. When we come back, more of Ken Skar's story, here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns. But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to OurAmericanStories.com and click the donate button.

Give a little, give a lot. Go to OurAmericanStories.com and give. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year, and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot, and I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So, if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try all free clear mega packs. All free clear mega packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs, which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So, the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that all free clear mega packs, they have your back.

Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. And we continue with our American stories and with Ken Skar. When we last left off, Ken had decided to join the Army in order to, in his own words, kill himself after his marriage fell apart. He did this in his 40s, making him much older than most of the recruits and subject to some jokes at his expense.

Let's continue with the story. I got grief from the minute, literally the minute I arrived at basic training. But then when they had to run with me, I usually had the fastest run time in the Army and pretty much in any of the services. If you have a good PT score, physical fitness score, that gives you more respect than almost anything. You get immediate respect if you're in shape. In the Army, when I was in, the physical fitness test was how many push-ups you could do in two minutes, how many sit-ups you could do in two minutes, how fast you could run two miles, right?

I could run two miles in about 12 and a half minutes. That was enough to pretty much beat any other soldier in my unit most of the time. As soon as they saw I was in shape, that kind of gained me some respect.

And then when they saw what I could do with the camera, that also got me respect. Every unit I went to, and I wasn't in that many units, but I had to earn respect as being an older guy, and I usually did. We were in a bay with 60 other recruits. All the other recruits in my bay were 18, 20, maybe 21.

I went to basic training at Fort Benning. It was one of the hardest three months of my life. It was the mental part. It was the dealing with all the stupid idiocy that comes with being with 60 young men and living with 60 young men in a room for weeks and weeks at a time. So much ridiculousness happens, and as an older man, it was very hard to just get through that part of it and just keeping myself from strangling one of these kids that whole time. It was just like in the movies. It's designed to make young men do stupid things, and they do.

They do, and they did. I was just like, don't you see? They're trying to make you act like this, and now you're acting like this. Sneaking out of the bay in the middle of the night to go across the street, because in basic training, they take away everything. They take away your phones. They take away sweets. They take away coffee, cigarettes.

You don't get any of that stuff. Some of these recruits that I was with, going a month without a Snickers bar was too much for them, so they snuck out of the bay across the street in the middle of the night to where there were some vending machines and bought a bunch of candy and chips and tried to sneak back into the bay with them. Of course, the drill sergeants caught them, and so we all got woken up at 3 a.m. that night. We all had to wake up, and they smoked us, and that means when they make us do push-ups and sit-ups and all these other physical activities nonstop for an hour as punishment, because when one person in the Army messes up, the entire unit gets punished, and that was hard to deal with. That was a hard three months to get through, let me tell you.

I got through it, and I couldn't believe it. Graduating basic training is one of the proudest moments of my life at 40 years old. My gig in the Army was I was a 46 Quebec, which is a photojournalist, or a combat camera, they call us, and we kind of act as public relations. We also like to tell the story of soldiers. That was the main job, was telling the story of soldiers and what they do and trying to bring them deserved recognition. It was a really cool gig because when I was in Afghanistan, for instance, I got to go see all the different things soldiers do. I wasn't just stationed in one combat outpost or one forward operating base. I got to go all over Regional Command East, which was the area of operation that I was in. I got to go on air assaults and Black Hawk helicopters. I got to go on transportation missions with transportation units driving across the country. I got to go on foot patrols with scout units. I even got to spend a day with John McCain when he came to visit. So it was a big variety of things I got to do, which was something a lot of people would never imagine you could do if you joined the Army.

So we deployed in August of 2011, and my first unit was to forward operating base Tillman. I jumped out of the chopper. There was green smoke going off on the landing zone. I jumped out with all my equipment and my rucksack, and I could hear the.50 caliber machine guns going off just over my right shoulder. You could hear machine guns going off. And that was intense, and I set it under my breath. Dang, that's intense. And the soldier that had come to pick me up, he was like, what's intense?

Because he'd been there for six months. And I said, that machine gun going off up there, that's intense. And he's like, you know, those are our guys shooting. And I said, yeah, but they're shooting at someone, right?

They're shooting at someone. The soldiers that had been there were completely desensitized. He's like, yeah, whatever. But to me it was like, holy cow, what have I gotten myself into? I'm literally in a war zone. And that's the first time it really hit me, like, what have you done, dude?

What have you done? And then the next day I mustered with the unit that was there. They were going out on a foot patrol to patrol outside the base. There was a place where they had been getting shot at, mortar rounds. So they were going to go to this poo, point of origin, where these mortars had been being fired at the base. So we were going to walk out the gates of the base, out into the lands outside the base, and through the little villages out there until we got to this point of origin to see what was going on, assess the situation.

So we mustered before dawn in the dark, and the platoon leader, which was I think a second lieutenant, he gathered everyone around and said, okay, guys, we take fire every time we go out there, so just keep your heads on a swivel, be ready for anything. And I'm standing there thinking, how the hell did I get here? I'm a 40 years, I'm a painter.

What am I doing here, you know? It was way too easy to get there. I just got online and looked up how to join the military, and less than a year later, I'm in Afghanistan. I'm about to go out on my first mission outside the wire. I had my full kit on, which is all the body armor you have to wear. I had my M4, which is the weapons they give us. As a military photographer, we have all the same equipment as any other soldier.

And then plus that, we have our cameras hanging around our shoulders to take pictures of what happens. I walked out the gates that morning, and I was just scared to death. I was scared to death. But I could not do it at that point.

I did it. I walked out with them. And within a couple hours, I felt a lot more comfortable because I realized these soldiers that I was with knew what they were doing. And if anything happened, I would probably be okay.

They would know what to do. And so I just started taking pictures of them and walking through these amazing mountainous regions where we were. And then later in that day, sure enough, we got ambushed. We took fire, and we all had to dive behind rocks and return fire. And I earned my combat action badge on my very first mission outside the wire that day. We were out there for almost three days, I think. We spent the night on the top of a ridge. A lot of things happened during that mission, but that was my very first mission outside the wire. By the time I got back to Fob Tillman, I was a different person.

I was a soldier. And what a story Ken Skaar is telling. And imagine having to try and win the respect of a bunch of 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds when you're 40. Usually it's the other way around and then having to live with them and all the nonsense.

We all love teenage boys, but my goodness, when you're in your 40s and you have to live in bunk beds with them, days and weeks and months at a time, well, this is a new test of will and character. And it turns out this was a formative experience. In Ken Skaar's life, he gets deployed to a war zone. What have you done, man? he asked of himself. And then that first mission outside the wire.

Three days. And he said it best. By the time I got back to the Fob, I was a soldier. And by the way, any man who served and then gone into combat has had the same experience. And it doesn't mean people who served who didn't go into combat aren't essential. But there's something about combat. As Winston Churchill said in our great Churchill piece, that bullet whizzing by your head, well, that's when you feel most alive.

When we come back, more of this remarkable piece of storytelling, Ken Skaar's story here on Our American Stories. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare.

Helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop. But for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot.

And I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin. Which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs.

Which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes. Just know that all free clear mega packs, they have your back.

Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. And we continue with our American Stories and Ken Skars story. Ken joined the Army late in life in his 40s after spending years working as an artist. After graduating basic training, Ken would become a 46 Quebec or a photojournalist. And was deployed overseas where he took many photographs of our troops in action.

Sometimes under fire himself. Let's continue with the story. The photographs turned out pretty good. I got a lot of them.

A lot of them got picked up all over the world. I got some good shots of our guys out there. As a photographer it's always the ones you don't get that kill you. When we got ambushed, I hid behind a rock with a couple of other soldiers and they started returning fire.

And I got some shots of them which weren't very good. But if I had to turn my camera just to the left of me, one of our guys had a SAW 249 which is an automatic machine gun. And he was like just opening up down this riverbed at the enemy.

Just total Rambo stuff. And I just stood there and looked at him like, wow, that's really cool. And I didn't think to turn my camera and take some pictures of him. And I regret that to this day because those would have been award-winning photos if I had just thought of that.

And years later I always think back. I'm a much better photographer now than I was then. I didn't know photography when I first got to Afghanistan. I didn't know how to work the cameras.

The Army gives us these really great Nikon professional cameras with all the lenses. And I sort of learned as I went while I was over there that if I could go back now I would take much better pictures. But as it was, my pictures turned out pretty good.

The composition was good. And I was surprised because as military photographers, military journalists, all our content is public domain. It belongs to the American public.

And media outlets know that. So they know where to find our stuff if they're looking for photos of a particular thing or if they need a photo for a certain story. So my photos almost immediately started getting picked up by USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post, you name it. I was amazed because also as military photographers we can go places that civilian photographers can't go.

And my stuff still gets picked up. I still find my photographs on websites or friends will call me or text me like, hey Scar, is this your photo? And I was like, holy cow, it is my photo.

You know, an AP. It's amazing the places my content went. So that was kind of cool. One of my most famous photos was when I went to Oregon E on that first mission before they flew me to FOB Tillman. I had a couple days at FOB Oregon E, which is a weird name for a place.

I still don't know why it was named that. We had a howitzer crew there, which is howitzer triple seven cannons, which are these giant weapons that can send around. I don't know, hundreds of miles with pinpoint accuracy.

Right. These guys have to take into account the curvature of the earth when they aim their weapon. I had a couple of days at this base, so I went down to just take some shots of these these cannon crews firing. One of my shots, I captured the flame, the ball of flame that comes out of these cannons that the naked eye can't see. And the ball of flame just perfectly framed the soldier that was pulling the lanyard to fire the cannon. And I was like, oh, that's pretty cool. You know, so I went back to the office and uploaded the picture and it got picked up all over the place immediately.

I didn't even realize how how unique that photo was. I had the U.S. Army photo of the year was the easiest photo I ever took. I was in a Chinook flying from Bagram to Jalalabad. And Jalalabad is where the Khyber Pass is, big city.

I don't know how far the flight was, a couple of hours maybe. But we got in this big Chinook helicopter and the load master, which is the soldier that's in charge of loading everything, whether that's people or equipment, into the aircraft and making sure it's locked down, strapped in. She saw I had a camera and she sent me at the very back of the Chinook. And we took off and we're flying, you know, between Bagram and Jalalabad are these incredible mountains. It's the Himalayan, it's the roots of the Himalayan mountains. You know, if you follow them up far enough, you get to Mount Everest. So there are these incredible mountain ranges that we're flying over, just beautiful. And I don't know, we're like 30 minutes into the flight and she presses a button and lowers the tailgate of this Chinook helicopter mid-flight.

So we can look out and see all the mountains as we're flying over them. And then she walks out and sits on the edge of the tailgate. You know, she's like strapped in, but she like dangles her feet over the edge of this tailgate and just kind of watches. There was another Chinook following us and she was sort of watching the Chinook and looking at the scenery as we're flying over it. And I just kind of turned and like took a shot of her sitting there. And it was the U.S. Army photo of the year that year.

Easiest photo I ever took. They have an entire award system, so it's kind of like the Emmys or the Pulitzers. The military has its own awards.

It's a very big deal if you're in that job field. Yeah, the Department of Defense, they have their own awards and the Army has awards. They're called the Keith L. Ware Awards. And they're named after a Medal of Honor recipient who was a public affairs officer.

And I've won 22 of them. And one of them was I was named the U.S. Military Journalist of the Year in 2013, which is the highest award given in that job field. Music I came back in August 2012. Flew back to Fort Hood.

My kids were there to meet me, which was great. The one thing I wanted the most was a Starbucks coffee because we didn't have Starbucks in Afghanistan. So I got myself a Starbucks coffee.

It was the best tasting coffee I ever had. Now I work at Clemson University. I'm in Public Information Director. So I do a lot of kind of what I did in the Army. I take pictures, write stories. This was 2014, so I was still the standing United States Military Journalist of the Year. So that helped me get an interview at Clemson. I kind of got my foot in the door and that's sort of how I landed the job. So I had an amazing portfolio after five years as an active duty soldier, as a combat camera photographer, you know.

Portfolio that a lot of photographers would kill for probably. Because I had so much opportunity to take pictures of amazing events and things. And I'm proud of what I did when I was over there, you know. I really tried to elevate what our soldiers were doing and elevate the citizens of Afghanistan.

You know, winning hearts and minds was a big part of our job. I would have never imagined when I was young being a soldier, but now that I have been a soldier, I'm glad that I was because it was just meaningful to be a part of something bigger than myself. And a special thanks to Monty Montgomery for the post-production and Faith Buchanan for the pre-production on this story. And a special thanks also to Ken Skar for sharing his full story with us and the hard parts especially. And that part of his life where everything could have turned south and I have experienced suicide in my own family and anyone who has knows the consequence.

A beautiful niece of mine took her own life and if she had gotten through that day, anything was possible for her. And my goodness, awards for shots, his photos appearing everywhere, AP, HP, that's Huffington Post, the NY Times, Fox News, USA Today, US Army Photo of the Year, from suicide to that and more. And he said he was proud of his military service, proud of what he'd done with his life. Now he's doing it on a great American college campus and that's the campus of Clemson University in South Carolina.

The story of Ken Skar here on Our American Story. will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop. But for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot.

And I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin. Which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. Which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that all free clear mega packs, they have your back.

Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. And we continue with our American stories. Oftentimes when the topic of professional wrestling, think Hulk Hogan, Oftentimes when the topic of professional wrestling thing called Hogan comes up It's almost guaranteed that someone will scoff that it's just well all fake Yet those who enjoy watching professional wrestling won't disagree What they will say or likely say is that they enjoy the characters the athleticism and the stagecraft They know it's scripted and they love the storylines The same way we all enjoy watching any scripted story on TV or in the movies Here's Riley Evans to tell the real story about professional wrestling a story He's titled pro wrestlers deserve to be called athlete over 200 days a year No offseason Just running jumping bumping and crashing into concrete steel and wooden rings with only the thinnest layer of padding bones break Let give it snap and even the absence of serious injury leaves the constant ache of smaller ones Short of something debilitating. There's no time off to recover because if you stop there's always somebody waiting to take your place Whether it's a high school gymnasium or a hundred thousand seat stadium The show must go on for the entertainment of some of the world's most rabid fans It's ironic that pro wrestling the most grueling athletic endeavor on earth is laughed at by most sports fans Fans of most traditional sports often balk at professional wrestling being mentioned in the same breath as their favorites Just read the comment section on any Fox Sports article on the WWE You'll see the word fake so many times that after the 50th comment, you'll start mixing it up with the word though What these trolling keyboard warriors are missing. However, is that even if pro wrestling isn't quite your taste? It contains much of what we love about legitimate sports Let's get one thing straight from the outset Pro wrestling matches are not competitions. The results are predetermined Furthermore various major elements of each match are also determined ahead of time the exact amount of which depends on the wrestlers in question This has been the case since the start of the 20th century when traveling carnival performers made the transition from shoot a.k.a legitimate competition Wrestling to a more entertaining style of athletics that necessitated the fixing of matches Modern wrestling is not fixed.

It is not rigged dishonest or fake It is exactly what Vince McMahon hereby referred to as Vince from now until the end of time Told the New Jersey State Athletic Commission in 1989 an activity in which participants struggle hand-to-hand Primarily for the purpose of providing entertainment to spectators rather than conducting a bonafide athletic contest Vince coined the term sports entertainment to differentiate his product known then as the WWF From other pro wrestling organizations at the time, but the term actually provides the perfect description for the industry as a whole The problem is that so much time has elapsed between pro wrestling's divergence from shoot wrestling and the current era that people can't see The forest through the trees. They no longer see the sport that provides the foundation for the entertainment Despite the fact that pro wrestling is the most athletic that it's ever been The top pro wrestlers in the world must possess a rare and diverse personality The top pro wrestlers in the world must possess a rare and diverse skill set This is especially true for WWE superstars as the WWE product is heavier on the entertainment side of the spectrum than anybody else Wrestlers must be competent to great public speakers. They must have a keen understanding of storytelling to build compelling matches and programs They also have to be skilled actors both in the ring and in their promos Professional wrestlers are great performers But today more than ever they're called to be better athletes because it always comes back to what they can do in the ring Pro wrestling is an exercise of pageantry and spectacle It's a muscled-up soap opera where larger-than-life personalities collide for the entertainment of paying fans the fact remains however that all the promos and storylines in the world fade into oblivion if those collisions those in-ring encounters between athletes Don't live up to the expectations created by the entertainers What would have happened if Hogan couldn't slam Andre at WrestleMania 3? What if Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels couldn't wrestle for an hour straight?

Conversely will we remember the festival of friendship in ten years after Owens and Jericho underwhelmed at WrestleMania 33? I I might be reaching on that one The point is that the entire purpose behind the showmanship and the storylines is to sell the in-ring Product we care more about the matches if we care about the people in them But as fans we still demand high quality wrestling to make the stories feel worthwhile and the bar for what? Constitutes high quality is higher than ever while the Attitude Era pushed the envelope with edgy storylines and violence Today's talent pushes the envelope with acrobatics in the squared circle It takes the red arrow today to get the reaction that a moonsault got over 20 years ago. I Think it speaks volumes that while many pro wrestlers are failed football players recruited for their size and physiques Those performers are routinely outpaced by the likes of Kenny Omega AJ Styles Seth Rollins or Sasha Banks Smaller performers with the balance and body control of elite gymnasts Fans are demanding bigger moves more action and a higher degree of difficulty than we've ever seen With more complex moves comes a greater need for the utmost precision Because your opponent's life and livelihood is literally in your hands at every moment The outcomes may be scripted but the impact of bodies on canvas steel and concrete are very real One errant knee is a broken nose.

One bad pile driver is a broken neck Speaking of injury. Let's talk about playing through pain because pro wrestlers have the market cornered on toughing it out We praise athletes for playing through injury, especially around playoff time Imagine that but every day is playoff time and there's no offseason for surgery You just keep going until you literally can't bear the pain anymore. And if you're not already a star Your spot might not be there when you come back By the way, if you're a WWE superstar pre pandemic You were working around 250 shows a year all over the world One of those superstars is a guy named Mark Calloway who some of you might know better as the Undertaker For my money. He's one of the two or three greatest professional wrestlers to ever breathe oxygen for anyone's money He's one of the most respected performers in the history of the industry not only for his talent, but for his toughness He famously wrestled for months with broken ribs by putting on a flak jacket and having medical staff duct tape it around his torso The Undertaker is six foot eight and probably weighed around 320 pounds at a time Do you think taking a 300 pound bump with broken ribs was fun?

By the way, he's kind of needed a hip replacement since 1998 He retired in 2020 is He tough enough to be an athlete Part of the reason that people like taker do ridiculous things with flak jackets is because they're competitors They want to go out there every night and compete now. I can already hear a bunch of yelling at your mobile devices They're not competing the matches are fixed. You even said that I Said the results of the matches are predetermined and they are Nobody said that there's no competition Every night these performers go out and do what all other truly great athletes do They compete to be the absolute best at what they do better than anyone else Every wrestler who still loves what they do wants to steal the show and have the best match every night They compete for the adulation of fans Many of them probably compete with the hopes of being recognized for what they are high performance athletes Sacrificing their bodies every night that they walk down that aisle Professional wrestling doesn't have to be your thing and that's fine Because we're not talking about the product We're talking about the players the ones that spend all the hours in the gym make all the sacrifices And get none of the respect from so many people. I Was incredibly proud to bring a taste of pro wrestling to grandstand central as well as to the listeners of our American stories. I Look forward to engaging with people who give wrestlers the credit that they deserve and great job on the piece by Greg Hengler and a special thanks to Riley Evans for telling the story the real story about professional wrestling here on our American stories You Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and United Health Care can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage It can seem confusing but it doesn't have to be visit UHC Medicare health plans comm to learn more United Health Care helping people live healthier lives What up, it's dramas.

You may know me from the recap on LA TV now I've got my own podcast life as a gringo coming to you every Tuesday and Thursday We'll be talking real and unapologetic about all things life Latin culture and everything in between from someone Who's never quite fit in listen to life as a gringo on the I heart radio app or wherever you get your podcasts? Brought to you by State Farm like a good neighbor State Farm is there This is the start of a new era. We have an opportunity to be the better future for everyone Combining the best of humanity in the technology. We will unleash our imagination Everything that can be connected will be connected. We as the industry must dare to dream So we find ourselves at a critical juncture in human history See touch and experience the very latest in technology meet us at MWC Las Vegas September 28th through the 30th
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-15 16:41:23 / 2023-02-15 16:59:22 / 18

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