Friday, March 25, 2005

RAW Report

Well, I've been a bit under the weather and had some other things keep me away from my blog, but as promised here is a report from my experience at WWE RAW....better late than never.

You know it's going to be an interesting night when the fan sitting beside you dons a Ray Misterio Jr. mask just before the action in the ring begins and proceeds to watch the entire show while wearing the mask. Well, after attending my first live wrestling card in nearly 15 years, my biggest observation is that wrestling today is more show than substance. I remember when a two-hour wrestling card featured actual wrestling instead of pyrotechnics, loud music and back-stage or in-ring interviews every five minutes. In between all this, five matches took place.

The first match featured world champ Triple H taking on an overmatched Rosey. Triple H wins easily and finds a sledgehammer underneath the ring apron after the match. How it got there I have no idea. After clanging the sledgehammer into the metal ring steps to let the crowd know the sledgehammer is indeed real, Triple H clubs Rosey in the bread basket. After Triple H clears the ring, Emergency Medical Technicians rush to Rosey's aid and cart him off on a stretcher, presumably to take him to Wake Medical Center. Man, I hope Rosey pulls through.

Triple H's sledgehammer would play a prominent role in the evening's festivities. The main event featured "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (with Triple H in his corner) squaring off against Batista. Triple H, plotting to take Batista out before their big main event match at Wrestlemania in a few weeks, is barred from taking his trusty sledgehammer to ringside by WWE commissioner Eric Bischoff. No worries for Triple H, however, because as luck would have it, after Batista threw Flair around the ring like a rag doll and polished him off, another sledgehammer was found underneath the ring....go figure!

Triple H tries to clock Batista with the sledgehammer, but "The Animal" catches the weapon before "The Game" can crush his face. Batista wrestles the hammer away from Triple H and in a show of brute strength proceeds to break it over his knee! He then challenges Triple H to a match as the televised portion of the show is going off the air. Fortunately for us fans in the arena, Triple H accepts and we get to see a preview of the Wrestlemania main event as a bonus that the folks tuned it at home won't get to see. Batista eventually pins the world champ, probably to prove to everyone in the arena that he can so they will be enticed to shell out $50 bucks and order the Wrestlemania pay per view in a few weeks to see if he can do it again.Well I could go on, but if you want, you can check out a complete match report at the WWE's website. Unfortunately, my hard work and effort into crafting my Ric Flair signs didn't succeed in getting me and my buddy Jonathan on TV. Oh well, there's always next time because, like the circus, wrestling will eventually find it's way back to town.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Ready for RAW

A while back, I wrote about how my interest in professional wrestling had been rekindled. Sad to say, that spark of interest has ignited into a fire. World Wrestling Entertaintment's RAW show rolls into Raleigh tonight, and I'll be among the thousands in attendance.

The last time I attended a live wrestling event was close to 15 years ago. One of the events I attended as a teenager included matches that were taped for television, and I appeared on TV a few weeks later proudly displaying a "Four Horsemen" sign that I had crafted to pay tribute to Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson.

Some things never change. I'll be angling for the cameras again tonight, paying tribute to Flair with my "Diamonds Are Forever...And So Is Ric Flair" sign that I burned the midnight oil crafting earlier this week. Chances are slim that the cameras will point my way since my seats a good distance from the ring, but if they pan the crowd be on the lookout for me. You can tune in at 9 p.m. on Spike TV. Check back tomorrow for a report on the action.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Another Carolina Championship

About a month ago, I wrote about how I was feeling blue after North Carolina lost to arch-rival Dook 71-70 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In today's rematch, with the Blue Devils up nine with three minutes to play, it looked like I would be feeling blue yet again. But the Tar Heels closed the game on an 11-0 run to win 75-73 and clinch the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Remembering "Buster"

Following is the eulogy I gave for "Buster" at his funeral today.

Nancy asked me to share some thoughts about Buster today, and like everyone else here, I've spent a lot of time these past few days recalling and reflecting on the memories I have of him.

Honestly, many of the memories I have of Buster are fuzzy and vague because the majority of the time I spent with him was when I was quite young. Nancy and Buster were my parents' neighbors at one time, and they became the ones who looked after and cared for me when I was a baby and a little boy.

I spent a lot of time in the Church's house growing up, and Buster was my buddy. I enjoyed spending the days with Nancy, but I always looked forward to each afternoon when Buster came home from work.

Each day as a little boy, I would ride with Nancy down to the mill to pick Buster up. While waiting in the parking lot, I would try to find Buster in the crowd as he made his way to the car. Seeing him always brought a smile to my face.

Even after a long, hard day at the mill, Buster always took time to talk to me, play with me, laugh with me and love on me. He also saved me from a number of spankings because my mom says Buster would never let her spank me when he was around.

Although most of the time I spent with Buster and Nancy came when I was just a young boy, we didn't grow apart as I grew older. They remained interested and involved in my life.

When I graduated from kindergarten, they were there.

When I graduated from high school, they were there.

When I graduated from college and moved away for my first job, they were there.

Many years ago when I would sit with Nancy in the car waiting for Buster to get off work, my mom tells me that many of Buster's coworkers thought I was their son. And that's exactly how Buster and Nancy have always made me feel -- just like a part of their own family.

And as I remembered -- even just this morning -- how I used to wait with Nancy to greet Buster when he got off work, this thought came to me... one day Buster will be in heaven to greet all of us, who know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior just like he did. That is the hope we can have today, even though we will miss Buster in the days ahead, we can know with certainty that we will one day see him again because of Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection.

In I Thessalonians chapter four, verses 13-14, the Bible says, "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus."

Nancy also asked me to read a poem in Buster's memory. It's titled, "When Tomorrow Starts Without Me."

When tomorrow starts without me,
and I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry,
the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things,
we didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me,
as much as I love you,
and each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me,
please try to understand,
that an angel came and called my name,
and took me by the hand,
and aid my place was ready,
in heaven far above,
and that I'd have to leave behind,
all those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away,
a tear fell from my eye,
for all life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for,
so much left yet to do,
it almost seemed impossible,
that I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays,
the good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
and all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday,
just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you,
and maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized,
that this could never be,
for emptiness and memories,
would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
my heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much t home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
from His great golden throne,

He said, "This is eternity,
and all I've promised you.
Today your life on earth is past,
but here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
but today will always last,
and since each day's the same way,
there's no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful,
so trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things,
you knew you shouldn't do.

But you have been forgiven,
and now at least you're free.
So won't you come and take my hand,
and share my life with me?"

So when tomorrow starts without me,
don't think we're far apart,
for every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.