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Although some people say that kids and teens today don’t have heroes, I’d have to disagree somewhat. I mean, most any guy who wears little tight swimming trunks, doesn’t wear any shirt, and jumps around with a bunch of other sweaty guys is pretty much a role model to anyone. And when two or more young men can have an argument over which one of these big, sweaty guys is cooler and which guy could beat up the other guy, you know that you truly have a hero for the ages.

I’m talking about professional wrestling, of course, and being very sarcastic at the same time. The popularity of “professional” wrestling is at a mind-boggling high right now, with everyone from elementary school boys to...ummm...high school boys enjoying the skull-bashing it produces.

Now, to the casual observer, such as myself, it may just look like a lot of sweaty guys hurting each other for no apparent reason other than to make money and get endorsements. That’s absolutely not true. The big sweaty guys do not actually hurt each other. Why do I, and millions of other people, think this?

Have you ever actually seen two wrestlers fighting? Using the methods in which they inflict pain on each other, blood should be spurting from them after a minute or two in the ring. Smashing someone’s head in the corner post of a wrestling ring should make a nose bleed, a chipped tooth , and other things that are unpleasant to talk about during breakfast. Yet these wrestlers on TV are doing this every five seconds and aren’t shedding one drop of blood. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them would actually squirm at the sight of their opponent’s blood on the mat.

Of course, the things that these “professional” wrestlers are telling today’s

youth aren’t always the best message. There may be the occasional “don’t do drugs or alcohol” schtick that practically every show on TV has to have, but other than that, the wrestlers don’t really have many worthwhile things to say. Between the various expletives and insults they shout at other wrestlers, there really is nothing that makes any sense other than Macho Man Randy Savage’s remarks to the other wrestlers, such as, “Snap into a Slim-Jim,” “Eat some Slim-Jims,” and of course, “Slim-Jim pays me a lot of money!”

Another good thing that comes from the fake fighting seen on television and Pay-Per-View is the camaraderie that comes from the different wrestling leagues. For starters, there’s the two biggest leagues, the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) and the WCW (Wonderful-Ted-Turner’s Commercialized Wrestling...oops...I mean World Championship Wrestling) . From these leagues have formed other, smaller leagues, most notably the NWO (New World Order) .

Because of the numerous leagues, most of the fans of professional wrestling think wrestling is much more important than it really is. They are fans of the New World Order! Or the WWF! Or of Ted Turner! At any one moment, somewhere in the US someone is probably chanting for either the WCW, WWF, or the NWO. This is one good thing about professional wrestling, in that it helps teens...most notably, boys...feel less out of place and strange. If things don’t turn out right at school, they can always think, “The WWF still accepts me just the way I am.” And a sense of belonging is something that everyone needs.

Although I’ve somewhat made fun of so-called “professional” wrestling in my article, I want to point out that other types of wrestling are totally legitimate. MATPAC, junior high, high school, and collegiate wrestling are all very legitimate sports with real strategy and, unfortunately, real pain. If anyone deserves chants, it’s these athletes that get relatively little attention for the hard work they do.

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Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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