Before I start this mornings entry of Chapter 4. I would to maintain and go on record and say I’m just explaining my experiences of how television has affected me both in a good way and bad. It’s up to you my readers to decide for yourselves what part of TV was good for me and what part was for the lack of a better term awful. I take no authority over the imaging I use. Each image I am using is strictly to make a point.
“The most important thing to remember while reading this chapter is that a man cannot serve two masters.”Mathew 6:24.
There he was, he was larger-than-life. He was a mega muscled superhero and his name was Hulk Hogan. This is the story of how professional wrestling influenced me as a youngster, as a teenager and well into my adult years.
I was seven years old when I first witnessed Hulk Hogan come across the television screen. I’d never seen wrestling before. The first time I had witnessed a wrestling match taking place I was visiting with my grandparents one Saturday afternoon and while my grandfather was in the kitchen preparing his usual meal of spaghetti and meatballs I was left to channel surf alone. I first watched the red and yellow wearing wrestler on a television program tilted Saturday Night’s Main Event.
When my grandfather came in the room to tell me “Anthony, It’s time for lunch.” He witnessed me watching wrestling. He shook his head, he walked over to turn off the TV. Before we would have an opportunity to go eat lunch. “Nonno,” as I affectionately called him, proceeded to tell me a story about him from his youth. He told me that he was once a fan of professional wrestling in the time that it had more professionalism rather than it being a three act play. As my grandfather grew up, he become a super fan.
He even had a favourite wrestler. Fellow Italian native Bruno Sammartino. I didn’t know what to think, because I had no idea who Sammartino was at that time. Nonno would go on to tell me how Bruno was the best in his day, he was even a world champion for seven years. A record that still holds up today in wrestling history. My grandfather would tell me that when he became a father, one of his favourite past times as a father would be to take his children to local wrestling matches. One night my grandfather witnessed to his shock and disappointment a “pulled punch.” Which refers to giving more of a reaction to a punch than actually expressing a sense of real pain. He said after that, he would never again watch or respect the wrestling business.
I put him in a very difficult position because after he saw me watch it, he saw my eyes glowing with delight and excitement. He had no choice but to watch wrestling with me. He would choose to watch wrestling me rather than disappoint his grandson. What a nice grandpa he was. One of the other reasons I also went over there is because as a culture going to church was just part of the Italian way.
So our weekends were planned out, Saturday’s were reserved for watching wrestling and eating spaghetti while Sunday was God’s time. I can remember stepping inside the Roman Catholic Church having to kneel at the door, I also had to dip my finger in holy water and put cross on my forehead using the water that I had just dipped my fingers into. I felt a bit strange and the service didn’t even start yet…. I went through this routine for a number of years but as young boy, I wasn’t ready to hear the gospel.
Another reason my grandparents loved having me over at their house is because I paid so much attention to them. I called their home twice a day up until the day they both died. The reason behind this was simple because I used to eat for them. To them it baffled them as to why I refused to eat at home, but I would eat enough food for two people when I ate with my grandparents. It got to the point where it became a running joke. My grandparents found it extremely weird that I would only eat at their house and not at my very own home. Love made it possible, it was the love and care that was shown me through my grandparents that would always encourage me to be on my best behavior.
One day when I returned home from school, I would turn on the TV to watch the sports highlights but there were no highlights on, but to my surprise and joy wrestling was. I was extremely happy. I was excited and couldn’t wait to see what would unfold. Mind you, I did have my favourites, and I even had the wrestlers that would scare me half to death. My favourite wrestlers were the obvious fan favourites but on the other end of the spectrum characters like Paul Bearer and The Ultimate Warrior would scare me so much, they would take years off my life… Aside from being scared by a few things in wrestling that went bump in the night, I overall was thrilled to watch such a program.
I was blessed, the first time I watched wrestling at home, because my father wasn’t home at that time. My mother caught me watching wrestling and after she asked how I started watching that. She than called her father, my grandfather to ask him what he had done to me? My mother knew that grandfather was a former fan, however my mother despised pro wrestling. Even more, my father was once a famous boxer well known in throughout Europe as a boxer. He had deep passion for the sweet science and he absolutely said no to wrestling.
My father believed that wrestling was dumb, he also believed the sport of professional wrestling made a mockery of physically fit athletes and this was worse when it was later discovered that a lot of wrestlers looked the way they did through the use of performance enhancers. At the time, I didn’t care. I loved the action, drama even the comedy. I was hooked. I was a wrestling fan and it would be a very har
d habit to break.
The Good Guys of Television who were they and what did they do for me? The good guys of TV were men of God. I starting tuning into TV ministers because my parents had a spat in a service with one of the members and that soured them from attending church regularly even if it was just two hours away from Detroit. I had to watch good Godly programs in secret because my family thought that they didn’t need to hear God’s word. Their reason behind this way of thinking was that we had a Bible in our home and although we barely browsed through it, apparently having a Bible in our home was enough of a religion or status of faith we would ever need. However what good is a Bible in a home if it just collects dust while s sitting on the shelf. The Bible was meant to be opened and read by one person or many people depending who’s in the house. Opening up the scripture allows us the creation to have divine fellowship with our creator. However even though we stopped going to church, I wasn’t ever done with church. I had to watch church services in the wee hours of the morning. I did that because no one was around and asleep. If I was ever caught watching church on TV, my father would have a fit. Even though, I was disciplined for defying my father for watching church on TV in the later hours of the morning, I was persistent and continued to watch the services. Even if I was dealt with they are very harsh disciplined manner
I would not give up my faith for anyone or anything.