Watching Wrestling As A Boy In The Caribbean

Watching Wrestling As A Boy In The Caribbean

My nephew seems to know everything there is about modern wrestling, as portrayed by the WWE and I would often remind him that I had the same passion, as a boy, in St. Kitts, for what I deemed now as the male soap opera. As a boy, ,my favorite wrestler was, and still is, the late The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes; for me his elbow was invincible and no one could withstand it. It must be noted that, unlike my nephew, I believed wrestling was true: that the blows received by the wrestlers were actual and that these men were the toughest bad-asses roaming the face of the earth. Most of us did not have televisions then in our homes in St. Kitts… so, as boys, we would go to the local police station and hoped that we had a kind police chief who would permit us to look at the ‘Tele’ when wrestling aired (thank you Captain Drew for permitting me to look at your television).

We would have these insane, passionate debates about which wrestler would win the ultimate fight among the grapplers. Among the wrestling fanatics, was one detractor, Dennison Paul. Dennison had always been brilliant it seems in all aspects of life; at fourteen, he was a gifted Cricketer and soccer player. Unlike I who had no aptitude for the sciences and Math, Dennison was versed in all those subjects, and apparently, had common sense too. Dennison would benignly berate those of us who loved wrestling by opining that wrestling was ‘fake.’ We did not care how brilliant Dennison Paul was - we hated him, at least I, for bursting my bubble… for God’s sake, it was like telling the typical American child that Santa Clause was fictitious.

Everything came to a head, at least for me, concerning wrestling’s authenticity, when in the early eighties, many of the wrestlers came down to the neighboring island of St. Martin to ‘put’ on a show. Dennison, in his wisdom, watched on television all the wrestlers disembarked from the airplane, then he asked the logical question that if these wrestlers had such hatred for each other, as portrayed by their battles and diatribes against each other – why travel together on the same plane? It was at that time I started giving Dennison’s premise some credence, yet, I still maintained my self-imposed ignorance about the authenticity of wrestling.

Circa 1981, my father asked my brothers and I what we wanted most to see in our newly adopted country - it was unanimous: we wanted to see a live wrestling match. By the way, then my brothers and I still maintained that wrestling was authentic, even though our father and stepmother believed otherwise like the sage, Dennison Paul. So here we were, at the San Francisco Cow Palace, bubbling with youthful excitement about to witness the scheduled match between Pedro Morales and the despicable, Dick Slater.

My father had secured seats ringside and when the match began, reality hit my brothers and I smack-dab in the face… because we saw the “fakeness” of wrestling up close and personal. I left San Francisco a broken boy and I did not watch wrestling until years later down in law school and that was because all my roommates fancied the male soap opera. So now when I see my nephew getting giddy over wrestling, I am reminded that the wise man, Solomon, said in the Good Book that there is nothing ‘new’ under the sun.

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KK Trainor profile image

KK Trainor 5 years ago from Texas

I enjoyed the article. I was watching wrestling back in the early 80's when I was a young babysitter and had to stay up late to wait for the parents to come home. I remember seeing Kamala the Ugundan Giant, Rick Flair and my favorite - Junk Yard Dog. Yes, I later discovered it was all pretty fake, but those were good evenings spent with something purely entertaining. The modern wrestlers are a bit too over the top for my taste.


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi KK Trainor:

Thanks and I am happy that I made you think of your youth with joy unlike so many of the children growing up now - imagine that the 'Nature Boy' is still going strong... if I recalled your favorite wrestler Junk Yard Dog passed away.

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