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  • Writer's pictureGarrett Miller

Welcome To Your Thursday Thunder

Believe & Receive! Attract & Allow! What do you do when you've never done something before? Do it! Back in the day... you know, when I had to walk 10 miles uphill both to and from school in the frigid winters of the very flat terrain of NE Salem, Oregon... I was into the #PortlandWrestling scene as much as a 15 year old without wheels could be. Granted, my parents did their best to entertain me taking me to the matches when they could. The taking was less of an issue than the picking up. The picking up part usually came at the expense of their sleep since the shows typically ran long and anything after 10p was a sure sign that the main event hadn't happened yet and I'd miss the most important match. Usually they'd humor me as much as possible, but not always. You see, shock of shocks, they had to get up in the morning and go to work - be damned the Cage Match or Coal Miners Glove Match or... When I was new to the yearbook staff as a sophomore, Portland Wrestling advertised doing a fundraiser at your local high school as a way to help make extra money for your group. What better way to get closer to the action than actually sponsoring a show?! I worked with the schools administration and the promoter for Salem, Sandy Barr, to coordinate the whole thing. Much like TV shows where you just sit down and watch them, from the outside the show looks easy and fun. Behind the scenes, the work that goes into creating a production, night after night, getting a crowd to cover your costs, and present an entertainment spectacular - much harder than it looks on paper. Much harder than a pro wrestling poster featuring a 6-man tag match! I remember going up to Woodburn to meet Mr. Barr half way from his Portland print shop where he made the posters. The smell of the printing press ink still thick in the air, I could feel the excitement of a packed house at McKay High School. "This will be the start of something BIG! Afterall, South Salem High School always holds the special events when big stars like Andre the Giant or Ric Flair come to town. McKay will be the new South Salem!" For a week prior to the event, the yearbook staff spent hours and hours plastering posters around town. Anywhere a poster could be posted, it was hung. The night of the event, the ring truck arrived, late, though complete with the crew to start putting everything together center stage in the gym. They let us help, as much as a 105lb string bean weakling could. For those who think wrestling is fake - well, it IS a scripted entertainment, the ring, my friend, is very real. Very sturdy and very unforgiving. It's set up are a bunch of plywood boards, covered by a 1" foam roll and then the tarp on top. I don't know how tough you think you are, but falling, even a choreographed fall, would still hurt like a Mo-Fo. As the crowds started pouring in... like a spring-time rain, the showers come. The showers go. Sometimes the showers aren't that powerful. Despite hanging "every" poster around town, I did keep like 10 of them for posterity, the crowds and support from the community was mixed. Mr. Barr even asked post event, "Did you hang up the posters?!" He made a nice donation to the yearbook committee and we never hosted a wrestling event again. Sometimes doing new things for the experience and discover it's not all that it's cracked up to be, is enough. For me, I gained a lifetime of appreciation for the enormous effort which goes in to every show. When I see indie wrestling promotions putting on shows regionally in Southern California, I am in awe of the dedication to promote shows which don't draw 50,000 and fill a major stadium. For the major promotions where there are thousands and thousands, the scale of that production is even more grand. My hats off to those trying something new just to see what it's like. What are you doing this month that you've never done before? Will you do it again? Post your pictures and share your story here!

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