I never know whether I should be happy or bothered when someone accurately captures the way that I’m feeling, but better than I do.
From my favorite sports journalist: Bill Simmons at ESPN.com’s Page 2:
Bill Simmons: I am still gathering my thoughts, waiting for all the facts to come out. It just doesn’t seem like any non-wrestling fan realizes how huge this story is to everyone who actually follows wrestling – in my opinion, it’s the biggest sports story of the year even though wrestling technically isn’t a sport. Benoit was one of the 12-15 greatest wrestlers of the past 30 years. For the wrestling world, it’s like the OJ thing all over again – only its worse because his little son was involved. It might be the single worst sports story since the Rae Carruth thing.
And from someone else in the same chat recap:
josh ut: Just one more thought on the Benoit situation for the non-wrestling fans. This was the equivalent of a Derek Fisher or Donovan Mcnabb or Derek Jeter committing the act, one of the most recognizable class acts of a sport. The man was known as classy individual and had the respect of everyone he worked with. If your kid was going to be a wrestler, you would have wanted him to be Chris Benoit. This is why it is so hard for the wrestling community to come to grip with this tragedy.
Well put by both people.
I wrote in an email to my friend Boner yesterday (and yes I’m in my mid-30s and have a friend whose nickname is Boner) that now I know how Buffalo Bills fans feel about OJ Simpson.
This guy was one of my top 10 favorite wrestlers of all time. I had tears of joy on my face when he won the world title at WrestleMania XX. There’s an image, a classic image, of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero (who are now both deceased), both world champions, hugging in the middle of the ring. And the unspoken words between the two were essentially: “They told us, we weren’t big enough, weren’t good enough talkers, couldn’t draw fans to the arena, that we weren’t good enough, and look where we are now, buddy.”
I mean, I didn’t cry because Benoit had won something. People in a boardroom, looked at the demographics, the buyrates, the television ratings, the Q-Rating, and merchandise sales and determined that Chris Benoit could win the title at WrestleMania XX. What made me cry was that Benoit ignored the criticsm, busted his ass every day, doing his job, working hard, putting his body on the line, and he was rewarded. That’s a good story for anyone.
Is that moment tainted? Should it be, if it’s not?
Killing his wife, while reprehensible… is at least understandable. We all have been enraged by someone. And those who are closest to you, can in an instant drive you the craziest. And someone with the strength of a professional wrestler, could most likely hurt someone, before they truly realized what they were doing.
Killing himself… I don’t believe in suicide, but I believe in the right to kill yourself. They say that it’s the coward’s way out, and in some cases I believe that, but we all have moments of cowardice. Benoit killing himself denies us answers, but it also removes the circus of a murder trial. I can see him, being regretful of what he had done, seeing no other option other than his own death.
Killing his son…
It’s an innocent life.
Even making the arguement, that the kid would be emotionally traumatized by the death of both of his parents, and maybe even more so with the child’s Fragile X syndrome. Even so.
Then take into account that it occured the following day, so it wasn’t ‘in the moment’. When you think for that long of a period of time, you have moments of clarity, that is unless he was mentally ill or chemically unbalanced.
But that is supposition. And there is still responsibility for the act.
My current feeling is that I cannot really watch wrestling anymore. Not that I watch it much anyway. Once Suzanne moved in, Monday nights turned into CSI: Miami nights more than Monday Night Raw. And Zack basically turned wrestling time into bath time.
But it’s more when you have a bad reaction to food, sometimes remembering your upset stomach or worse vomitting the substance keeps you from returning to that food. I haven’t had Southern Comfort in 14 years, and the thought of a Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak with blue cheese makes my stomach turn.
I’ve been watching this stupid ‘sport’ for close to 20 years now. And that is really scary. Since the advent of the Internet, learning about backstage politics, advanced booking, and pay-per-view results, had been more of an addiction than the actual action in the ring. But I have no appetite for it now. I don’t see going cold turkey, but I don’t feel the need to watch it anymore. If I could remove the wrestling websites from my memory, I would.
There’s more thoughts, but trying to keep things brief for now.