Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Brush with Bushwackers, Baseball Games and Boring Workouts

The Bushwhackers
I saw this hilarious clip of Eddie Bravo giving The Iron Sheik a ride to the airport and it reminded me of one of my favorite PG stories from highschool.

When I was in the 11th or 12 grade the regional wrestling championships were in the small town of Sturgeon Falls, which most people know as the speedtrap on the way to North Bay.  The night we arrived and weighed in happened to coincide with the arrival of some mostly washed up "professional" wrestlers who were doing a low budget tour of Northern Ontario.  I don't think anyone thought much of it until one of my teammates came running into my room yelling "the ^%*&ing BUSHWHACKERS are in our hotel!"  To a bunch of kids who grew up watching WWF superstars pound on the Ted Smiths and John Richards (always in plain black singlets of course) in the 80's and 90's, the Bushwhackers were a big deal.  Forget that as real wrestlers we had always made fun of the "actors"  that populated the pro ranks; this was our brush with greatness, our claim to fame, our 15 minutes.  Maybe they would lick our heads!  Maybe they would show us the "double gut buster"!  Maybe they would come watch our matches the next day!

Three of us went down to the lobby to see if it was true and sure enough, there were the Bushwhackers, along with The Iron Sheik and some other guy named "The Wolf" (never heard of him).  We didn't tell anyone else because we wanted to have these guys to ourselves. Turns out the Bushwhackers were really cool dudes.  We sat up and chatted with them until about 2:00 am, getting all kinds of funny stories.  One of the Bushwhackers even DID lick my friend`s head after he got the guts to ask. The Iron Sheik was a little more quiet, but he actually knew tonnes about actual wrestling (turns out he was a pretty good greco wrestler back in the day).   We hassled all of the wrestlers to come watch us wrestle the next day since they didn't have to perform until the next night.  They said they would think about it, but we were pretty sure they were just being nice.
The next day though, as I was sitting in the stands between matches, I heard a big commotion outside of the gym.  Sure enough, the Bushwhackers showed up.  They came over to say hello and tell us that they couldn't stay long but wanted to pop in to say hi. I was lucky enough to have a match coming up and asked one of them if he would stand in my corner with my coach. And he did.  How radical is that?  Super radical, that's how radical.  Let's recap.  I met the Bushwhackers in a seedy small town motel.  I stayed up talking shop with them all night.  The next day they came to watch me wrestle and were in my corner for one of my matches. Pretty sweet.

Note:  The Iron Sheik is a legitimate bad ass.  He was born in Iran, wrestled there and worked as a bodygaurd for the Emperor of Iran.  He missed making the Iranian Olympic team and moved to the U.S.  While in the U.S. he won the National Greco Roman Championships and was the assistant coach of the U.S. greco team.

YeongCheon Starlight Festival
Lisa and I were lucky enough to grab two spots on a free trip put on by a local magazine called Daegu Pockets.  The Trip was organized by the government of a city called YeongCheon to promote their "Starlight Festival" to foreigners.  It was two days packed full of activities in the area and it was absolutely free.  Transportation, accommodations and all of the activities.  We started by going to a 500 year old school where a famous Korean poet went to school and taught.  After that we went to check out some burial mounds.  In Korea the size of the burial mound denotes how important you and your family are.  These ones were pretty big, but not the biggest I've seen.
Our third stop was at a local winery and wine school.  We got a tour of the place and a free wine school lesson, which no one understood because it was completely in Korean.  We got to do some wine tasting (Korean wine is not my cup of .... wine) and then got to bottle and cork our own wine.  Again, this was all free, including a few bottles of take home wine.  They even made wine labels with our pictures on them.
The only part of the tour that was in English.  A little Konglishy, but true.

Our next stop was way up in some of the highest mountains in Korea (almost 6000 feet).  We were taken to the largest telescope and observatory in Asia.  I guess if you're into astronomy it would be pretty awesome.  It was all Korean to me though.  being so high in the mountains was pretty spectacular, but the pictures don't really do it justice.  There was a bunch of photographers on top of the mountain taking pictures of all the foreigners.  They were probably commissioned by the city to show how much fun the foreigners were having. It was pretty funny.  There were guys following us around climbing over railings and hiding in the bushes to get good shots.  I'm sure we'll all be in the brochures for next year.

 View from the top.

The last stop of the day was at a small resort that was in the first stage of development.  There were some pensions (big Korean style cabins to sleep in) on a man made lake and some riding stables. This was one of the nicest places I've seen in Korea.  The people who were organizing the tour put on a concert for us with all kinds of traditional singers and dancers.  There were also a bunch of huge telescopes set up for anyone to look through. 
Best scenery in Korea? 

Our sweet pensions.

The next day we were all pretty wiped from the activities of the day and night before, but still managed to make it horseback riding (which amounted to being led around in a circle for 10 minutes), to museum of modern art and to the actual starlight festival.  The weather was great and it was solid trip. Can't beat it for free.

Children's Day
Wednesday was Children's Day, a national holiday in Korea.  Having the day off in the middle of the week seems strange but since Wednesday is my worst day of the week, work wise, it was a welcome break.  Me, Lisa and Brian took advantage of the nice weather to catch a baseball game.  Our home team is the Samsung Lions, and they smoked the visiting Lotte Giants. Because of the holiday the game was packed and we had to pay a shocking $13 for our tickets from a scalper.  I can say this about Korean fans, they are organized. There were about 20 different cheers and all of the fans new them perfectly.  An interesting fact about professional baseball in Korea is that almost none of the teams actually make money.  The companies that own them write them off as advertising expenses.  That's why the teams are known by their corporate names and not their city names.  Oh yeah, EVERY ticket to the games is general admission, so if you want to get a good seat you just have to show up early.  Strange for a a country has has assigned seating on cross country buses.
Small Stadium, but packed.

Stale Workouts
It looks like I'm pretty much on the shelf as far as training goes until I get home and get some medical attention.  I had a few appointments with surgeons who think I have a sports hernia, but would have to do an MRI to be sure.  I opted to skip the MRI because if it is a sports hernia, I'm not paying thousands of dollars for the surgery out of pocket and will wait to get it done for free at home anyways.  If it's not a sports hernia I'll just be letting it heal on it's own, which is what I'm doing anyways, and I'll have wasted a huge chunk of cash on the MRI.  None of this stuff is covered through my insurance because it's all elective tests and surgery. boo-urns.  I still go in to Daegu MMA once in a while to coach Un Sik's wrestling and hit some pads. I can do a few things as far as working out, but can't do anything dynamic which is extremely frustrating.  I've been really streaky with my workouts for the last month, mostly because I'm getting so bored of doing the few things I can do over and over and over and over again.  I'll have a good week where I get 5 good sessions in (sad that that's a good week for me now) and then a week where I can't stand the thought of doing the same stuff any more and won't workout at all.  I think I can hear myself getting fatter.

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