Super Bowl LII and “This Is Us” Recap

Last night, the three of us Resers sat down in the living room and watched Super Bowl LII. By the time the Philadelphia Eagles had pulled off the upset, Sloan was fast asleep in her crib and Sid and I transitioned to our bedroom to watch “the historic” episode of “This Is Us.” I have some thoughts on both the game and the episode.

When it came to the football that was played last night, I don’t think you could ask for much more (unless you are a Patriots fan). It was an entertaining and close game that lacked penalties and turnovers. Plenty of points were put up on the scoreboard and Tom Brady had a chance to send the game to overtime on the last drive of the game. For not having watched an NFL game from start to finish all season long, I was satisfied.

I thought the commercials were fine. I never let the cliché and expected line of “the commercials sucked this year” influence me. I thought there was a healthy mix of funny, thought-provoking, and moving ads. I especially liked the Pringles commercial (combining flavors to make new flavors, just like you can do with Jelly Belly flavors), the Hyundai Icelandic Vikings spot (loved the “We Will Rock You” remix), and the Blaze Doritos/Mt. Dew Ice cross-promotional campaign (extra points from me because last weekend I actually ate the Blaze Doritos and washed them down with a glass of Mt. Dew Ice). Although I wasn’t blown away by any commercial that I was inspired to re-watch it on YouTube, I didn’t think this year’s crop completely bombed.

Let me start by saying my wife loved the halftime show. She said she didn’t have one complaint. My review isn’t as glowing. I thought Justin Timberlake did a decent job – he performed all his hits, danced his butt off, and showed genuine enthusiasm throughout the entire performance. However, there just wasn’t a “wow” moment for me. Although not a Prince fan, I did enjoy the hologram tribute but it wasn’t enough to make Justin’s mini concert memorable for me. I was looking for something out of the ordinary. When Timberlake ran up into the stands, I thought he was going to fly back onto the field or re-appear somewhere else. I didn’t think it was going to end right there. I was also holding out for a special guest or a viral moment (besides the kid looking down at his phone). The show was good, but it wasn’t great.

Ten years from now I will remember very little, if anything, about Super Bowl LII. Heck, I don’t remember much from last year’s title game either. But it did make for a nice evening of Sunday entertainment.

**

I take partial blame for why I ultimately feel this way, but I was underwhelmed with last night’s “This Is Us” episode. Granted, I hyped it up way too much, even going as far as to blog about it. Perhaps my unrealistic expectations contributed to me briefly falling asleep during the final five minutes of the show. Although the show delivered a plot twist, it didn’t seem right to me that Jack died of smoke inhalation. Sure, it was triumphant when he busted out of the burning house with dog in tow after the family thought he was a goner, but his demise just seemed too melodramatic. I don’t want to offer up alternative ways that the show could have killed him off because that is morbid, but I think the way they did it missed the mark.

The futuristic angle at the end of the show (I was able to rewind and get caught back up after dozing off) was interesting. I am intrigued to see how they work with it in later episodes. When the Pearson siblings are depicted as their 37-year-old selves, it is in our present day as they mention current events going on in the world currently through background televisions (i.e. last night’s Super Bowl) so I am curious to see how they explain this new futuristic wrinkle.

I must say that I have had my emotional strings tugged a lot harder in several previous episodes than last night’s. But at least the mystery was solved and we can now move forward.

—————-

Thank you, NBC, for giving us about 6 hours of programming last night. It was quite the ride. With the Winter Olympics right around the corner, let the ratings bonanza continue. Don’t Blink.

Not Pumped For PyeongChang

Knowing that it isn’t my favorite, Sidney aimed to get a little more specific earlier this weekend when she asked me the following:

“Why don’t you like the Winter Olympics?”

To be honest, it isn’t that I necessarily don’t like the Winter Olympics per se, but they just pale so much in comparison to the Summer Olympics. I won’t get into the specifics because I have written about this at length many different times over the years. But, in general, the winter games just lack the diversity and history of the summer version. With fewer than 100 years of history under its belt (the winter games didn’t start until 1924!) the Winter Olympics offer significantly less countries, less sports, and less athletes than its summer counterpart. To me, an Olympiad that is made up of only seven sports and represents just a small fraction of the globe does not deserve my full and undivided attention.

The Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics just don’t even compare.

However, some years I do find myself getting more excited for the winter games than usual. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the 2018 Winter Olympics. With this year’s edition in PyeongChang, a country that is 14 hours ahead of Myrtle Beach time, the delayed coverage will once again make the games seem out of touch. The buzz leading into the games is dramatically lacking as well. These games seem to lack star power and, with the exception of North Korean and South Korea displaying unity, there isn’t a juicy controversy to grab our interest. Perhaps most depressing of all, Bob Costas won’t even be hosting this year’s games.

Of course, there are some positives. This will be Sloan’s first Olympics. Also, if Sidney and I have just a quarter of the amount of fun we had watching the 2016 games, we will have some enjoyable nights together in front of the TV. And, just because the winter games mean significantly less on a global scale than the summer games do, we will still get to hear that powerful Olympic theme music over and over. Lastly, I will always eat up the pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies.

Sorry to be a downer. Don’t get me wrong, I will still watch the Winter Olympics over the next two and a half weeks. But don’t get too bent out of shape if I admit that I am more excited for Celebrity Big Brother than I am about the skiing and curling in PyeongChang. Don’t Blink.

A Super Thursday Rundown

It has been a crazy week at our household with illnesses and weird schedules. I hope everyone else is staying away from the flu and stomach virus and entering February with a clean bill of health. Let’s get started with the Thursday Rundown…

Custom Ring – The company called HeidiJHale spent A LOT of money on Facebook advertising during the holiday season because it seemed like every girl in the country was served the ad for its handwritten rings over the course of December. Well, HeidiJHale managed to find Sidney’s iPhone as well because it wasn’t long before she told me she wanted one of the rings. The inscription she wanted? Don’t Blink. How sweet is that?! The fact that she wanted my motto on a piece of jewelry genuinely touched me. Although I didn’t purchase the ring for Christmas, I did for her birthday. You write the inscription you want on a piece of paper, take a photo of it, upload it on the company’s website, and choose a ring size. Below is how it turned out.

I did an awful job at minimizing the shadows but this is Sid’s ring on her finger.

February – Usually you will see me write “I love the month of _________ because…”. I can’t say the same about February. Probably my least favorite month on the calendar, I usually say the only redeeming quality about February is that it is short. But as I wrote two years ago, I need to do a better job at being optimistic about this time of the year. With that said, I am ready to take on this month. Over the next four weeks I will look forward to watching the Super Bowl, seeing a former co-worker from Montana, going on a special weekend trip with Sid to Charlotte, beginning the holy season of Lent, and trying to be the best dad possible to Sloan.

Soda Review – This past weekend, I made the $1 impulse purchase at Walmart Market and brought home Mt. Dew ICE. The description reads “lemon lime flavored soda with a splash of juice.” Can’t say the lemon lime part was a lie but I could detect absolutely no taste of fruit juice. Other than just capitalizing on the Mt. Dew brand, I have no idea why it isn’t called Sierra Mist ICE. The soda tastes identical to Mist or Sprite. In fact, there is less of a Mt. Dew taste than there is a juice taste. Even though it is just a glorified lemon lime soda, it still wasn’t terrible to drink.

This is Mt. Dew ICE but it should be called Sierra Mist ICE.

Super Bowl LII – The major question of this Super Bowl is not whether Philadelphia can upset New England but whether how much of the game Sloan will actually let me watch. Just kidding. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I hope the Eagles spoil Tom Brady’s quest for another ring. To be honest, I didn’t watch the NFL this season but will be tuning in for the big game and for the entertainment that surrounds it on Sunday. I will watch from the comfort of my own home, most likely surrounded by junk food. Oh, by the way, I still think the Super Bowl should be played on Saturday.

Sloan at 46 Weeks – As many of you know, it has been a tough week for Sloan. She battled a stomach virus over the weekend and has used the week to heal as the sickness did a number on her little stomach. I was convinced that this was the week she would walk and learn to read but her illness put those aspirations on hold. At 46 weeks old, she has just 44 days left in her first year.

This is Sloan’s 46-week photo collage.

———————-

Have a great weekend, everyone. Enjoy the game and I will catch up with you soon. Don’t Blink.

An NFL Conglomeration in Myrtle Beach

An interesting thing about living in Myrtle Beach is that when it comes to the NFL, pretty much every single team in the league has a contingent of fans in our area.

There are a couple main reasons for this. First, South Carolina doesn’t have its own NFL franchise. Back when I lived in Montana, a state that also doesn’t have a team, there was a hodgepodge of teams that received support from citizens. 

But what makes Myrtle Beach so different is not just our status as a tourist town but as a transplant destination. Sometimes it seems as if my wife is the only local left (and technically she isn’t a local – she is from Marion). People relocate here from all over the country, with an especially high concentration of folks “from up North.”

Mix these factors with the overwhelming popularity of the NFL (well, at least before this year) and you have a city that looks like it is hosting the league’s all-star game each year. Go to an area Walmart on a late Sunday morning and you will witness a jersey convention.

Although I like the synergy that is generated in a city or town that is united by its support for the local pro team, living in a place with fans from every conference and division within the NFL is cool too. You get to observe the tendencies of different fanbases and find out who the true hardcore supporters are.

The best part, however, about the diverse NFL rooting interests is that you will always have friends who have a team in the Super Bowl. If my Seattle Seahawks aren’t going to be in the big game, I at least want to see teams make it that are supported by people I actually like.

As you can imagine, once “This Is Us” starts on Sunday night I will know people who are crying for reasons not relating to Jack’s death and people with the audacity to skip the show altogether because they want to celebrate with people other than Randall and Kate.

Hope my Patriots and Eagles friends enjoy the game on Sunday. Although I love them both, hopefully my Philly friends will be the ones taking a raincheck on “This Is Us.” Don’t Blink.

BabyFirst TV

I think a reason why I make it a big deal to read so much to Sloan is because in the back of my head I feel it will counteract all the TV we let her watch. I can admit that the television screen works wonders when it comes to settling her down for bed or when mommy and daddy need to buy some time.

Don’t worry, it is not like we give Sloan the remote and let her channel surf. Rather, she primarily watches one station: BabyFirst TV.

BabyFirst TV is an extremely popular station in the Reser household.

If you have never heard of BabyFirst TV, good for you! Well, I don’t want to frame it as such a bad thing. Let me be up front and say this…Sloan absolutely loves the programming. However, for adults, it can really start to wear on you over time.

In my opinion, BabyFirst TV offers a slightly bizarre range of programming. Stars of the network include a puppet bunny with freakishly large hands, three mice that look like Chuck E. Cheese rejects, and a blue rip off of Kermit the Frog. Much of the footage of actual people is embarrassingly outdated (A common question Sid and I ask each other: When do you think this was filmed?). If you do happen to watch something you like, don’t worry, it will be aired again in just a couple hours. BabyFirst TV is a station ripe with questionable characters and constant repetition.

Sloan loves the mice of the BabyFirst TV show, “Squeak.”

Then again, the station is not about me (except for the same 3-4 commercials that are targeted at parents all hours of the day). It shouldn’t matter to me that the closed captioning is inaccurate, the graphics at commercial breaks have spelling errors, and some of the rhyming is questionable at best. From what I have heard, and what should matter most, BabyFirst TV excels at using bright colors and upbeat music while teaching such skills as counting and vocabulary.

Although I can’t confirm that those lessons are resonating with Sloan, we do know for a fact that at the very least she enjoys watching the shows just for the heck of it. She can be crawling across the living room in the opposite direction of the television and the moment one of the jingles plays she will stop what she is doing and turn a full 180 to watch the screen. She can be fussy and nothing will seem to please her until we put her in bed with us and turn on BabyFirst TV. We can be driving back from Murrells Inlet and we can keep her happy during the long drive by using one of our phones to bring up a BabyFirst show on YouTube.

So, who cares if the programming is annoying or if she is learning anything? At least it keeps her happy, right?

Now it is time for a confession. Even though I don’t necessarily get excited about watching BabyFirst TV, I do have a soft spot for the sing-along show that comes on late at night. If Sloan happens to be up around 10 p.m., we will watch it together and I will sing to her. On most nights, it will finally put her to sleep.

One final confession. Because I have seen the same shows over and over and over and over, it seems as if the level of annoyance is starting to fade. Instead, a sense of comfort and fondness seems to replace it, even when I see the same “Harry the Bunny” episode or listen to the “Peek-A-Boo” song for the millionth time. I definitely can’t say that about Sidney’s reality shows. Don’t Blink.

A Sick Birthday

Well, it wasn’t the birthday my dear wife had envisioned. We spent the past weekend tending to Sloan, who had come down with a stomach virus. We had hoped that Friday and Saturday would have given our baby daughter enough time to fend off the bug. However, come Sidney’s birthday on Sunday, Sloan was still fighting it.

It was not the birthday that Sid had envisioned.

Even though not feeling well, Sloan was a great sport on her mommy’s special day. Our little family had a nice birthday celebration in the morning. Later that day, Sid’s parents came over for a bit and gave Sidney gifts and brought over cupcakes. About 30 minutes or so after they left, around 5 p.m., I felt something that is unmistakable (and uncomfortable).

Sloan might have been sick this past weekend but she was still cute! (photo taken on Saturday).

Despite not throwing up since my teens, except for maybe once or twice when I celebrated a little too hard in my early 20s, I had that feeling in my gut that I was sick. At least 13 years since I last had a vomit-inducing illness, I stood in our living room pale-faced and uttered those cliché words to Sidney: I think I am going to be sick.

And sick I was. Every 45 minutes or so I was making trips to the bathroom, becoming re-acquainted with the unpleasant vomit reflex. Knowing that I would be in no shape for a Monday morning at the office, for the first time in my professional career, I had to call in sick for an illness that was related to myself.

Throughout this all, Sidney was doing double duty. She took my temperature, brought me Ginger Ale, tucked me into bed, checked up on me regularly, and did all she could to make me feel better. Even though she had her hands full with me, she never stopped giving Sloan the attention and care she needed. Before I retreated to our bed, Sidney looked at me and said, “I need to take care of my family,” and promptly put in for a substitute so she could stay with us on Monday. Throughout the night she tended to her husband and daughter.

After all Sidney did, how was she repaid?

You guessed it.

At around 5:30 a.m. this morning, Sid had come down with the stomach virus herself. Our whole family was officially sick. Sid’s parents graciously took Sloan from us so we could work on getting better ourselves. Perhaps the only silver lining is that Sid was shielded from sickness until her birthday was officially over? I know, not funny.

Thankfully, there really is a such thing as the 24 hour bug. I am feeling much better after a tough night. Sidney and Sloan are both on the mend too. We are still a sick household but we are feeling better.

I am so thankful for a wife that sacrificed her own health on her birthday to take care of both of us. I am thankful to my in-laws for taking care of Sloan when her parents were both under the weather. Here’s to continued healing! Don’t Blink.

Thursday Rundown Before Sid’s Birthday

Okay, I prepared you for it last evening and tonight we can officially start the 10 day countdown until the most highly anticipated “This Is Us” episode in its history. But while you must wait until Feb. 4 to watch the show, you don’t have to wait at all for my latest Thursday Rundown. Here we go…

What Do You Call Mixed Soda – Let’s start this countdown with a debate! Growing up, I would always get really excited if my parents let us drink soda at a fast food restaurant. My excitement would then skyrocket even more if the joint happened to have a “serve yourself” soda fountain. I would go down the line of flavors, filling my cup up with a little bit of them all. When my mom asked me what pop (because that is what we called it) I chose, I would respond with “graveyard.” My wife, on the other hand, calls that recipe “suicide.” What do you call it? Please let me know because I am genuinely interested.

Last night, I asked my followers what they call a mixture made up of various soda flavors.

The Godfather – I am a big fan of the gangster/mafia films of the 1990s (think “Goodfellas’ and “Casino”). However, somehow I managed to live three decades without ever seeing not just the best Italian mob movie ever made but perhaps the best movie ever made period. Over the course of three nights, I watched “The Godfather” on our bedroom TV. Although probably not the best movie to fall asleep to, I don’t remember having any dreams where I was strangled from behind. In all seriousness, this 1972 classic was great and I am thankful that Netflix has both sequels available so I can soon watch those as well.

A Subway Deal – As a major Subway fan, I am sympathetic to the fact that the chain is going through rough times. In a way to change the negative narrative floating around, Subway started offering $4.99 footlong sandwiches this month. That is a whole penny less than the $5 footlong promotion that Subway was able to offer for so long before raising prices. Of course the deal is only good on a select number of sandwiches but lucky for me my two favorites, the cold cut combo and spicy Italian, are both part of it.

This is me last Friday night holding half of my Spicy Italian Subway sandwich that was just $4.99.

Sloan at 45 Weeks – Oh my gosh, Sloan has lived for 86.5% of a year! The best part of the week came this morning when she looked right at me and said “DA-DA.” Sloan can now say the titles of both her parents because If you read last week’s update, you know she said “MA-MA” clear as day to Sidney. The people at daycare say she is assertive and knows what she wants. We are still struggling to get her to give more attention to her actual toys than her preferred “toys” of cords, paper, remote controls, and her hairbrush. After a couple weeks of rough nights, Sloan is back to going down easily when it is time for bed and then sleeping through the night.

Comedy and Music – On January 25, 2010, I went with my friends to watch comedian Gabriel Iglesias perform. He was funny but his act was almost the exact same as his televised special that was circulating on Comedy Central at the time. To this day, it is the only comedy act I have ever bought a ticket to. On January 25, 2013, I attended a Rascal Flatts concert. The Band Perry was the opening act. It was a show that I wasn’t blown away by but I also wasn’t disappointed by it either.

This date also happens to be popular one for my blog. A year ago, I wrote about my AWFUL fashion sense. Two years ago, I gave my best tip on how to enjoy a televised sporting event. Three years ago, I recapped my first ever trip to Charlotte as we went to the Queen City for Sid’s birthday. Read what you want!

Both these photos are awful but I did take them personally at both events. Gabriel Iglesias performed at The Wilma in Missoula, Mt. and Rascal Flatts performed at the Adams Center in Missoula.

——————

Happy early birthday to Sidney! We will celebrate her special day this Sunday. I am sure she would appreciate any birthday wishes you care to give her. Have a great weekend everyone! Don’t Blink.

On Feb. 4, Our Questions Will Be Answered

It is about time! At the conclusion of last night’s “This Is Us” episode, a voiceover informed us that “all your questions will be answered” when the series resumes on Super Bowl Sunday after the game. Although that means we still have 11 days to wait, at least we now know for sure that on February 4 we will learn how the dad died.

Not that it doesn’t seem obvious. If we take the clues given from the previous “This Is Us” episodes, especially the one last night, it would seem logical that Jack meets his demise when he re-enters the house to save the family dog. But who are we kidding? The “This Is Us” writers are known for misdirection and curve balls so perhaps a big surprise awaits us.

As the greatest television mystery is about to be solved, I want to thank “This Is Us” for giving my family something to look forward to every week. Our “Reser Pride 4.0” group message becomes pretty active on Tuesday mornings as we text about how excited we are for that night’s show. Sid and I get to watch it first on the east coast. After sending a message to the group on whether it was a “good” or “bad” episode, we go to bed. My brother and sister then watch it on the west coast. My parents are late to the party as they usually DVR it and watch it later in the week.

After everyone has watched the latest episode, we then discuss it. We are all pretty enthusiastic about “This Is Us” except for my dad, who claims he hates it, but we all think he secretly likes it. Although we have the characters we enjoy (Kevin for me) and those who we loathe (Toby for me), we all can admit that everyone in the cast contributes to an engaging show.

There is so much I can say about “This Is Us” but I will just point out a few thoughts I have on the show.
– I find it impressive and borderline freaky that the children who play Kate, Kevin, and Randall are spot on representations of their adult characters.
– Since having Sloan, I get a little emotional watching the Jack-Kate dynamic. He treats his daughter with so much love and compassion.
– I thought last night’s episode was excellent which I appreciated because I thought the last two episodes, especially the one from last week, missed the mark.
– I am crossing my fingers that the doctor who delivered the Pearson kids will make an appearance in this upcoming episode – he is my favorite recurring character!
– Anyone else not really feeling the Randall/Beth apartment renovating angle? I know it is probably supposed to parallel Jack/Rebecca planning to flip a house but it just seems like a stretch.
– I personally root for Miguel!

Tomorrow we can start the 10 day countdown. You can bet there will be some chatter about it on the Reser Pride 4.0 group message! Don’t Blink.

Ranking The Most Ridiculous Reality TV Shows My Wife Watches

A reason why Sidney and I have a successful marriage is because, for the most part, our differences compliment each other. However, there is one area where our differences clash. What point of contention am I speaking of?…

TV genre preferences.

I enjoy watching sports and documentaries while Sid prefers a television diet that is based heavily on reality TV. While she has converted me to the dark side with some reality shows, there are other programs that I simply have a very hard time tolerating. I am good with several of the reality options on the major networks but once she starts going up the TV dial we run into some stations that have shows I don’t necessarily embrace.

In tonight’s blog post, I would quickly like to list the reality TV programs that Sidney really enjoys but I don’t. For the sake of this post, I am not calling any of these shows “stupid” or “dumb.” Rather, I will just label them ridiculous. So, in order of escalating ridiculousness, here is my list of the five “reality” TV shows I don’t really care for.

5. Keeping Up with the Kardashians – This is the series that blazed the way for the onslaught of shows dealing with people who are on TV solely because they are rich. When we first started dating, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is the show I remember Sidney watching the most. Although I find the sisters attractive, it doesn’t excuse the fact that the show is about absolutely nothing. Because the show manages to conjure up some pleasant memories and because every member of the cast has been crafty enough to maximize the exposure he/she has received, I will put it as the #5 spot on the countdown. But don’t get me wrong, it is still bad!

 4. Don’t Be Tardy – I hated to put this show on the list because it stars Kroy Biermann, a former University of Montana football player who was a student-athlete for the Griz during my days there. But I just can’t bring myself to get any enjoyment out of the show. It doesn’t seem real to me and I have yet to identify any type of plot, adversity, or redeeming value within it. Kim, a former cast member on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” co-stars with Kroy and you will learn shortly what I think about “The Real Housewives.” Sid has watched it for a long time but it hasn’t grown on me one bit.

 3. RelationShep – The low key version of “The Bachelor,” I get a little irritated watching this show. Is Shep so inept at finding someone on his own that he needs an entire show and numerous enablers to find him “the one”? It drives me nuts. The “producer” of the show has a prominent role in each episode and the conversations she has with Shep drive me crazy. The way that Shep acts like the world owes it to him to find his future wife rubs me the wrong way. The way he also talks about the hardships of finding his girl is not endearing either. Dude, don’t complain, you get to live a fantasy.

 2. Vanderpump Rules – Drama, drama, drama. Who knew working at a bar could be so taxing? This is another show that is just so far from reality that I can’t take it seriously. The entitlement and disregard for others shown by members of the cast makes me sick to my stomach. If I am going to watch a show about the bar industry, please give me “Bar Rescue.”

1. The Real Housewives of _____________ – I started drafting this blog post by starting down here with “The Real Housewives of _____________” (the blank space is intentional because I am lumping all the different cities into one) because this franchise catches my ire more than any other on television. I didn’t give it the Don’t Blink Emmy for Worst Reality TV Show back in September for nothing. Not even “Vanderpump Rules” can hold a candle to the greed, ego, and ridiculousness that oozes out of this series. To me, it seems like the same scene is acted out every episode…a group goes out to a restaurant for drinks and it ends with yelling, broken glassware, profanity, and tears. There is no trace of “reality” found within any of these spinoffs. The complaining, the fighting, and the disrespect drives me so crazy that I can’t bear to watch. Believe it or not, even though I give all the #2-#5 shows a tough time, I can still sit down and watch them with Sid. The same can’t be said for “The Real Housewives of _____________”.

——————–

Thankfully we have two televisions at our house. But, to be truthful, Sid and I manage just fine. She watches her “trash” (her term, not mine) primarily when I am doing something else. Likewise, I get my sports fix when she is asleep. We watch plenty of TV together and a vast majority of the time it is something we both enjoy. That reality TV though…

Don’t Blink.

Cheers to Monday Night Raw

No matter how you feel about professional wrestling, a pretty significant pop culture milestone will occur this evening. Monday Night Raw, the most well-known television program within the WWE brand, will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Tonight’s show is receiving attention from all the major media outlets in the country.

I would be remiss if I said the WWE did not play a major part in my childhood and early adolescence. How couldn’t it? One of the first live events my dad ever took me to was a WWF match in the old Spokane Coliseum. In the final bout of the evening, the Ultimate Warrior defeated the Undertaker by stuffing him in his own body bag! 

I am dating myself here, but as a 4-year-old I went to a WWF match and immediately became a fan.

From that moment on, I was captivated by professional wrestling. I had a WWF bedspread, countless wrestling figures, wrestling buddies, a miniature wrestling ring, and much more. Because Raw came on way past my bedtime, I would watch the Saturday morning WWF highlights show, my personal alternative to the cartoon programming everyone else my age watched.

My love for professional wrestling rubbed off on my brother. As he got old enough to understand the magic of WWF, the two of us consumed it together. On summer days, my mom would take us to Blockbuster and we would rent VHS tapes of past WWF Pay-Per-View events such as Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, and Summer Slam. We would hurry home, run down to the basement, and push the tape into the VCR. From there we would excitedly watch the matches while simultaneously wrestling each other. We would develop our own wrestling characters, choose our own entrance music, and conduct our own interviews. It was wild.

I was such a pro wrestling fanatic that I had a WWF bedspread and sheets.

Probably around the age of 11, my interest in professional wrestling started to wane a bit. I had sold a lot of my WWF toys in the yard sale and I was not as captivated by the matches I could now tell were fake. But it didn’t take long for professional wrestling to win me back.

The golden age of professional wrestling – the WWF vs. WCW wars, the Attitude Era, the introduction of adult themes – had quite the impression on a 12-year-old boy like myself. Pretty soon, Monday night went from my least favorite evening of the week to my favorite. Switching back and forth between Monday Night Raw and Monday Night Nitro, I could not get enough of the salacious storylines, the out of control ringside interviews, the escalating violence, the bad language, and…well…the divas.

The envelope was pushed on a weekly basis. It was the era of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, The Rock, Sable, Kane, and Vince McMahon – and that was just from the WWF side. Although I did enjoy the WCW and proudly sported an NWO shirt during those influential years, because of my early roots, I always favored what would become the WWE.

I eventually grew out of my professional wrestling obsession. It became too much of a gimmick for me. I don’t think anyone was happier than my parents. During those raunchy WWF years, they tried to censor my time watching wrestling as much as they could. For the past 15 years, besides the reality show “Tough Enough,” I don’t think I have watched more than an hour of WWE programming. I have read autobiographies on my favorite childhood wrestlers and I keep up with the business ventures of Vince McMahon, but I have no interest watching professional wrestling matches or keeping up with the insane “soap opera” storylines. Watching Monday Night Raw has not been on my schedule for a very long time.

Tonight might be different. I recognize the major influence professional wrestling had on me during my early years, especially Raw. As the WWE marks tonight’s anniversary, I might have to check in just to pay homage to a phenomenon that once gripped me. At the same time, I will also say a prayer of thanks for my fandom not extending past middle school. Don’t Blink.