Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Big Blokes who Roll Around a Lot

Gavin and me "getting in the mood"

Gavin and I have been engaging in a battle of wills recently, where he decides he's not going to do something and refuses to back down. He seems to have inherited my stubbornness, which my parents would claim is ironic justice on me (sins of the father and all that), but I was hoping that our "boys night out" to see the WWE wrestling last night would be a bonding exercise and bring us closer together. Well we had a brilliant time, and I got to see a completely different side of him. I came away with the renewed realization that he is a really cool little dude, wonderful company and great fun to be around. It was like having a night out with your best buddy, and I hope we can build on it.

We arrived downtown early and I was shocked by the number of people already there. Who knew wrestling was so popular in Austin? We parked up a few blocks away in my parking garage, and I started building up the event by telling him things like "those wrestlers are so huge that every time they slam into the mat you can feel the whole building shake". Of course, this was a mistake as he teased me for the rest of the night. Every time one of the wrestlers got slammed, he looked at me with a sly grin and said "I didn't feel the building shake, daddy". It became our running joke for the evening.

The "people watching" was quite bizarre. There were the folks - like me - who were there with their kids. Then there were folks who I guess were there out of curiosity. And then there were the folks who were really into it.

Gavin didn't believe me when I told him there would be a lot of people who brought signs to wave, and when we started seeing them he turned to me and said (somewhat witheringly and sarcastically) "ooh look, they drew them with crayons".

There were folks there wearing wrestling t-shirts, there were folks there decked out like their favorite wrestlers. And there were grown men walking around with "championship belts" slung over their shoulders (yeah, I didn't quite get that one either).

The Gavster and I didn't have to say anything - we just exchanged looks and that was enough.

We got into the arena and found that we had wonderful seats. We were in the front row in the upper tier. The entire row consisted of just our two seats, so it was like we had our own private box with a great view.

There were vendors walking around selling their wares, and Gavin imitated their calls of "cotton candy" to perfection - he got the inflection just right, drawing out the long first syllable of "cotton". Then folks started making "wooo" noises that spread across the auditorium, which he enjoyed joining in with.

Then it all settled down and went quiet.

Of course, Gavin doesn't like quiet so he cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted out "woo". A few people in our section called out in reply, so Gavin stood up, turned around, did it again and raised his arms to encourage a response. And this time he got it rolling as the entire section started whooping. And then it spread all around the building like a Mexican wave.

Gavin was delighted. He looked at me and said "daddy, watch this". Then he cupped his hands to his mouth again, yelled "cooootton candy" and raised his arms to encourage the crowd. Sure enough everyone yelled back "cooootton candy" and then that too spread around the building.

Sitting there watching Gavin work the crowd I got a sudden premonition of the future. Instead of my little 5 year old, I was looking at college-age party Gavin - much more magnetic and charismatic than I could ever hope to be. I am so proud of him - he has such a clear awareness and idea of who he is at an early age. It's going to be such a fun journey, and he is well worth any and all sacrifices we will make for him and his brother along the way.

When the show started, Gavin really got into it. He got up and danced to the music, he bounced up and down in his seat, jumped up and down, gestured and yelled at all the good bits, and spent a fair amount of time sitting on my lap with my arms around him chattering away excitedly.

The biggest draw they had was a wrestler called John Cena, who also happens to be Gavin's favorite. Every time they showed John Cena on the big screen, the whole crowd went crazy. And when he finally came out for the last match of the evening the roof just about came off. I could see why he was so popular - the guy was just a ball of energy that infused the crowd ("unbridled enthusiasm" as Seinfeld would say).

He was in a tag team match against a team that included another of Gavin's favorites - an Irish baddie called Seamus. At the end of the match (which Cena's team won) everybody started leaving. We were filing out too when suddenly there was an unexpected extra match added to the card, with John Cena fighting one of the defeated tag team bad guys one-on-one (a wrestler called "Edge", who had been involved in chicanery all night). As luck would have it we were in a great position so I lifted Gavin up and he had a superb view of the match. Of course John Cena won, so we all went home happy.

As we walked hand-in-hand back to my garage, we laughed about the evening, swapped our favorite moments and just enjoyed spending time with each other. Gavin fell asleep in the car on the way home, so I got to finish off a perfect evening by carrying him into the house and putting him to bed.

A silly evening, but such fun. That's what being a dad is all about.


John said...

Great post Marky, what a brilliant night

Anonymous said...

yuppers, it defintely leaves an impression, I think when he goofs off you need to wave your hand in front of your face and say "You can't see me"...but the bonding was priceless:)


David Jacobson said...

Awesome guys night out!