It’s a Work: A Wrestler’s Prayer

           

A Wrestler’s Prayer

By Chuck LeGrande

 

            Lord, are you listening? Of course you are- you’re Lord.

            I’d like you to help me to be the very best wrestler I can be, and get the most out of whatever abilities I have. You probably don’t know as much about wrestling as you think you do, so I’ll be more specific.

            First, help me to avoid comparing myself to other workers. It gets me nowhere, Lord- and it only leads to bitterness. Sounding something like:

            “I’m a way better wrestler than John, so why don’t I have the success he has? Why am I not on TV? How am I not getting booked every week? Why does Bob get so much more attention than I do? What’s so great about Tom that he gets so much press? I am as good a worker and I don’t get any.

            Although, I’ll never be the worker Mary is. She’s got charisma I’ll just never have with a way of connecting to the fans that is beyond me. And Dick can really sell. I find myself believing everything he does and it makes me all the more aware of my own limitations. Jeff is a real pro- he is totally dedicated to what he does and spends twice as much time in the gym than I do. Maybe he has the right idea and I’m so lazy I don’t deserve to get anyplace in this business. And as for Lawrence…”

            Lord, let me remember that I’m not in competition with other workers. Whether they have more or less success has nothing to do with me. They do their thing and I do mine. The more time I spend thinking about them, the less I focus on what I’m doing. I wind up doubting myself, and all I do is worry.

            Help me, Lord, to be patient on my path. At the beginning, I may do things in a way I’d rather not. That’s because it may take me a while to find my own style and know how to really work. But I know I will get better.

            In the beginning I may have to travel very far for little or no money. I may have to lose every match and I may have to wrestle in front of very small crowds, but that will also get better.

            Yogi Berra said that baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical, and I believe this, Lord, to be true of pro wrestling as well. I believe every human being with the impulse to wrestle, or referee, or manage or promote, has within them the ability to do so. It may seem impossible, but I will prove to myself that nothing is.

            Of all the traits that will get me there, perhaps the most important is honesty. Help me, Lord, to be as honest as I’m capable of being every time I lace up my boots. I don’t mean by this that I should get in the ring and really lay into my opponent, or that I should be fighting legitimate fights. Wrestling is a work, but let my work express an inner truth.

            When I’m in the ring, let me truly entertain the people who bought tickets to be entertained. Let me not wrestle with my mind on anyone or anything else but the people in those seats and my opponent.

            It seems to be that a major factor in getting over lies in respecting the fans. Please, Lord, don’t ever allow me to hold the fans in contempt. Sometimes, Lord, I am tempted, because by calling a fan a dumb mark I am less intimidated by the task of trying to entertain him. But in the end, when I do this my work suffers.

            If I can’t get over with a certain kind of fan, maybe I’m leaping through the wrong hoop. If I can’t work another style without patronizing that style’s audience, I won’t be proud of my work, nor will I perform it well. If I can’t do high spots or fancy moves or get the biggest pops, let me stay true and respectful to my work and respectful to those I hope will appreciate it.

            Lord, let me always keep learning. When I don’t know something, give me the courage to ask, or at the very least, guide me safely to my own answer.

            Learning and making mistakes requires a certain degree of humility, Lord, and that’s a characteristic I could use more of. Every worker has an ego, and quite often they are fragile- which seems curious considering the colossal arrogance it takes to perform well. It takes arrogance, doesn’t it, to step inside a squared circle, in front of countless strangers in those seats, and expect to get them caught up in my act. I can’t think of much more arrogant than asking people to pay money so that they can boo me.

            Humility helps me keep myself in perspective. With this, successes and failures become easier to take. I’m able to see that wrestling can take or leave me. I can see then that perfection is not a realistic goal and all I can legitimately aspire to be is the best I can be.

            Please let me learn, Lord, to let it go at that. For as massive an ego as I carry, I shoulder just as much self loathing. I can be awfully hard on myself, Lord, and it serves no purpose. Give me the strength to get through life without it.

            Help me, Lord, to grow as a worker. There are so many opportunities to gain skills and knowledge just be keeping my mouth shut and my eyes and ears open. When I work someone who is better than me, enable me to learn from him. When I work someone with weaknesses, allow me to learn from those too.

            Give me the courage to take chances and not let fear stunt my growth as a worker and a person.

            Growth only comes at those times I extend myself and run risks. Sometimes I have failed, certainly, but help me to remember that I can learn from these failures, and that the experience will ultimately benefit me. And when I do take chances and fail yet again, let me remember so that the memory may soften the pain of failure.

            Let me be open to experience, Lord, in life and in the ring. And give me the courage to experience them fully and without destroying my body. There are drugs, Lord, which can help you to get stronger, get bigger and feel better. Some which can make you energized and some that can make you relax. Some wrestlers- some of them friends of mine, really have gone overboard and I worry that they will die from them. Please help both them and myself, Lord, to know that we don’t need drugs to wrestle and to keep us from addiction or abuse.

            Let me know, too, where my responsibilities as a wrestler begins and ends. Help me to concentrate my efforts on those aspects of my career which I can personally affect and let go of those over which I have no control. If I’m not up top or involved in an angle, let me wrestle my match without worrying about such things. My job is entertaining. What happens after that is somebody else’s job.

            Don’t let me forget, Lord, that acceptance and rejection aren’t all that important anyway. The chief reward of my work is the work itself. Success lies in the accomplishment, not in its fruits. If I entertain fans, I’m a success. Wealth and fame might be fun (or they might not) but they’re largely beside the point.

            And let me always be grateful, Lord, that I am a wrestler, that I’m actually doing the only work I’ve ever really wanted to do, and that I don’t need anyone’s permission to do it. Just someone to work and a ring to put us in.

            Thanks for all that and thanks for listening.

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