By Michael Waterloo
Of The Spirit
In my time here at The Punxsutawney Spirit, I think my favorite piece that I've produced was my column about high school wrestling.
This year, I finally understood the sport, but more importantly, I gained a new respect for the sport and the athletes.
Instead of dreading the matches, I looked forward to them.
After Joel Bowers and Kaleb Young bowed out at Hershey, I found myself missing the sport of wrestling.
While it's nowhere near the same thing, I started watching professional wrestling again.
Now, I can't exactly say I'm proud of it, but man, did I miss it.
The high school season ended right about the time that Vince McMahon introduced the WWE Network.
Sometimes, if I have trouble sleeping, I'll go on YouTube and watch numerous "classic" matches until I drift away.
Once I found out that the WWE Network would have every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view at its disposal, I was sold.
After a few weeks watching the programming they have on the app, I found it pretty neat, and yes, I did use it to get to sleep at times.
But like most people, I was waiting eagerly and nervously, if I may add, for the biggest event of the year — Wrestlemania 30.
Like any self-respecting, 27-year-old would do (note the sarcasm), I planned a Wrestlemania viewing party.
After a weekend trip to visit the girlfriend's family in Lancaster, Pa., two of my oldest friends from high school — Joe and Chris — made the plan to travel to Clarion to watch the event.
I enticed my girlfriend with food to stick around, but I have a feeling she regrets that decision.
More on that later.
So the WWE Network app is loaded up and ready, and Chris called me to let me know he was outside of my apartment complex.
I go out and, of course, he has a skin-tight "Stone Cold" Steve Austin shirt on, a fake WWE championship belt and a pair of U.S.A. sunglasses on.
Joe too dressed for the occasion, as he had his "Deadman, Inc." shirt on in support of the Undertaker.
Me, you ask?
I had on my LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles shirsey, but apparently I didn't dress the part.
We settled in, ordered the food, started making friendly wagers on the different matches — not that we couldn't find the results online or anything — and took in the opening match.
When Daniel Bryan came out to face Triple-H, Joe and I pointed our index fingers to the sky, and said, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
It was at this time that my phone vibrated, and I saw a Tweet mentioning me coming from my girlfriend's account.
"@blayneisblayne — After seeing his behavior during #WrestleMania, I have never been more mortified or ashamed to be dating @MichaelWaterloo."
You see, two 27-year-olds and one 26-year-old getting excited about wrestling just wasn't impressive to her.
She was, frankly, mortified.
She was glad we were having fun, but if I didn't have that nice pizza in front of her, I'm pretty sure that she would have performed the "Sister Abigail" on me, followed by the "Yes-lock."
You see, people will say a lot about professional wrestling, and for awhile there, when I stopped watching it, I agreed with them.
It was stupid, and it was staged.
But then I got to thinking about it.
What's the difference between watching wrestling for a guy, and a girl watching Teen Mom, The Kardashians or any other "reality" show.
We all know they aren't real, but we get invested in them for entertainment purposes.
When I saw that Brock Lesnar snapped the Undertaker's 21-0 Wrestlemania streak, my jaw was hanging as low as the people in the Superdome.
Or, if you're Hulk Hogan, the "Silverdome...brother."
We were all in shock and couldn't believe it, but how is it different from being "appalled" by the woman that Juan Pablo picked or didn't pick on The Bachelor?
Wrestlemania featured the changing of the guard, as it was out with the old and in with the new.
Undertaker, Triple H, Dave Batista, Randy Orton, The New (Old?) Age Outlaws and Kane all lost.
Bryan, The Shield, The Wyatt Family and Antonio Cesaro all starred.
For that night, I remembered why I enjoyed the entertainment value so much.
By the end, Chris even said maybe he will start watching it again.
Sure enough, at 8 p.m. on Monday, I got a text from him talking about Monday Night Raw.
Thankfully, for her sake, Blayne doesn't watch any of the reality TV shows that were aforementioned.
We enjoy watching Scandal, Workaholics, Jimmy Fallon and Impractical Jokers together.
I don't expect her to enjoy wrestling or even watch it with me, but I can say that after Wrestlemania, when given the chance, I'll be tuning in to watch a bunch of middle-aged men "fight."
OK, got to go.
I have to find some more pizza to cheer her up after this column before she channels her inner Roman Reigns and delivers the "Superman" punch.