By Kate Carney
My first training felt great, and I was only still sore in 3 or 4 places, but the night before my next training I got anxious it again. I had dreams about needing to put my ankle brace back on for the first time in months while simultaneously wrestling and getting the worst dye job in the history of hair, naturally I brought my ankle brace to training with me just incase. All this dream anxiety reminded me to plan for that unbelievable 20-minute detour that caused me so much stress last time. I caught an extra early bus knowing I’d be waiting at least 20 minutes for my transfer but wouldn’t be late. Lo and behold, the detour is over and my 20 minute is now either a 50 minute bus wait, or arriving an hour early to class (instead of the already planned in 30 minutes early). Both of these options make me feel nervous. In case you haven’t grasped this trend yet, I’m kind of a huge worrier.
As I put more and more trainings under my belt I kept up the positive improvements, making some progress, but also usually some back slide and as a whole my class progressed we started getting more people coming in to work with us, as well as homework assignments every week. Sometimes we would have to watch matches and come back with critiques, sometimes we’d have to bring in moves we wanted to learn how to do, often we had to get ready to give promos (a wrestling promo is like a spoken performance given by a wrestler designed to get the crowd interested in an upcoming match), and once we even had to do a research paper.
The other trainees and I were asked to help out with the shows as Ring Crew, and going into the first show was really nerve wracking for all the trainee’s, meeting all the wrestlers for the first time and doing a lot of jobs we’d never done before. We have to arrive at the shows hours early, and unload the trucks, build the ring, set up the venue, set up chairs, work security, staff the merchandise table, sell programs, break it all back down, pack everything, and reload the trucks, and clean, as well as being available to do anything else asked of us while listening to everything we can from the experienced wrestlers. It’s great, despite the slivers. The length of this list has nothing on the time that goes into completing it, because building a wrestling ring may be one check box, but there are countless steps that need to be completed by several people at once, in addition to the steps that can only be done by one person at a time. Not to mention, we had to learn all of this on the fly and it was amazing.
After each show we helped with it got less and less stressful, and we all started to feel comfortable with our responsibilities. For me, I spent most of my time there working at the merchandise table, and while the fist night was a bit of a tragedy as was a last minute assignment and I didn’t really know what I was doing, I learned quickly to bring cash envelopes with me, and have a list of prices for all the different wrestlers that I can hand off to anyone who needs to work the merchandise table in the future, if you name a wrestler in DOA I can probably tell you much their shirt costs.
Professional wrestling is very clearly it’s own world with it’s own long history and customs and I am not part of it yet, and always being on your toes is tiring, but I have every intention of learning as much as I could. And it wasn’t too long until I was feeling more (though not entirely) comfortable in this culture.