Writing For Rodney – Day 23

The 1986 World Series. The Boston Red Sox vs the New York Mets. The red Sox had FINALLY made it back to the World Series. Since their last win in 1918, they had only made it to the series three other times, the last being in 1975, when I was two years old, and they lost that one to the Cincinnati Reds, who were led by Pete Rose. What a story that guy had. A few months ago I was in Las Vegas and walked past a memorabilia store and he was there signing autographs. The shop was completely empty, except for the people working there. It reminded me on the record store appearance fro Spinal Tap, except this was even more sad. When are they gonna let Pete back into Baseball? HE should be in the Hall of Fame already, dammit. Charlie Hustle!!!

So, 1986 World Series. All that believing was looking like it was finally going to pay off. The Red Sox took a commanding lead bye winning the first tow games, both in New York. The series then moved to Boston for a couple of games, where the Red Sox took both games at Shea Stadium.

Game 5 found the teams back in Boston for the oh-so-important rubber match. Boston took that one and with that, moved to within one game of the World Series.  They went back to Shea Stadium in Queens to try and close out the series, and close out the Curse of the Bambino. That’s the name sports fans gave to the Red Sox inability to win a World Series since their team owner had sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees back in 1919. Closing out the series in New York wasn’t going to be easy, but they had already beat the Mets twice on their home turf earlier in the series, so, well, we had to believe that they could do it again.

It was a see-saw game, and tense as all hell. Boston scored a run in the first inning and another in the second to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. They held the Mets scoreless until the 5th inning when they scored a couple to tie it up. That’s when the dread and tension really set in. THEY CAN’T MESS THIS UP!!!!!

I remember watching this game, clear as day. We were all gathered in our family room. Watching on our 19” RCA color TV set. I was sitting on the red shag carpet right in front of the TV. Hoping, Praying, Cajoling, BELIEVING. Hoping against hope.

Boston scored again in the 7th to take the lead 3-2 and my house, my block, me neighborhood, damn the entire city and STATE basically exploded. It felt like there had been an earthquake. No joke.

Then in. The bottom of the 8th The red Sox walked Keith Hernandez to load the bases and Gary Carter caste up to bat. Carter hit a deep fly to left field, that was caught, but it was deep enough to score Lee Mazilli. As much as we had all celebrated when the Red Sox took the lead, equal was the amount of despair that filled the entirety of New England when the Mets ties the game. In retrospect, I guess we should have known at that moment. That the Red Sox couldn’t keep a good thing going. That they would end up letting us down. But we kept believing.

We kept believing right up through the end of the regulation 9 innings, where the game was locked in a stalemate at 3 runs a piece. So now we were off to extra inning. And oh boy this was NOT a good feeling. Back in those days, we were told to believe, but nobody ever did. Everyone around me, especially the adults, who had lived trough this their entire lives, exuded not confidence, but panic, when things got tight. And this moment was boo different.

And then it happened. The top of the tenth. Dave Henderson knocked the second pitch of the inning out of the park to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Then Wade Boggs doubled and was knocked in by second basemen Marty Barrett. ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE. The whole of New England was fired up again. TWO RUNS IN THE TENTH. SURELY, they couldn’t muck this one up, right?!?!?!

But these were the Boston Red Sox we were talking about.  And if there was a way to lose, these guys would find it, or die trying. What happened next though, was almost literally unbelievable.  The Red Sox retried the first two batters of the inning and were only ONE OUT AWAY from a World Series Championship. Another earthquake hit and we were all on the edge of our shag carpet perches waiting for the final out.  And then it started to unravel. Gary Carter lined a single into left field which was followed by a single by Kevin Mitchell. Ray Knight singled, scoring Gary Carter and bringing <Mitchell to third base. The tying run was on rd. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN!?!?!

But it was OK, because awe had an ace in the hole. The Red Sox brought in their lights out reliever Bob Stanley, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in the entire series. Nothing could stop us now!!!!

Until Mookie Wilson stepped to the plate. The typically unflappable Stanley threw a ball in the dirt which allowed Mitchell to score and advanced Ray Knight to third. Not it was tied. In. Extra innings. The bottom on the 10th. How in the hell did we get here. The Red Sox had just been within a whisper of winning there. world series, and now they were about to give the game away.

To see what happened next, you’ve just got to watch… It defies words at this point…

Bill Bucker let the game roll right between his legs. A decorated veteran of the Major Leagues. A complete pro. Failed in the biggest moment of his career. And the Red Sox lost the game. And along with it, all of their Mojo. The Mets rolled to victory in game 7 and took the World Series. It was a foregone conclusion at that point. Sure, there was gonna be a game 7, but none of us believed, any longer, that the Red Sox had a chance.

Nothing was ever the same again for me. I lost all respect for the red Sox, and for the City of Boston, in that one moment. And that’s why Im a New Yorker now…

To Be Continued…

Writing For Rodney – Day 22

The Boston Red Sox. There’s almost no team in the history of pro sports that’s more divisive. Once upon a time they were my favorite team. Dad took me to games as a kid. Once a year.  One of my fondest memories of childhood was going into Boston with my dad for a “take your brat to work day” He took a half day off and we left his office around noon, and when I asked what the plan was he said “The Red Sox are playing an afternoon game. Let’s go to that!” I was blown away. I remember we were able to walk right up to the box office and buy two tickets not far behind home plate. Man, those were the days.

Every year Dad would take m e to at least one game. Maybe a few times we got to go to a 2nd game. On the rare occasion one of the rich people my family knew had a paid that they couldn’t use. Which back oil the 70s and 80s, was a real rarity. Even the people who we knew that were “rich” were only rich in comparison to us.

I can’t figure out what’s going on with the economy nowadays. I certainly never felt poor growing up. We didn’t have a ton of money, but we never missed meals. My dad was frugal, but I didn’t think he was cheap. We never ended up with the hot new things. We didn’t have fancy TVs or refrigerators, or redone kitchens. I remember being so jealous when I would go over to another friend’s house and see that they had a new fridge that was one of the brand new side by side models. Or when they had a fridge that dispensed water and ice from the door. THIS IS JUST LIKE A MOVIE I would think to myself. Years later, when I bought my first crib, I went out and bought a refrigerator that was BOTH side-by-side AND dispensed ice and water. Like a king in his castle I often thought to myself as I was filling up a glass of water. Didn’t even matter to me that it was just top water. The fact that it came OUT OF THE FRIDGE made me feel like a complete baller. Just makes me wonder how everybody seems to be rich nowadays. Everything is luxury. How the fuck is everyone affording all these luxury hotels, and condos, and never-ending airplane rides. A big part of the way I pay for my lifestyle is that I don’t have any kids, and don’t plan to. So Im not saving. For anyone’s college. Or buying diapers. Or wooing about private schools. And iPhones. And… Jesus man, why would anyone on earth choose to have children. Especially with the climate crises we are now facing.

Yeah sure, go drive a Prius. And take shorter showers, and carry around a re-useable water bottle.  That’s so cute that you think you’re saving the environment. When are people going to realize that we need to stop reproducing at such a rapid rate. Something’s got to happen to reverse the population explosion. If it doesn’t, then no amount of Priuses are going to help us. So, would everybody, PLEASE, for the sake of the planet, stop having more and more stupid kids. Mother Nature thanks you in advance.

Anyways, where was I? Oh right, the Boston Red Sox. Man, I was taught as a kid that the team was EVERYTHING. And about how we had to support them. Especially because they had a Polish guy on the team. Carl Yastrzemski. Who, oddly enough, goggle just told me is still alive. He felt old back when I was watching in the late 70s. He must look like Mr Burns now. The horror.

And we couldn’t stop hearing about Ted Williams, “the greatest ball player of all time!” Is what my entire extended family used to tell me. I guess they had all unilaterally decided to block out Babe Ruth after the owner of the red Sox sold him to the Yankees in what was the single dumbest move inn the history of pro sports, up until that time. This was way before the Dolans bought the Knicks and the Rangers, obviously.

Ted Williams was always held up as a super icon. As a guy who should have been the all time hits leader, but because he was drafted during WWII he ended up missing 5 seasons inn what would have ben his prime, and did it all to serve his country. That was all well and good, but to a 7 year old, that just sounded stupid. “Why would the Marines have taken such a good ball player?” I asked more than a few times. Nobody ever enjoyed that portion of my curiosity. 

But I still had this blind loyalty to the Red Sox. At that point in time, they hand’t won a world series since 1918. A fact that New Yorker’s at Yankee Stadium never let them forget. Every time the Red Sox would visit the entire stadium would break out into chants of “NINE-TEEN EIGHT-TEEN” But I was still taught that “You Gotta Believe!” Or some such crap, about how you couldn’t turn your back on the hometown team. None of this ever made any sense to me. I would continually ask “But why can’t we just root for a good team?!” Yet another aspect of my curiosity that was not at all popular.

But through it all, I blindly followed what my family taught me. After Bucky Dent hit that home run in 1978 to put the Red Sox world series dreams to sleep, I kept believing.  The following bunch of years were all huge disappointments, but I kept believing, of doing what I was told. Of blindly following orders, even if they were orders that were being set by example, I still didn’t feel right abut it. But I kept on cheering the losers.

It was 1979, after all, when Tom Petty released the classic “Even The Losers Get Lucky Sometime” I must have heard that and applied it to the Red Sox, trying to believe that If only I believed that it would finally come true. But before long, that whole fantasy came crashing down in spectacular fashion. The 1986 World Series.

To Be Continued…

Writing For Rodney – Day 21

The first pro football game I ever went to was the New England Patriots vs the New York Jets. Nowadays a classic rivalry, but back then they were just two tweets to me. The hometown team and the other guys.  The Patriots ended up beating the Jets 56-3, which, in any sport, would be a huge margin. On this day, it was a literal embarrassment for the Jets. But it was a complete thrill for a 6 year old kid at his first ever big time sporting event, and it kicked off a lifelong obsession with events for me.

Since then, Ive pretty much never passed up an offer to go to a major event, sporting or otherwise. But in those early years, there weren’t a lot of chances.  Not as many as there would come to be, anyways, and not as many as I would have liked in that time. But, more than most kids had, probably.

My dad was big into sports and would take me to one game a year, by each of our local Boston teams. The New England Patriots for football, the Boston Celtics for basketball and the Boston Red Sox for baseball. He never took me to a Boston Bruins game. My dad didn’t like hockey. He didn’t even care about it, really. Not sure why. He always just shrugged it off. So I never got the chance to go to a game. Or play, for that matter. But I remember sitting in our family room, watching the Bruins play on. WSBK – Channel 38. Back then Hockey was wi=ld. These crazy characters would crash into each other with violent hits, and fire a hard ribber disk at speeds over 100 MPH with long wooden sticks. Sometimes they would hit each other with those sticks. Or the puck. Or their huge bodies. But sometimes, when you were lucky, which was usually at least once a game, if n to more, they would hit each other with their fists. 

Watching a hockey fight break out was insane. The guys would just throw their gloves down on the ice and start a boxing match. On ice. With sharp as fuck knives attached to their feet. And the rest of the player, AS WELL AS THE REFEREES, would just stand around them in a. Circle and wait for one guy to knock the other one down to the ice. That would, usually, signal the end of the fight, and both guys would stop. Not always, but usually. Sometimes there would be so much animosity built up that these monster would keep on fighting. Those times were my favorite. Looking back now, it’s not hard to see why I loved hockey so much. Or why it’s gone on to become my favorite sport to go see live.

Just a few months after that Patriots vs Jets game, the Boston bruins travelled to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers, and the greatest fights of all time broke out. Taking things way beyond your average hockey fight, the Boston Bruins actually went up into the stands and beat the hell out of a bunch of Rangers fans at the Garden. Defenseman Mike Millbury even beat one fans with the poor guy’s OWN SHOE!

I’m dead serious. See for yourself!!

That’s the kind of things DREAMS are made of. Especially for impressionable 6 year old boys. Im not sure how may folks hid that one from me as a kid, butI didn’t find out about it until many many years later. I guess at 6pm I wasn’t staying up to watch the local news at 11pm, or reading the sports pages. Which is a bummer, because I wish I had been. I would have Demanded that my dad buy season tickets to the Bruins that very next day. Not that my demands as a kid held any weight. Hell, it wasn’t unity I was working  different jobs in high school that I finally had the money and wherewithal to buy myself Bruins trip kets and go to a game. With a sweet young thing who worked at the local burger king. Man, those were a memorable bunch of dates. But I digress…

Of the teams I did get to go see live in my youth. Only was a real winner. Sure, the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl in 1986, which was the end of the 1985 season. But they got thrashed 46-10 by the Chicago Bears, and it would be a whole until they got good again. And then there were the Red Sox, which we willet into tomorrow.

But the Celtics. Man the Boston Celtics. One fo the best all time teams in the NBA. Going back to the 1950’s where they had an incredible run of 8 straight NBA titles from 1959-1966. But that team they had in the 80s was an absolute pleasure to be able to watch on TV, and then in person once a year. The core of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Dennis Jonson and Danny Ainge, and later Bill Walton, was literally incedible. Larry Bird was easily the nest white guy to ever play in the NBA, and was knows as “the Hick From French Lick” He veritably wasn’t blessed with a lot of natural athletic ability. But he made up for it ion sheer grit, determination, and hard work. Watching him made you feel like anything was possible. And his teammates were a bunch of the same. Especially when compared to the glitzy and sinewy specimens that made up the Los Angeles Lakers of the 80s. The SHOWTIME team as they were known. They were everything the Celtics weren’t. Cool, good looking, prone to fast and flashy fats breaks. And physically and skillfully dominant. Their start was Earvin “MAGIC” johnson. With a million megawatt smile. It was like he was made to play in Hollywood. And he led his hard charging Lakers against the “Hick From French Lick” and his Celtics. It was like a real life version of the Harlem Globetrotters vs the Washington Generals, but int his version the Generals sometimes won.

Thought the 80s, both teams were dominant in their divisions. And they ended up in the finals three times. With the Lakers besting the Celtics twice.  Thought the Celtics still managed to win 3 NBA titles in the 80s. 

Going back now and watching those Larry Bird highlights, those plays seem even more amazing to me now than they did back then. Im so lucky to have got to witnessed them, and they have gone on to keep being a com petite team, even winning a title in 2008. Nowadays though, they do it with pretty much zero white fellers. But thats pretty much the way the entire NBA goes now.

The Patriots have of course, gone on to be one of the most impressive dynasties in the history of the NFL. And are the only Boston team I still identify with, because they kept putting out decent albums. The Red Sox, on the other hand. That’s a whole other ball of wax, which we will get into tomorrow….

Writing for Rodney – Day 20

Sports are so weird. People get so worked up about them. And I don’t fully understand it. Even though I participate. To a degree.

There were two huge games today for the NFL. Both had a lot of penalties. The officials seemingly stole the NFC championship game from New Orleans by filling to make a pass interference call. Pass interference is a tough call to make, because early in the game officials seem to not let any transgression go, whereas late in the game they tend to let more stuff go.  But this was just EGREGIOUS. The LA Rams player full on tackled the Saints player while the ball was in the air.And it wasn’t called. Im surprised DJ  didn’t come on screen and say “The NFL doesn’t care about New Orleans” like he did in 2003 during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Int he second game the New England Patriots bested the Kansas City Chiefs in an all time classic that went to overtime. So much has been made of the referees playing favorites with the Pats, but they had a bunch of calls go against them as well. In the end, In have to ask, who really cares… and why?  It’s a game, right? But it’s a game tied to your CITY, so all of a sudden people get so tribal. People who seem to have very little civic pride in much of anything tend to get all worked about about sports. When, in reality, you aren’t even rooting for a city. You just happen to be rooting for the same laundry that most of the rest of the people in your city root for. Really, you’re rooting for a rag tag bunch of mercenaries, who are only playing on the team that’s based in your city because your city’s billionaire is paying them more than any of the other city’s billionaires.

People don’t seem to get that. Sports was a business. You’re rooting for a god damned corporation, with a billionaire CEO. Long gone is the era of sports teams being staffed by people from that city. Sure, back then, I get it. The bears were amazing because Chicago was a rough guy city. You had to be tough to endure those long winters. And it felt great when the big grown beef fed midwestern came to town and beat the mamba pamby New England chowderheads. 

But now? Everyone on the Bears might be on the Patriots next year. Or might hav e already been on the patriots. Hell, even the tram owners don’t have any loyalty to their cities. Many teams aren’t owned by natives of that city, and so many owners threaten to move their teams if they don’t get some crazy new stadium which will be funded by taxpayer money. Which is almost never a good thing, as ALL the research shows.  Stadiums never throw off the tax money and jobs they claim to, and certainly never revitalize neighborhoods. Most everyone drives into the stadium on game day with the cars full of all the goods they need, and then disappear after the game, turning the area into a veritable ghost town on the 358 days a year that nobody is playing football there. The most economic benefit most people who live nearby can hope for is to charge people $10 to park on their lawn on game day.  Whooooooo!

Where else is this blind loyalty shown? Nowhere that I can think of. Especially in entertainment, which is what sorts really is. Think about it… People will continue to love a sports team FOREVER, regardless of if they win or lose. And actually, when a team is a perennial loser is when a lot of fans double down and love them even more. Look at teams like the Cleveland Browns, the NY Knicks, NY Jets, NY Mets, the Buffalo Bills etc… Teams who haven’t been competitive in eons, and have abysmal track records of getting things done in the big championship games. The fans of those teams wear it as a badge of honor. They profess their love for their teams specifically BECAUSE they never win. Like their suffering makes them martyrs of some sort. Imagine doing that with music. Sure I LOVED Bon Jovi for a long time. But then they started making crappy records, starting in the late 2000’s at which point I continued to love going to see them live. Even though they started putting on pretty much he same show year after year. Very little variation on the set-lists and even a lot of the same banter. It began to grow tired. And they they started introducing VIP meet and great packages for as much as $5,000. And it dawned on me that maybe by this point, they were only in it for the money. And then Jon fired Richie. And that was the start that broke this camel’s back.  I haven’t been to a Bon Jovi show since, and Im not sure I ever will. Unless maybe they hire Richie back, but even then, I’ll know Im not seeing the real Bon Jovi, I would equate that to going to see an Old Timer’s Game at Yankee stadium.

Thats a totally typical scenario in rock n roll. Band are. Putting out great records, and you love them and you go see them live. They stop with the great records and you still go see them. Until one day, you realize they are no longer relevant so you stop going to see them altogether. Or maybe you keep going to see them for nostalgia purposes. At least as long as there are some original members in there.

Winning games, and being competitive in a your league, is the sports equivalent to putting out good albums. Once a team hits a hard losing skid, why do people continue to support them? Nostalgia? I can get with that. But what about when there aren’t any players left from the good era. Then it’s really an entirely new team. Why get excited about that? You’re just rooting for laundry. And filling the pockets of a billionaire who doesn’t care about you.

Sort of reminds me of religion. Something you back because your parents told you to.

So weird.

Rodney didn’t like sports. Or religion. But he did support a lot of rock n roll bands long after they stopped having hits. So Im not sure this was a good example. But I loved him every day, no matter what. Like so many other people love their sports teams. I guess we are all a bunch of weridos.

Writing For Rodney – Day 19

Once again I was shown the incredible power of a well done night of independent wrestling. I love long told anyone who asks that the best pro wrestling matches are never seen on television. They are done in church basements, VFW halls, run down nightclubs and bingo halls. Last night I got my first taste of Pro Wrestling Guerilla – or PWG. They have been going since 2004 in Los Angeles and have stumbled upon a wildly winning formula. They charge high ticket prices, and book nothing but quality talent, and don’t overload the card with a ton of matches.

A lot of wrestling promotions try and keep prices low, and because of that they can only book a couple of “names” per show and rely on local wrestlers, and often too frequently, the trainees from their associated wrestling schools, to fill out the bill. While I appreciate the need to develop your homegrown talent, and totally respect it when promotions do, there something special about an indie wrestling “supercard” in a small venue and that’s PWGs Raison d’Etre. I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on pro wrestling matches over the years. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual number is over ten thousand dollars, especially if you count merch purchased at said events. You could say I’ve seen it all, and that wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration. Especially when it comes to the widely varying quality of matches. I’ve paid to see complete Jabronis who were obviously having their first ever matches, right on through to some of the best wrestlers in the world plying their trade in front of just a couple

Hundred of us. And the list of big stars Ive seen in tiny places while they are on their way up is a mile long. Almost as long is the list of legends I’ve seen sadly embarrassing themselves deep down on the lowest rungs of the ladder that’s also known as “the way down.” Thankfully that happens less and leas often nowadays as there a. Seems

To be a better support network from wrestlers on the downside of their career and b. A lot of the ex-legends who had serious problems are no longer with us. Sad but true.

But when you get a top quality night of independent wrestling, there’s really nothing quite like it. And there are a few elements that need to come

Together to make it a truly special night. You need great wrestlers. You need a decent building. It doesn’t need to be beautiful, it just needs to have “vibe” and of course you need a hot crowd,!

But beyond that, you need a great booker. A booker is the guy behind the scenes that puts the matches together.  Beyond just hiring the wrestlers, the booker is responsible

For coming up with the matchups, and much more importantly helps lay out the match. The booker will come up with the backstory aka the storyline of the match and in an ongoing sense, the league, and also dictate, to a degree, the pacing and outcome of the match. The booker will lay out how they want the match to go, how long it should be, and typically a fair amount of the moves you see on n the ring. At least for the big moments of the matches. And then they send the rassslers out to the ring to execute. If this were a typical professional sport, the booker would be the GM, the head coach, the marketing department and the team captain all rolled into one. Sometimes the booker is one of the wrestlers. That historically doesn’t end well. They usually can’t resist the temptation to put themselves into the main event role, usually to the detriment of the show in general. For a while Dusty Rhodes was the exception to this rule. Until he wasnt. Today that transgressions is evident anytime Triple H steps into the ring. But, I digress…

When done well, the booker’s role isn’t even noticed, and he makes the shows transcendent. The best booker comes up with storylines that work on a long arc that unfolds slowly week after week, like an episodic television show (think Breaking Bad) while also making things easily digestible for someone who is just tuning in to that one episode, or showing up for that one event. And that’s truly an art.

But the most important thing a great booker can do is to emphasize.e the strengths and hide the weaknesses of his talent roster. The best guy to ever do that in the wrestling business was Paul Heyman when he was at the helm of the original ECW. He took a rag tag bunch of wrestlers and turned them into veritable superstars. At the same

Time he created some of the most intense houses on wrestling history. The ECW Arena in Philly and the Mad House of Extreme in Queens (a bingo hall and an Elks Lodge respectively)  were two places where I legitimately feared for my life on more than one occasion. Even though I knew it was “fake” shows there legitimately made me suspend my disbelief, which means they completely succeeded. 

I don’t know who the booker is at PWG but he’s a total G. There were a total of seven matches last night and every one of them was spectacular. The night opened with a classic David be Goliath Story of a match between the huge tattooed monster Brody King and the tiny and skinny youngster Jungle Boy. It should have been a squash match, where the huge guy wins easily.  But it was booked and presented don such a way that you never counted Jungle Boy out, and even when he lost, he looked good in defeat. It was his first appearance in PWG and because he was brilliantly booked, it didn’t matter that he lost. He still got a “Please Come Back” chant from the entire crowd after his match. And thats about as high a compliment you can get from a fired up crowd full of smart marks, the term for us nerds who spend waaaayyy too much time thinking about and reading about pro wrestling. And if you’ve read this far, you’re well on your way to becoming a smart mark already.

Rodney on the other hand, was just a mark. It was all still real to him, dammit. And that’s why I loved going to matches with him so much. He made me and everyone around him feel like it was real. God I miss him. #RodSpeed

Writing For Rodney Day 18

More UFC musings… continued – once again…

Silva had often times looked bored in his fights and had taken to mocking opponents. Laying down in the ring, standing in front of opponents, with his hands down, daring them to hit him… Leaning against the cage, with nowhere to top and inviting opponents in to hit him, and had always made his victories look exceedingly easy. Thjis was a supernatural fighter who had seemingly run out of challenges. He had cleaned out his division, multiple times, and done so with a level of dominance heretofore unseen in MMA.  But this fight was different… HE was getting beaten, badly, and seemed to have no answers for Sonnen’s take down and ground and pounds. Until, with about two minutes left in the fight, when he got a spark of energy. And decided to fight back. He started scrambling form the b bottom, and using his hips to start to push Sonnen of of him. And then, with about a minute left in the fight, he threw up his legs, wrapped them around Sonnens head, caught him in a triangle choke form the bottom, pulled down on Sonnen’s head, and forced him to tap out. This was incredible.  After the fight, he said that he had just been toying with Sonnen and wanted to teach him a lesson.

Silva had gotten his black belt form the Nogueira brothers, themselves a pair of dominant twins from Brazil, and Sonnen had commented int eh lead up to the fight that getting your. Black belt from the Nogueira bothers was like getting a black belt from a cracker jack box. A lot of folks didn;didn’t believe Silva, and thought he was just making excuses… And because Sonnen had done so much better than anyone else to have ever faced silva, the UFC booked a rematch to take place on one of their biggest cards of the year, the annual 4th of July weekend card.

So, not wanting to miss out on what was sure to a historic match, me and my buddy Jordan booked flight to Vegas and scored tickets for the fight.  We also rented d acopiuple of m totrcyles and decided too make a 4 night trek throught the Southwest that would lead us right up to the fight.  We picked up the bikes on July 3rd and headed out on an epic loop that took us from Vegas into Utah, down through Arizona, to the grand canyon, Leake Meade, the Hoover Damn and then back into Vegas just in time for the fights.  The ride was all sorts of ridiculous… We found a Mormon Rodeo in Utah, and also in Utah we rode so high into a mountain that we got trapped in a hail storm in 40 degree weather, which was scarily dangerous because we hadnt packed any cold weather clothes, and our only real option was to try and get over mountain and back down in elevation where it would be warm again. How we didn’t end up with hypothermia, Ill never know. We ended up staying in a fresh ass hotel in the north rim of the canyon, getting pulled over for speeding tickets, and Jordan even survived a very low speed crash ta t the Hoover Damn that was basic ally caused by heat exhaustion.

When we finally made it back to Vegas, we were seriously wiped out, but didn’t waiver in our resolve to make the fight. We had booked rooms at the MGM Grand, the same hotel where the fights were happening, so had just enough time to get into the rooms and shower before it was time to place some bets and then head to the Grand Garden Arena.

This was my first time being in Vegas for a big fight night, and it was amazing to actually be going to the fights. The atmosphere was absolutely electric throughout the casino and especially in the arena. The undercard fights were mostly thrilling, but everyone was really there for the main event.

Ill never forget the excitement we both felt when BB ounce Buffer uttered his famous main event phrase – IT TIIIIIIMMMMMME! Sonnen almost got booed out of the building and when Silv a was announced the place almost exploded.  As soon as the first round started Sonnen. Took Silva diowbn to open the first frame, and kept him on the ground almost the entirety of the first round, grounding and pounding him. HOLY SHIT! It was almost an exact carbon copy of the first fight. MAYBE THIS HADNT BEEN AN ACCIDENT AT ALL!  The judges scored it 10-8 because Sonnen was so dominant. A hiush fell across the arena, as we all thought that maybe our had finally found his crpytonite in the Bad Bad from west Lin Oregon!

But then when the 2nd round started, Silva came out with a bang and started unloading on Sonnen. He landed a few punch, had Sonnen in deep trouble, when Sonnen tried something very uncharachteristic, obviously out of sheer desperation. He attempted a spinning back fist, which Silva ducked and his momentum carried him away and onto the mat, and as he tried to stand up, Silva delivered a VICIOUS flying knee to the center of his chest and followed up with a flurry of punches that left him unconscious.  The champ was back, and in a defiant away. Was it all just another elaborate ruse, or had sonnet really had him in trouble. Only Silva really knows, and probably only he will ever know. 

Before the flight had started I had said that if Silva won via knockout I was gonna get a tattoo of a Spider, in honor of his nickname. So after the fight we went to the tattoo shop at the Hard Rock Hotel, and I got a tattoo of a Spider, and on the body of the Spider, I put the Brazilian flag, to honor Silva’ homeland.  Its one of the many “postcard” tattoos I have, that mark a special occasion, or trip in my life