Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Squared Circle - My Pop

I came by my love of professional wrestling naturally. My granddad (whom I always called "Pop") was a long-time fan. One of my first memories as a child is watching Tojo Yamamoto being pummeled on TV, crying because I thought it was completely legit, upset at the sight of blood. Since he believed all the action was legit as well, he didn't have many options to calm me down, and eventually he had to change the channel!

Lou Thesz
Pop often told me stories of going to matches and seeing the biggest stars of the "Golden Era" of professional wrestling, a time when the action was indeed more realistic than it is today. I heard about Killer Kowalski tearing off Yukon Eric's ear, and how he almost got into a fight in a bar with the original "Nature Boy," Buddy Rogers! And of course, he couldn't say enough about his favorite, Lou Thesz. Pop LOVED Lou Thesz, as did many fans from that era. Thesz was a legit tough guy, who later said that if it had been in existence in his day he would have loved to be a fighter in the UFC. Pop was five years older than Thesz, so I think the fact that they were about the same age contributed to Pop's admiration for his skills, especially as Thesz continued to compete well into his 60s. Plus, Thesz was left-handed, and Pop always loved fellow southpaws.

Watching Pop watch the matches was almost as entertaining as the action in the ring! He would scoot up to the edge of his chair, reacting to each move in the ring as if he was in the middle of the bout. And when a heel finally got his comeuppance, he would laugh with glee (Granny would exclaim, "Good!" - but I'll do a post about her later!).

I don't think I ever convinced Pop that the stuff we watched together was worked, but one thing that was unquestionably real was the joy we shared watching and talking wrestling together. Today would have been Pop's 101st birthday. He passed away twenty years ago, but I have lots of great memories of Homer Scott, many of which revolve around the squared circle.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this, Shane. I, too, have some great memories of my grandfather ("Grindaddy"), but they don't involve wrestling. Grindaddy's favorite things to watch on TV were Hee Haw, the Bear and his boys, and Dolly Parton (which irritated my grandmother greatly, which I think was the point.) It's great to be blessed with good family memories. Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. My grandfather also took his wrestling more serious than he should, we got more entertainment out of watching him sitting in his chair, occasionally trying to help his wrestlers out by throwing his body around while seated. Thanks for sharing and letting me enjoy my grandfather and yours one more time.