710 Classic Picks: Jim Moore will set you straight on WWE wrestling
Brent Stecker, our 710Sports.com editor, asked all of us at 710 ESPN Seattle to come up with five sports recommendations for viewing or reading while we’re all staying at home during the coronavirus crisis.
Problem is, I couldn’t come up with five because I’m not really into going back into the sports archives to relive something that happened years ago, nor have I been reading many books in the last 20 years, which is something I plan to change right this minute when I go to Amazon.com and order a book out of four I’m considering, none of which are related to sports.
I don’t consider this shocking, maybe somewhat surprising, that my top three sports viewing choices might be in your bottom three:
I love the Golf Channel almost as much as the PAC-12 Network. Every time someone complains about PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott, I support him because he brought almost every Washington State football and basketball game to my family room. There were decades upon decades where some of our games were televised and many were not.
I watch the Golf Channel every morning, and as I write this they’re airing the final round of the 2019 Texas Valero Open. I don’t remember anything from yesterday much less a year ago, so I watch these tournaments like they’re live, not recalling who won. And on the off-chance that I remember who won, I still like watching professionals swinging their clubs, trying to pick something up for my own game.
I used to watch bowling with my dad every Saturday so it brings back great memories of sitting in our living room on NE 40th Street in Redmond. Chris Schenkel and Nelson Burton Jr. were there every week with the commentary, and I used to pull for guys like Tacoma’s Earl Anthony and Seattle’s Johnny Guenther.
I don’t know most of the professional bowlers now, but I’ve enjoyed watching them, and I still don’t know what to think about the guys like Jason Belmonte who throw the ball with both hands.
Bowling’s fun. I challenge you to find anyone who has ever bowled and not had a good time doing it. I frequently take my kids bowling on Sunday mornings before Seahawk games, and we’ve made bowling in Gearhart on our annual mid-winter trips to the Oregon Coast one of the must-do activities (along with playing Golden Tee and actual golf at Gearhart Golf Links).
I’m supposed to include a link to bowling telecasts here, but I’m not sure how to do that so I’ll just tell you this: Grab your remote, click the blue microphone button and say “Bowling.” That will give you some options to choose from.
A week ago, ESPN rebroadcast WrestleMania 32 and I really liked the match between The Undertaker and Shane McMahon (you can watch the full match here). No one has a better entrance than The Undertaker. I’ve seen him enter the ring a million times and I never get tired of watching The Dead Man reappear on my flat screen, no doubt making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his annual 20-minute return to WWE.
McMahon was impressive too, jumping off the top of a steel cage, from 20 feet or whatever it was, and crashing into the broadcasters’ table, missing The Undertaker in the process. I don’t care if it’s staged and cushioned or whatever you want to say to downplay what McMahon did, watch this and tell me it didn’t take guts to fly off the top of that cage anyway.
And just like those memories of watching bowling with my dad, I’m in my dad’s shoes now. I used to watch wrestling every Monday and Friday with my kids, and we had WrestleMania parties too. We also had ringside seats for a couple of matches at KeyArena. I loved Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton. My kids were really into it. Stevie cried himself to sleep one night after his favorite, Kofi Kingston, lost a match.
I interviewed John Cena once at KeyArena after he wrote a book, and the kids came along and got a chance to meet him. (For what it’s worth, I also interviewed The Rock once at a downtown Seattle hotel while he was promoting one of his movies, “Walking Tall.” He could not have been a nicer guy, and we agreed that the team he played for in 1991, the Miami Hurricanes, would have beaten the national co-champion Huskies if they had squared off in a title game.)
Critics of professional wrestling amuse me. They always say it’s fake and staged. OK, fine, but they’re still athletic and entertaining. And when we watch TV shows and movies, those people are actors too, yet everyone appears to be OK with that. So what’s the difference? Wrestling haters drive me nuts.
One more thing, I guess wrestling, like bowling, makes me think of my own dad too because we watched locally televised events on Saturday nights. The only guy whose name I can remember was Haystacks Calhoun, a mountain of a man who must have weighed 500 pounds.
When I was a kid, I thought what was going on was real and one time while I was wrestling with my dad on the floor, I came down really hard with my knee on his forearm, and he had to go to the doctor to get a brace. Felt bad about that.
Last thing, Brent asked for some kind of memory from a long time ago that turned us into sports fans. I don’t recall one thing in particular, but I do remember thinking that I wanted to be a sportswriter from an early age. I knew I wasn’t good enough to be a professional athlete myself but figured the second-best thing would be to cover sports and write about ‘em for a living – which I did for 30 years before being fortunate enough to get a job at 710 ESPN Seattle after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer closed in 2009.
The last six or seven years at the P-I, I wrote a sports column and was called the Go 2 Guy, a nickname I thought was dumb but just went along with it because the managing editor came up with it, and I’m a suck-up.
I’m often asked about the best column I ever wrote. Actually, I’m rarely asked that question, but it sounds better to say I’m often asked, so I’m stretching the truth here. But if it was one of those rare times that you asked me, I’ve got an answer. I don’t know if it was my best piece of writing, but it was certainly the most memorable column about the day that I caddied for Charles Barkley at a celebrity golf tournament in South Lake Tahoe in 2005.
I can remember that day like it was yesterday. After the round was over, I had a limited amount of time to write before my deadline. Runners talk about the runner’s high; I had a writer’s high with that one, adrenaline flowing like crazy because I knew I had the material for a good column, now the challenge was to write it and do it justice in a short time frame.
So like anyone else in my position, I raced back to my hotel room after making a quick stop for a six-pack of beer. I put that beer in a garbage can filled with ice and cracked ‘em one by one as I frantically wrote over the next two hours, barely beating my deadline.
Here’s the finished product, and if you find some flaws, it’s the beer’s fault, not mine.
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