More than 35 years ago I became a fan of professional wrestling. I never aspired to be in the ring as I knew at an early age my lack of athleticism would keep me from having a career between the ropes. As I got older though, I put serious consideration into becoming a manager. I looked up to the likes of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Jimmy Hart and Jim Cornette. It was always a 'dream job' in the back of my head and when I started a career in TV news, I changed that goal to commentator or announcer.
I won't bore you with all the details again, but there have been opportunities since 2005 for me to pursue all of those choices (even wrestling). All the work has come the way of small, independent promotions here in Illinois. However, in August I saw an ad for a seminar and tryout by Future Stars of Wrestling in Las Vegas. The group was holding the event for Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA). After weeks of contemplating and the encouragement of my wife and a handful of friends, I signed up to audition to be a ring announcer.
|My ring cards|
My wife and I flew out to Vegas on Friday morning. After a day and evening on the Strip, I got a good night's sleep and eagerly walked into the FSW building. I was ready to impress Sonjay Dutt, Scott D'Amore, D'Lo Brown and the other professional wrestlers on hand. There were dozens of athletes there for the tryout, nine referees and three announcers. The other two announcers did a great job. I feel like I did too and had some custom made ring cards with the Impact logo on them which contained my announcing notes.
There were 28 matches that afternoon as everyone who signed up for the tryout got a chance to impress. I announced nine matches and throughout the course, I chatted with friends back home about the talented guys I was up against. Even without seeing my competition they were sure I was better. Their words made me feel good about what I was doing.
The tryout came to an end and it was announced that a few of the men on hand would be asked to come to the tapings Sunday night. I was not asked, but I wanted to have a chance to thank the organizers for having me. I shook Sonjay's hand and he told me how much he liked the cards. I wasn't picked for this set of tapings but I feel like I made an impression and hope to work with Impact for a future taping. (By the way, none of the announcer candidates made the cut, at least I don't think so).
Scott D'Amore told everyone at the end, "Congratulations for investing in yourself. It took courage to do this." I don't remember if that's his exact quote but it's what I remember from his farewell to us. My wife was waiting for me outside and told me she was proud for putting myself out there. I don't typically step outside my comfort zone but I couldn't let this chance pass me. I would have more regret by not doing it than having tried and not making it.
|Outside the Bellagio|
Plus we got to spend three days in Vegas and hang out a couple of days with my buddy Chad. We've never been to Vegas before and I don't know how soon we would have made the trip. So if there's something you're dreaming of, take a chance on yourself. The only failing involved is in not trying. Thanks again to everyone for the love and support. I got a ton of message from so many friends and family afterward. It means the world. (Tyler, Tom, Garrett, Barry, Dan and Jamie to name a few)