Pro athlete to retire, at age 59
It’s not every day that a thirty-six-year professional sports career comes to an end and to be honest off the top of my head I can’t think of a single pro athlete that had a thirty-six year playing career. Many coaches, manager, advisors and scouts. Boat loads of analysts, pitchmen and even politicians but not a single athlete that continued to push their body to the limits of physical exertion for three and a half decade. I’m sure readers will have a list of golfers for me that have reached this accomplishment but we’re not talking about a golfer here, we’re talking about a professional wrestler. I know, I know but before you snicker and politely move on we are talking about a thirty-six-year career I’m sure two minute of your time is not too much to ask. I had intended for this article to be a salute to the career of a legend of his craft, unfortunately the nature of people view on pro wrestling forces me to make these brief statements before returning to my tribute. All wrestling fans, myself included are well aware that professional wrestling is not real, a fellow by the name of Vince McMahon the current president and CEO of the only wrestling brand that matters told us this a long time ago. I understand that a script is a script is a script and therefor the definition of wrestling as a sport fell by the wayside right about the time that Mr. McMahon exposed it dirty little scripted secret. However, there is no scripting the obvious pains one would endure from being slammed through a table, hit with a chair, dropped from a fifteen-foot cage, latter or other apparatus three-hundred days of a years. Spending the other sixty-five days of the year crammed onto various buses, trains, plains and automobiles. Oh yeah and did I mention all those punches, kick and slam are all real, certainly the results are scripted but a professional wrestler takes a great deal of pride in making the show look as real as possible even if that mean absorbing a few heavy blows through the course of a match.
In 1972 Ric Flair made his in ring debut and it didn’t take Ric long to catch on after just three years as an in-ring performer Ric Flair captured his first title. Flair would also be in a plain crash later that same year and would be told by doctors that his wrestling career was over, unfazed by the news flair began a rigorous rehabilitation regimen that would see him back in the ring in just six-months. Throughout the first decade of Ric Flair career he continued a life on the road always building on an already growing reputation.
The second decade of Ric Flair’s career was nothing short of spectacular, begin in 1981 when he captured his first World-Heavyweight title. Becoming enamoured with gold following his first reign as champion the limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling, dealing, son of gun would win fifteen World-Heavyweight title for three different Wrestling organizations in his second decade as a pro-wrestler.
Decade three and a half would become a tribute to all the things that made Ric Flair a fifteen time world champion. In September of 1992 at the age of forty-three Ric Flair would claim his sixteenth and final World Title cementing his status as one of, if not the greatest wrestler of all-time. But Mr. Flair wasn’t finished there, despite a career clutter with classic match after classic match and a record number of world titles Flair charisma and lover for the sport pushed him on for fifteen more years. He would pass his tutelage onto the next generation of superstar well continuing to rack up the personal achievement including becoming the first active wrestler to be inducted into the pro-wrestling hall of fame. A fitting tribute to a man that just keeps going even at the experienced age of 59. Retirement even approaching sixty has always seemed a distant impossibility, but in the world of pro wrestling I suppose nothing is impossible and the retirement of a thirty-six year veteran of the game is inevitable. Inevitability comes at Wrestlemania 24, March 30, 2008 at the Orange Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida where Ric Flair will lace up his boots for one last show and one hell off a show it going to be, Ric Flair nicknamed the dirtiest player in the game seldom misses his mark when all the chips are in the centre of the table so you can be sure if you are amongst the million that will tune in Sunday evening for the final performance of an impeccable career that Ric Flair will once again deliver. Woooooooooooooooooo, Wooooooooooooo, Wooooooooooooo
Ric Flair, The Nature Boy, Space Mountain, Sixty-minute man, Dirtiest player in the game, The Man
I only wish you would have told us sooner that Space Mountain was a limited engagement.
Thanks for the memories