Monday, March 23, 2015
WHEN FOLLOWING DREAMS TURNS TRAGIC
On Saturday, March 21st, Pedro Aguayo Ramirez, better known as El Hijo Del Perro Aguayo, was pronounced dead after a freak accident in the wrestling ring. You may be more familiar with this case if I mention Rey Mysterio. Aguayo took a spinning head scissors from Mysterio, fell out of the ring, and then took a dropkick to set up for a 619. When Mysterio went to execute the 619 move, he noticed that Aguayo was hanging listless from the ropes. He rushed over, and called the medics. Unfortunately for Aguayo, the time between the dropkick and when the medics were called was too long.
Now Mysterio may face manslaughter charges, and the whole thing is very sad. Aguayo was only 35.
If you don't follow wrestling, none of that means anything to you, except in that a man lost his life at a young age. But there's more to it. It's about following dreams. for Aguayo, he wanted to be one of the best wrestlers out there just like many do in their respective sports. It's a rush. Aguayo lost his life doing something he loved. He had goals, and hopes and dreams. It was his life, his legacy. I've watched the video. It's disturbing, and very unsettling. I briefly considered linking it here, but it's all over the Internet, and at some point, I just feel like linking it again makes the event a spectacle. I will say this... he took a hard blow to the face when he fell out of the ring. As someone watching, I wonder why he didn't just take a breath or two before jumping back in the ring. But he knew he had a move to execute. He had work to do.
Maybe that is just the mentality of professional athletes. They work day in and day out, busting their humps. Every game is a new opportunity to be better than the athlete you were yesterday. A new opportunity to make history. And while all we can think of is "the win", there really is another side to it. One that can be terrifying, life altering, and unfortunately for Aguayo, deadly. Think about Dave Dravecky.
Dravecky was a left handed pitcher who represented the Padres in the 1983 All-Star game. That same season he had a 14-10 record and a 2.93 ERA. In his first six seasons he had a 60-55 win-loss record. And then in 1988, tragedy struck. It was discovered that Dravecky had a cancerous demoed tumor in his pitching arm. He had to have half of his deltoid muscle removed. He was advised not to pitch until 1990, but Dravecky was determined to pitch in the 1989 season. He pushed himself and made his MLB come back in August of 1989. Unfortunately he would only see two more starts, before his career came to a close. Dravecky lost his arm to cancer. A young guy, who still had a lot to offer. Tragic, but Dravecky was hungry because he loved the game.
Look, I'm not trying to get you down on this Monday. This is just a reality that athletes face. Think of how scary it was to see Giancarlo Stanton lay motionless after he was hit in the face by a pitch. Do you remember how it felt to see Mariano Rivera in pain after he tore his ACL?
Or what about Derek Jeter being carried off the field when he broke his ankle?
Scary stuff. But you know what all of these guys had in common? The drive for success was so great, it drowned out the fear of failure. And isn't that something we could all admire? Better yet, isn't that something we should all do? How scary were those moments for Stanton, and Mo and Jeter? But they made it back. And there are tons of cases like that. They get hurt, and they grind it out to get back. They work their asses off because they know that if they stay on the couch, mourning their bad luck, they've already failed. So they push themselves. It's the thrill of the sport, whatever sport that is and so sometimes there's a success story... sometimes, there isn't.
When it comes to wresting, those stunts are practiced and performed a million and one times before they allow it in the ring. Aguayo knew that he would get into that ring, and get a 619 and so, it's just a tragic case. It was just a regular day at work for him. He was doing a promotional match in the Mexican circuit. Mysterio was a friend. They discussed all the moves they would use, and practiced how to safely execute them. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way for anyone involved. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.
It's a life lesson... sure, don't fear the opportunity to be the best, but know limitations, use caution, but be determined... it's a wicked balance all around.