When you get booked for an outdoor show, you hope the weather cooperates.
Oregon in Autumn. I was skeptical.
But we went. A good payday for a show at a minor league baseball stadium.
We figured the show’d get called off, rather than performing for an audience of drenched, miserable fans, while we slipped all over one another, ruining the ring.
But the promoter—Dennis Dean—thought otherwise. Had just started booking shows in the Pacific Northwest and said it would be poor form to cancel at the last minute, particularly with nearly a thousand tickets sold.
Besides all that, he had a dream.
I saw it so clearly. The best match of my life. When the ring bell rang, the rain stopped and a rainbow arched right over the stadium. The perfect pin, and the champion holding his belt over his head, that rainbow behind him. Some of the best damn wrestling photography anyone ever saw.
Call us crazy. Weary from driving winding roads, hydroplaning, hypnotized by the movement of windshield wipers for hours and hours. We bought in. When Dennis Dean waved his hand in a wide arc, over his head, we followed along. We saw the rainbow, too.
But there was no rainbow.
No stop in the rain at all.
I was lucky. Had a two-minute squash match, then got to retreat to the locker room. Not like New York Nick Nettles who twisted his ankle on the wet mat, or Martin LeRoux who slipped right off Cowboy Sam’s slick back going for a sleeper. Not like the guys who had to go twenty, thirty minutes and came back with boots soaked through and stinking. Not like the main eventers—the crowd had dwindled to a couple dozen by that point—risking life and limb and dignity with hardly anyone to even see them.
A few of the boys cornered Dennis Dean after the show. Against the pounding of rain on the roof overhead. Drenched. Where was your goddamned rainbow? they asked.
It didn’t come today. He didn’t back down an inch. Got this faraway look in his eyes, like he was dreaming right there in front of them. But I believe it will. I believe in the dream.