Mat Classics

Bubble Room…. Pegasus Room…. Circle Room… all respectable bars and establishments in Tacoma, Washington from 6 in the morning until we don’t care because we won’t show up until they are serving breakfast and Miller Light the next morning. My good friends and brothers, Tom, Steve, Mike, Russ, perhaps Greg, depending on the year and which nephew was participating in this annual wrestling tournament (The Mat Classic) were possibly present. My memories are not foggy, just unclear and a little rainy.

Without fraternal interest, Tom, Russ and I discovered this Tacoma Dome Tournament because we developed a love for wrestling and a hatred for Spokane. Most people would agree, even if they didn’t necessarily like the sport of wrestling. The enjoyment of attending a sport without a bitchy wife or disgruntled insignificant other is naturally therapeutic and generally fun. Included in the annual fun would be a three month stretch of Russ, Tom, and I saying to one another, “What sweet place shall we stay in the tropical city of Fife, (just seconds from the Tacoma Dome)?”. On line, we would sometimes discover a cockroach engrossed dilapidated hotel laced with prostitutes and a bullet hole riddled room. The majority of these economic hotels are based upon William Shatner’s suggestions through Price Line Dot. Con Artist. It never mattered to us. Us meaning, Tom, Russ and me. We were there for the wrestling and the bars. Additionally, regarding the hotels we’d choose, entertainment was top notch in the evenings. After a long day of betting on wrestlers, we’d order a pizza and sit in our room watching a full episode of cops right out of our window. Then, Tom and I would have the great pleasure of listening to Russ drunk dial his wife, inevitably resulting in a verbal gunfight.

Mornings during the Washington State Tournament were perhaps the most fun. The anticipation, the debates over which wrestler would win the tourney, the steak and eggs delivered by a smoking waitress…..not a smoking hot waitress, but a smoking waitress were epic. We were so excited that when her ashes would fall upon our hash browns, we’d still gobble them up because if we complained, she may stop bringing us beer.

After 10 or perhaps more years of attending this sacred event, Tom, Russ and I have ten thousand wonderful kid friendly stories which may or may not be true. This one is mostly true. Yet, keeping with the ghost theme (this will be the last) we encountered a possible apparition inside one of these bars. After consulting with those who represent me, (Tom and Russ) none of us can recall which room we were having breakfast and a couple beers.

With reverence and reference to my beloved brother, Steve, (I speak this way because he will out live mortals. Therefore, I am providing simple eulogies for my friend and brother while I am still alive). The Bubble Room was his preference for breakfast prior to the big event. They served pancakes the size of really big pancakes, sausage with or without ashes, and toast almost appearing as if they’d been toasted. Butter was served on the side for regulars, but since we were annual nuisances, they provided the butter for a very small fee. Additionally, they stocked up on beer for this yearly ritual.

I believe it is referred to as onomatopoeia. For those of you who are not English Majors and geniuses such as meself, me will describe the word, “onomatopoeia”. These are bullshit noises used by ghosts, people with asthma, and constipation, only accepted and interpreted by people who believe in ghosts, people with asthma and those with constipation. While eating and drinking our breakfast, several of us tuned our ears to a sinister moaning within the bar. None of us were willing to accept or admit to the fact there could be something unearthly and goolish within this establishment. Therefore, we swilled more beverages and masticated more food. When the moaning and groaning, and MWHAhhhha wouldn’t subside, we all finally looked at one another and said collectively, “Do you hear a ghost?”. Since we all heard it at the precise time, we knew there was something more than wrestling, stale beer, and mediocre food we’d experience this weekend. Once again, since I am terrified of ghosts and the elusive Sasquatch, I was elated because witnessing one of these beings with others, mostly tougher than myself, I wouldn’t feel like such an idiot presenting my testimonial on the Tacoma 5 o’clock News.

All of us walked gracefully to the proximity of the sound thinking we would find something changing science and drinking forever. I’ve never been more sober. Frightened, I let Tom and Russ enter the refrigeration section of the elite restaurant along with the others ( I don’t remember everyone attending the social dysfunction). (I believe Mike Thew may have been there……I don’t want to leave him out, although he probably would) Sneaking into the refrigeration station, (only drunk men can sneak up on ghosts) we witnessed something far more shocking. Beneath perhaps 12 or 67 cases of beer lay a cigarette smoking Bubble Room waitress. She had apparently tried to reach a top shelf case when all of the remaining cases crashed upon her. It was as if a dump truck had deliberately and happily piled this precious substance upon this unlucky lady.

Luckily, all my stories end happily. My friend, Russ, applying his CPR training was on top of her in a jiffy, yelling, “lady, lady, you ok?” Her reply? ” just get this God Damn beer off of me”. We all did, but I still consider Russ to be a semi hero. I still thought she was a ghost.

Concerning the waitress, she had minor damage to her knee. Since the fallen beer had become flat and we saved the morning, they let us tote all the fallen cases into our cars, vans and trucks. That’s a lie. We were far too sophisticated to drink flat beer. So, we went to a different joint to listen for ghosts and drink good clean adult beverages.

Not the end…..too many stories for ten years of weirdos and wrestling. Sometimes, it’s just difficult to separate the weirdos from those whom, like me and my friends and family, are merely goofy.

I am trying to set the stage for more classic mat stories….

Ben and his buddies

9 thoughts on “Mat Classics

  1. My memories of you fellas at the State Tourney are built on jealousy. Year after year, I would cram my obese frame, or “your not fat, your just… husky” if my mother is referring to my build, into the back seat of a Toyota Sienna Van with one leg tucked neatly under my chin and the other resting comfortably behind my ear. I routinely would be shoe-horned in the van with a mix of cases of Gatorades, boxes of powerbars, sleeping bags, and the occasional wrestling mat, all because my wife would suggest that we should save money and ride over with her folks and stay in their hotel room. This also meant that I would be sleeping on the floor of an immaculate Budget Inn or Super 8, which are always known for their cleanliness, despite the occasional condom wrappers and off-smelling stains with which I would rest my weary head. I always recall soberly scaling the stairways to where you were all sitting and wishing I were filled with chicken fried steak and inebriated enough to endure the high frequency squeals of the wrestlers’ mothers in the lower section. You guys would be watching your picks and your money fall off of the bracket; Russ would be pissed because his wrestler was ahead 18-4 and got pinned in the last second of the third round by a junior high head and arm. Eventually, I would reluctantly return to my seat between the 300 pound proud grandparents of Jimmy Slapnoodle from Lake Stevens, and hope the next year I too could rescue a damsel in distress from falling beer at the Bubble Room.

    • Jon, my friend, Britt and I loved your post. Tom, Russ and I always wanted you to hang and hangover with us. The next bar in Tacoma will be named, “The Noodle Room” after you. Sometime, we will have a reunion there when Owen is either wrestling or successfully turning lights on and off. He’ll be great at both.

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