"Professional wrestling isn't a sport." "You know that's fake, right?"
Fans of the fine art of pro wrestling have long endured these taunts, and while they might seem valid to those not hip to the beauty of ladder matches and shooting star presses, those people miss the point entirely. Wrestling isn't a competition -- it's an athletic drama in the vein of Peking Opera and Roman gladiatorial exhibitions. Wrestling is fixed, not faked; the difference is that while you can fix a match and train for everyone's safety, you can't fake things like gravity and concrete. Wrestlers suffer real injuries in the ring every day, including broken necks and occasionally death. The point of wrestling is to be entertaining, and these athletes do a damn good job of entertaining.
For those who have yet to check it out, South Broadway Athletic Club (2301 South Seventh Street, 314-776-4833) hosts monthly bouts courtesy of our own local wrestling federation, the Mid-Missouri Wrestling Association-Southern Illinois Conference Wrestling (MMWA-SICW). Tickets are $4 to $8, and bell time is 8 p.m. MMWA-SICW lacks the pageantry and pyro of the national guys, but where else can you interact with the wrestlers, including young up-and-comer the Amish Warrior (favorite quote: "Raising a barn...OF PAIN!")? So get off your high horse, grab a cold one, cheer for the good guys, and enjoy the show. --Erik Carlson
Court of the King
Gateway Classic hoops
Ah, the January doldrums: the cold, the five-day work weeks, the post-Christmas credit-card bills. Then, like a warm spell amid the winter gloom, arrives the Martin Luther King holiday. You could spend that extra day in bed, but we know you're more socially responsible than that. How about heading to Savvis Center (14th Street at Clark Avenue, 314-241-1888) for the St. Louis Gateway Classic Twelfth Annual Coca-Cola/Majic 104.9-FM Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Basketball Shootout? It features Normandy vs. University City at 2 p.m., a girls' matchup between Gateway Tech and Hazelwood at 3:30 p.m., then East St. Louis vs. Cahokia at 6 p.m. and Vashon vs. Beaumont at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $9, $12 and $25 in advance and $11, $14 and $25 at the gate. -- Ian Froeb