Yesterday I woke up and read a text message from a friend,
"Dude... Ultimate Warrior died!"
If you were a kid growing up in the 80's, a current or former professional wrestling fan, then you knew who Ultimate Warrior was.
I didn't believe my friend. I thought he was mis informed. How could Warrior be dead, he was just on TV on Monday night talking about legends and legacy.
As I searched the internet it was quickly confirmed, Ultimate Warrior, a larger than life figure from my childhood had tragically passed away.
I titled this post "You Never Know... When Hero's Become Mortal," because Warrior's death is a reminder of the fragility and preciousness of life.
Growing up Ultimate Warrior was this larger than life personality. He was a superhero type figure - ranked up there with the likes of Superman in my 6 year old eyes. As little kids we believe our superhero's are immortal, that they will live on forever.
My brother and I staged many mock wrestling matches where I was Hulk Hogan and he was Ultimate Warrior. On more than one occasion my Mom had to suspend the watching of wrestling because my brother and I enjoyed "acting it out," a little to much. :)
Say what you will about professional wrestling being staged, or "fake," these guys are still amazing athletes and performers. When I did the 1 Year 1000 Challenge I took a professional wrestling lesson, (see video below) and I can attest from my brief two hour foray into it that it is hard and it hurts. There is nothing fake about falling, getting clotheslined, or body slammed.
Over the years I have googled Ultimate Warrior from time to time, and while he seemed to age he still seemed to be every much the Ultimate Warrior of my childhood. He was sill muscular, in shape, controversial, outspoken, intense, and immortal.
This last weekend WWE had their hall of fame induction ceremony as part of "Wrestlemania," the Superbowl of professional wrestling. The featured inductee was Ultimate Warrior. This was a real treat for fans, as WWE and Warrior had long unresolved professional issues that had kept Warrior out of wrestling for quite some time.
During Ultimate Warrior's speech I was so impressed to see this larger than life figure, the guy who was known for intense and at times un-comprehendable promos, humanized by having his two young daughters escort him out to the ring. He spent several moments praising them as well as his wife who was visibly emotional and proud of her husband.
The next night Ultimate warrior appeared on WWE's Monday night show and it left fans with the hope that Ultimate Warrior was going to become a regular in wrestling again. During Warrior's brief appearance, he gave the speech below. You do not need to watch the whole speech, but I encourage you to watch it between the 1:20 and 2 minute mark.
If you can look past the mask and the wrestling theatrics you will see that during those 40 seconds Warrior talks about the ability we all have to inspire and ignite passion into the hearts of others. His words have an erie foreshadowing to them as ultimately it was those words and his tragic passing that lead me to writing this blog about his legacy and what it meant to me.
When a larger than life figure falls, when a superhero becomes mortal and dies, it reminds us of the reality of life - death escapes no one, not even those who are seemingly immortal.
Knowing that death is coming for us all, but not know when that day will be, it is so important that we live, now, while we can. The day will come my friends when we all will take our final breath, when our hearts will cease beating. What we do between now and then will define the quality of life we live and the legacy we leave onto the world.
You and only You can live Your life. You and only You can make it a great life.
Remember 1:20 - 2:00 is the important part.
My Wrestling tryout. :)