Tuesday, September 4, 2018

SCI 2018: The Fellowship

Please do not look at this piece in any way as being disrespectful to the wrestling talent on display at the Scenic City Invitation 2018.

The wrestlers that came to Chattanooga, TN for the tournament, and the Futures Showcase are extremely talented, put on great matches, and were a pleasure to be around.

All the people associated with the event are fantastic too. The whole thing is run very professionally by tremendous people who are a pleasure to associate yourself with. 

If you did nothing but go to those three shows that weekend, you had a great time because of the quality of the talent on display. Norko can attest to that, and we discussed that at length on the way home from the shows.

I ended up being able to do more of the extracurricular stuff at the hotel, and that is a big part of what makes the Scenic City events so magical. Honestly, the fellowship that weekend was good for the soul, and that is not an overstatement at all. In talking to other fans I can tell you they felt the same way.

It really is a magical weekend, and I'm going to try to capture why. When I returned home I referred to it as a "family reunion for wrestling weirdos," and I hope people understand what I mean by that.

I cannot tell you how nice it is to get out of your car, walk toward the front desk for check-in, and immediately be stopped by a Wrestling Twitter buddy from Texas. While we are talking another friend from Arkansas greets you, and next thing you know you're shaking hands with others that you may not even know that well (yet). While in the lobby I ran into even more Wrestling Twitter friends (one big timed me even although for good reason). It's a very cool scene.

That's before you even get to all the extracurricular events that surround the Scenic City Invitational such as SCI Prom, The Kyle Matthews Roast, etc.

At this point I'd be remiss in not mentioning David Bixenspan's great piece on the Scenic City Invitational for Deadspin. There's a long-running, "Dang it, Bix! (cleaned that up a bit)" meme on my corner of Wrestling Twitter, but this piece is the opposite of that. If you're eyes are sharp enough you'll notice me and Norko on in one of his video clips as well.

Anyhow, the extracurricular activities are incredible, and I don't just mean the planned events. Just heading down to the City Cafe which is attached to the hotel, and meeting up with folks is a blast. Had an impromptu breakfast with another fan because we both just happened to be there. Heck, I was standing outside my hotel room just kind of chilling, and met someone for the first time. Great dude, and I'm real glad we got to hang out.

One of the funnier moments for me in particular is that I got to apologize to a wrestler for disagreeing with him about something he was definitely correct about. At last year's tournament, I had a chance to speak with this guy, told him I was a big fan, and mentioned where I first saw him wrestle. He said he wrestled so and so at that event, and I was somewhat adamant that it was another guy instead.

OF COURSE, he was correct and it bothered me that I even questioned him. Ran into him this year, told him that story, and he was very cool about it.

It's the little moments like this that help take SCI weekend to another level. As a friend from the west coast said, "it felt like he could breathe." It's just such a nice change of pace from the pressure of our normal lives. Another guy I know from KY who has a lifestyle very similar to mine looks at it as a way to cut loose, and recharge. He's absolutely right, and I treat that weekend the same way.

I cannot overstate how good it was for my mental/emotional well-being. It kind of reminded me of being at Disney World as Walt's idea for those parks is that you do not worry about the real world while you are there.  Disney succeeds in that, and the Scenic City Invitational does as well..

This rambled a touch more than I would like, but here it is. If you're on the fence about coming to one of these, I HIGHLY recommend coming to one. The locals are such fantastic hosts too.

As a parting shot, I heard an analogy I like even better than my family reunion one.  The same guy who I jokingly said big timed me in the lobby put it this way, "I felt like the little girl running toward the field of bees in that Blind Melon video. These are my people."

He put it more beautifully in those two sentences than I can in all these words, but he's absolutely right.