This weekend, the hubby and I went to the War Memorial Gym to watch the Mixed Martial Arts event “War on the Valley Isle: Invasion.” We went sans children, primarily because my daughter just isn’t into watching people get hit in the face and my son–at the tender age of two–already has a tendency to run around in saggy bib-a-dee’s shouting, “I fight-ah!, I fight-ah!”
The stands were packed–row after row of mostly local faces, a lot of the guys clothed in Tap-Out or Maui Mulisha shirts; the girls in teeter-shoes, tight jeans and tube-tops.
Sure, the hubby and I love the sport and know a lot of people deeply immersed in it, but compared to the majority of the people there, I felt that at least by physical appearances (hello, I was wearing a top I crocheted myself) we were outsiders.
Of course we weren’t. When I was a kid, my dad had a big fat key ring that held the power to unlock everything–it seemed to me–on the island.
When it came to the gym, I’m pretty sure that part of his job was to turn off the lights, make sure the place wasn’t a wreck and lock up after an event. This meant a lot of really late nights, but it also meant that my brother and I got to do some really awesome things that we would never have been able to do otherwise because our parents didn’t have money for tickets.
These were the days long before the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, when most events took place at War Memorial.
Remember Menudo? Aw Yeah! Guess who not only saw them live, but also got stuffed animals and a mirror from them? Guess who Robby Rosa nearly mowed down while making a mad dash with the rest of the group (including Ricky Martin!) to a car waiting in the back after the show?
And you want to know why? Because my daddy took me, decked out in my favorite Rainbow Bright shirt, backstage to see them.
There was the Harlem Globetrotters and countless MIL basketball games–most of which my brother and I passed the time by playing under the bleachers and looking for money that fell from people’s pockets.
By far my favorite shows involved wrestling. My dad always put a hand on my shoulder, stood me up to the towering men and said, “This is my daughter.” I met Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Shawn Michaels, Sergeant Slaughter, Kamala, Scary Sherri, Rocky Johnson and Kerry Von Eric.
There were others–people that never quite made it to the big time. In fact, I remember waiting in our car out back before a show while my dad was working and two young haole wrestlers tried to throw the mack down on my mom.
Once, after the show, I watched the wrestlers–good guys and bad–drink beer together. It wasn’t the drinking that shocked and appalled me—it was the realization that the animosity between the fighters used just hype.
Now that I’m an adult, I can’t help but wonder if growing up “backstage” influenced me to do what I do today. I still meet amazing people and often get an inside look into productions. Only this time, I’m the one taking my kids to events and introducing them to people that they probably wouldn’t otherwise meet.
Still, my job isn’t nearly as cool as my dad’s. He may have been a county worker, but he had the keys. That’s power.
Starr Begley also had some really fun times at the zoo after closing time. MTW