Dad Takes Us To The Wrestling Matches

     My stepdad Ernest C. Diaz married my mother on June 8, 1981.  Dad and Mom worked to make sure we had a normal family life. In 1981 or 1982, they decided to take my sisters and me to a professional wrestling show at the Checkerdome (also known as the Arena).  Our favorite wrestlers were the Von Erichs.  David Von Erich would be “taking on” Harley Race in the main event at this show.


Dad and Mom on their wedding day, June 8, 1981.

     I thought it was for Race’s World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship but it could have been for Von Erich’s Missouri State Championship.  Regardless, Sheri, Beck and I could not wait to see on of our favorites “fight” the villainous Race.

     Dad had worked in the garment industry for twenty-five years when he married Mom.  Normally, he always took a nap about 8 p.m. for an hour or more.  He usually got up to get ready for work at 5 a.m., so he was beat at the end of the day.

     Dad was a garment cutter and often lifted rolls of material to cut.  These rolls weighed 160 pounds about the same amount he weighed.  Eventually, Dad developed back problems, so he would sit in his chair with the heating pad.  A few minutes later, he was asleep.

     The wrestling matches started at 7 p.m. and went to about 10:00 p.m.  David Von Erich and Harley Race faced off with each other about 9:00 p.m.  The full capacity crowd of 20,000 plus wrestling fans were fired up for the final match on a great card.


Mom and Dad, Ernest and Patricia Diaz.

     One of the techniques the wrestlers used to get the crowd worked up is for a heel like Race to put a headlock on the baby face David Von Erich.  The hold is supposed to be sapping the baby face’s strength, when he lifts his arm in a signal to the crowd to cheer for his comeback.

     During this spot in the match, the 20,000 plus fans including my sisters and me were chanting “Go, David, Go!” and stomping.  It was one of the loudest crowd reactions I’ve ever heard and was shaking the Checkerdome.

     My sister tugged my arm and we looked over at Dad.  He was sound asleep taking his nightly nap.  How he slept through that noise we never knew but it is still one of the most impressive things that we have ever seen.  We are still vividly remember that night.

     Personally, Dad hated wrestling.  He took us because he knew how much we liked it.  We would have lots of memories with Mom and Dad but few as memorable as the night Dad slept through the noise of 20,000 yelling wrestling fans.

     It is still one of our favorite memories.  Thank you, Dad.

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