I was working out this year's schedule and trying to figure out how to squeeze in the 2015 NCAA wrestling tournament in St. Louis. In doing so, I reminisced about last year's tournament in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that Shea and I attended. The wrestling, as expected, was nothing less than spectacular, and was matched only by the food and the most excellent wrestling stories we shared. I have been known to exaggerate a story or two, particularly if it involves wrestling. This fact is generally known by my close friends, primarily because they are often the subject of these stories. At a tournament a few years ago a close friend bought me a T-shirt that pretty much sums it up: "Genuine Antique Wrestler--the older I get, the better I was." Yep that hits pretty close to home.
The truth is that every one's version of a particular event is interpreted, remembered and influenced by their personal biases and perspectives. Case in point: at last year's NCAA tournament I was telling a particularly interesting story about my brother Jeff and my experience while wrestling in Rock Springs, Wyoming circa 1978. It's a pretty funny story that I have told and retold over the years. I tell this story in dramatic fashion, and in a manner that always seems to entertain my audience. On this particular occasion, I was nearing the end of this story and one of my brother's wrestlers interrupted, "Hey, wait a minute! I've heard this story, only the facts were quite a bit different." I was really put out; this punk kid was ruining my story by interrupting at a most critical juncture. I demanded to know, "Did you hear this story from my brother, Jeff?" "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I heard it from him." He replied. Dang that brother of my mine! I fumed. As the older brother doesn't he know that I have first rights to all sibling stories? What was even more disturbing is that he told this story in such an unauthorized manner.
As a story teller, it's not so much facts that I am concerned with, rather, the it's the truth that demands my attention. Even so, altering trivial facts in a story that you know your older sibling repeatedly includes in his repertoire is entirely out-of-bounds. To be sure, Jeff and I had words over his unauthorized version of my story, even though the story is primarily about him. In the end, I don't expect things to really change that much. He has a good story, while I have a great story. Yes, the facts are different, but the truth is the same. As long as we don't cross contaminant each other's audiences, things should be just fine, even though the wrestling story he tells is clearly the unauthorized version of a most remarkable story.
Two former WV wrestlers: Lil Brute Lane Bruland and Shea "the Assassin" Smart